Computex 2007: The Last of Its Kind


No, Computex Taipei is not going to disappear. As a matter of fact, the largest hardware-only computer show is still growing. While the exhibitors, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (Taitra) and the Taipei Computer Association (TPA) do not expect more than the usual 100,000 local visitors, the number of foreigners is expected to grow from 30,000 to 32,000. It is hard to confirm whether the planned relocation of Computex is really necessary or not, but the Sinyi district is definitely at its limits when it is crowded with people and cars during the first week of June.

It has become a nice tradition to spend the day before Computex browsing the city and the show floor to get a first impression of changes since last year, and of course, some opinions. Taiwan clearly has changed, which we first noticed during our taxi ride from the airport to downtown Taipei. There used to be a NT$1,200 flat fee (which is almost US$40), but it is gone in favor of the taximeter. As expected, this made the ride to our hotel more expensive.

The best symbol of Taiwan's ambitions probably is the new High Speed Rail (HSR) train, which was inaugurated in January 2007. It connects Taipei with several major cities along the western part of the Island, all the way down to Kaohsiung. The HSR is fairly affordable, and we found the 300 km/h train (190+ mph) to be a great alternative to air travel, which is increasingly becoming a pain for travelers due to heightened security.

Big isn't big enough: Taiwan is constructing more skyscrapers in the Sinyi area.

View Slide Show