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Asia-Pacific’s largest tech fair launches in Sydney with special day for start-ups

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 | By Rose Powell

Asia Pacific’s largest technology fair, CeBIT, has opened with a video address from Prime Minister Julia Gillard and 32,000 people expected to attend.


Event spokesman James Riley says despite the government and institution focus, a sizeable number of start-ups are expected at the conference.


“We’re expecting thousands of start-up founders to attend, as well as their teams and the communities around them,” Riley told StartupSmart.

The 2013 conference is focused on transforming tech innovation into business opportunities.


With seven sub-conferences on topics ranging from financial tech to enterprise mobility and big data, there are over 3000 speakers and consultants on hand to support entrepreneurs.


Riley says the conference program has been given an increasingly global outlook in recent years so that Asian companies and institutions “can see how we do things here”.


“Australian start-ups are in a really good position now, as part of the Asian region. We’re very Western but not American, and that’s really important for some Asian investors. Australia can become a giant incubator, a big regional petri dish for start-ups. It’s a really exciting time.”


Riley says the conference’s partnership with the NSW government informed their selection of topics, with the government’s digital economy and financial global markets policies working well with the focus on financial technologies and online security.


Two of the key trends to be explored over the next three days are financial tech systems for stores that offer both online and bricks-and-mortar shopping.


“There is a focus this year on the intersection of retail and finance technology,” Riley says.


“What’s really hot right now is where the online retail world intersects with the bricks-and-mortar retail world, and getting the financial system to manage and support both effectively. This requires very complex systems that are simple for users to stay on top of.”


Another key trend set to be explored is cloud computing.


“Cloud has been around forever, but in the last 12 months the cloud has boomed in small business visibility,” says Riley. “It’s not just the corporates who are switching on; it’s a must-have for small business too.”


The third day of the conference is focused on start-ups, with 20 to pitch their ideas to attendees.


“The start-up scene in this country is incredibly vibrant and energetic and the more we work together to boost the profile of this active community, the better the outcome will be for the whole industry,” Jackie Taranto, managing director of Hannover Fairs Australia, which is coordinating the conference, says in a statement.


You can find out more details about the conference here. It will run for three days. The hashtag to follow is #CeBITAus.