A stake in Hanover

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It costs a Spanish company between 10,000 and 20,000 euros to go to CeBIT

Text: R. Contreras

During the realm of Felipe IV in Spain, ‘poner una pica en Flandes’, which meant transporting militia to the war front in the Netherlands, was truly costly. In fact, the expression has come to be synonymous with an arduous and complicated undertaking, the achievement of which is a true ‘milestone’, a reason for joy. About 450 kilometres from Rocroi, where the battle of the same name took place and which represented the beginning of the end of the Spanish regiments, we find the city of Hanover, the host city of the CeBIT and the current battlefield of technology companies. And just like in the 17th century, placing a stake in Hanover is not exactly easy for Spanish companies. In fact, national participation at the European ICT trade fair par excellence has been dropping drastically since 2010, when Spain was the partner country and had an institutional pavilion, including the presence of 11 Spanish Autonomous Communities and 86 companies. Then, the Institute of Foreign Trade was the great flagship of national representation and was in charge of giving out subsidies to companies. But now, the glorious times have evaporated, and everything is now an uphill climb. No more subsidies. Not even the Ministry of Industry’s SETSI (State Secretary of Telecommunications and for the Information Society) or the Secartys Association (Spanish Association for the Internationalisation of the Electronics, Information Technology and Telecommunications Companies) have made any moves. Given this state, it’s natural that our presence at CeBIT is increasingly scant, as it is affirmed by Margarita Mahringer, spokesperson for Deustsche Messe in Spain: “without subsidies, companies aren’t excited about participating at the trade fair.”

Consequently, the Spanish representation will be formed by 18 companies (nine exhibitors and another nine co-exhibitors), who will occupy 220 square meters in the CeBIT PRO area. Among the list of participants, there are no large national companies, with Spain’s representation basically coming from medium-size firms and innovative start-ups with exportable products. These hardened companies understand that internationalisation is the great opportunity for their business, and they don’t hesitate to pay to be present at the German trade fair, since it constitutes an effective way to expand internationally.

This is the case of Iberselex, a Catalan firm that has been engaged in machines, equipment and developments related to coins and banknotes for 28 years. As Iberselex CEO Sergio Pons explains to Computing, “For us, CeBIT is the most important trade fair in the Banking and Finance sector. Here we can find possible distributors in any country of the world.” Pons highlights the trade fair’s “professional nature, because it’s not directed at the end customer”, and that’s why this company has consistently attended the event since 1985. The international expansion of Iberselex has been favoured by its presence at CeBIT, considering that currently 45% of its earnings (two million euros) comes from abroad. That’s why Sergio Pons thinks that the 10,000 euros that his company has to pay for travel, a stand, decoration, etc. is money well spent. “We receive about 150 interested visitors, and it’s the meeting point with our distributors.”

Green Software Factory is another company that ventures on the German trade fair. This software factory is oriented at developing Green IT technologies, and it has a suite of products targeted at optimising the overall printing costs of organisations. The firm is registered in the Planet Reseller area with the objective of “expanding our network of partners. CeBIT allows us to contact companies that are seeking products with our characteristics”, explains Sales Manager, Marcos Brea. For Green Software Factory, a stake in Hanover forms a part of its international strategy. The cost of its presence (six people) ranges from 15,000 to 20,000 euros, which they consider a profitable investment, with “an estimated ROI of nine months.” It is the first year that the Zyncro corporate social network is going, because “CeBIT is the perfect showcase for a product such as ours, which is in the process of internationalisation”, Patricia Fernández, VP of Marketing, comments to computing. Zyncro hopes to find a way to drive its penetration into the European industrial market.

 

CeBIT, a business of 50 billion

CeBIT 2013 is warming up its engines one month in advance; the flagship of European trade fairs isn’t immune to the crisis, with a downward trend already started. Its figures are expected to be at least close to those reached last year: 4200 exhibitors from 70 countries, 370,000 professional visitors and 5000 journalists. Despite the decrease, the German trade fair continues to be a great generator of business. Seven million professional contacts are made in Hanover, with an estimated sales volume exceeding 50 billion. This year, the partner country is Poland, the eighth power of the EU and Germany’s largest commercial partner. With the Polish economy in full boom, the second-largest market of the year in IT distribution according to Context, it expects its GDP to grow 4% in 2013. The leitmotif of the trade fair this year, which will take place between the 5th and 9th of March, is Shareconomy, meaning the shared use of knowledge, resources and experiences as new forms of cooperation. According to Frank Pörschman of Deutsche Messe, “blogs, wikis, cooperation and electronic voting are going to transform the labour world in upcoming years.”

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Last modified on Monday, 11 March 2013 22:40

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