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Computex 2021 Cancels Onsite Exhibition as COVID-19 Makes Travel Impossible

Computex Stock Image
(Image credit: Grzegorz Czapski / Shutterstock.com)

The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) announced yesterday the cancellation of Computex 2021’s onsite exhibition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead the many companies that show off their upcoming products at the event will have to do so via #COMPUTEXVirtual, an online gathering set to start on May 31.

TAITRA said in the announcement that “another wave of coronavirus pandemic across the world” means “the majority of the show's stakeholders, including international exhibitors, visitors, and media, cannot join the show due to border control.” At that point it makes more sense to simply cancel the event entirely.

The decision comes much earlier—and is more definitive—than TAITRA’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The council initially said it would push Computex 2020 from June to September; it didn’t officially cancel the event until mid-June. Many other event organizers were faster to respond to the pandemic’s spread.

Computex 2021 was also set to be one of the first in-person events held in the pandemic’s wake. TAITRA announced that the show would return in December 2020, which was after several COVID-19 vaccines received the go-ahead from global health officials, but well before the vast majority of people could even receive them.

TAITRA said it will focus on “building the best virtual platform for tech and startup communities [to] explore digital business opportunities” in the wake of this cancellation. The result: #COMPUTEXVirtual, an online event that will run from May 31 to June 30, and which the similarly hashtagged #InnoVEXVirtual conference.

In the meantime, Computex 2021’s cancellation is another reminder that things haven’t quite returned to normal. (As if most of us needed one.) If the past is any indicator we’ll know if Computex 2022 will be held in-person sometime between this December and next June.