WCIT 2008 woos industry players from China


  • Opinion
  • Saturday, 26 Jan 2008

With the emergence of China and India as ICT powerhouses, it is important to get the participation of Chinese players in the 16th World Congress on Information and Technology to be held in Kuala Lumpur.

CHINA will host the Olympic Games in August; Kuala Lumpur will have its own Olympics in May, said Dan E. Khoo. The CEO of the 16th World Congress on Information and Technology (WCIT) briefed some 50 participants on the congress in Shanghai recently.

The congress will be held from May 18-22 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Khoo convinced the Chinese participants from the IT industry that the congress would benefit them and network with the industry’s giants.

One of the WCIT organising committee’s aims in this year’s event is to invite the Chinese government to lead a delegation to Kuala Lumpur.

“The previous congresses in Austin (in Texas, US) and Athens had almost no Chinese participation. Traditionally, if you look at the past four years, Chinese ICT organisations have not been very active internationally,” Khoo said in an interview.

“We intend to showcase the diversity and different ways of doing ICT business in Asia at the ministerial panel keynote address. We are seeking China’s representation in North Asia, India in South Asia, Saudi Arabia in West Asia and Malaysia in the Asean region.”

He said the WCIT delegation specially flew in from Malaysia to invite Chinese Information Industry Minister Wang Xudong to speak at the congress and set up a pavilion showcasing China’s domestic products and services.

“We went to Dalian before our visit to Shanghai and the city’s deputy mayor had expressed his interest in becoming a speaker and having a pavilion. They are confident of bringing in 100 participants from Dalian,” he said.

So far, five companies from China have confirmed participation through online registration at the WCIT website.

With the emergence of China and India as Asia’s ICT powerhouses, Khoo said it was important to get the participation of the Chinese ICT industry players for the event, held every two years since 1978.

According to a report by the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry, the nation’s ICT industry has shown signs of recovery from a slump in the fourth quarter of last year.

Investments have remained forthcoming in the electronics, IT and telecommunications fields with a total fixed asset investment of 239.6bil yuan (RM108bil) in November last year.

China has over 900 million registered telephone and mobile phone users compared with merely 218,000 users in 1949. There are more than 80 million users in the nation connected to the World Wide Web, making it the world’s fastest growing telco and ICT market.

Apart from China, the WCIT organising committee has also travelled to other countries to attract more foreign participants.

“We expect participants from 80 countries and we have marked up where they come from. There will be some countries which cannot afford the delegate fees, so we have a fellowship programme in which 32 developing countries determined by World Bank can pay a special price,” Khoo said.

Among the major speakers expected to grace the event are Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Frank Heemskerk, Indian Communications and Information Technology Minister Shri A. Raja, Intel CEO Graig Barrett and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.

About 2,500 delegates are expected to attend the congress, which is a signature forum of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (Witsa), a consortium of 73 IT industry associations that represent over 90% of the world’s IT market.

Fifty percent of the participants are expected from Asia, while the European Union will make up 15%; the Middle East, 15%; Central and Northern America, 15%; and South America, 5%.

For the first time, the congress will be held concurrently with its partner events such as Impact IAP, UN GAID, ASOCIO plenary meeting, MITPM 2008 and Open Grid Forum.

The 20,000 expected visitors and participants from all these events are set to make WCIT 2008 one of the largest in its history.

“We are excited to host this event. We are gearing up for the event of a lifetime, especially for the Malaysian ICT industry,” Khoo said.

The event in Malaysia is hosted by the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry (Pikom) and Multimedia Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (Mdec) and supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and Multimedia Super Corridor.

Khoo said as this is the first time Malaysia was hosting the congress, the committee and Malaysian Government wanted to take the opportunity to promote the country as a gateway to the Asian ICT market.

Statistics show that there are plenty of investment opportunities in the ICT industry in Asia as total ICT sales in the continent is expected to reach US$1tril (RM3.25tril) in 2009.

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