Last week we were fortunate to participate in this year’s CES. For anyone with the slightest interest in technology, CES is the world’s mecca for consumer electronics in both size and scope. This year’s show alone boasted 38,000 exhibitors, a level up from our prior experience at trade shows in Hong Kong, like the bi-annual HK Electronics Fair, which attracted a total of 1,040 exhibitors this year at both of its spring and autumn fairs combined.

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We knew a show of CES’ magnitude could provide some very interesting leads, and considering the numbers, there’s really no trade show like it. Since it would be our first time attending, we elected to go with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council who organized the CES Hong Kong Pavilion.

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In the run up to the show, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. While we’ve participated in a number of startup events and trade shows across Asia, this was our first US trade show. We also found our booth in Tech East was quite far from Eureka Park where the main startup and smarthome exhibits were located. And knowing central HVAC systems are predominantly used across the US, we were unsure how buyers would take to a device that works solely with remote-controlled AC units.

Any uncertainties dissipated once the show started. Despite our location, traffic to our booth was impressively steady and we found many visitors were specially making a trip to Tech East to look for us. We had opportunities to connect with global online retail platforms and meet a range of distributors and business development professionals from leading household brands. We were even visited by C-suite executives representing global white goods distributors and retailers whose annual sales exceed US$100m.

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Most buyers appeared to be well-read in IoT product development and retail distribution despite some having less personal experience with remote-controlled ACs. Aside from the US, we enjoyed interest from a wide geographical range of markets including South and Central America, UAE, Europe, Australia, Korea and Taiwan.

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For a young startup like ours, CES was a terrific place to get better exposed to the global market. Over the course of the week we networked, gained valuable new contacts, refined our evaluation of potential partners and exposed ourselves to cutting edge innovation.

As our first event of 2016, CES definitely inspired feelings of excitement among our team, sending us back to Hong Kong re-invigorated at the prospect of new possibilities and by the receptivity of our first product. We’re excited to see how the year unfolds and look forward to sharing our latest developments here!

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