The German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM) and CeBIT, the No. 1 tradeshow for the digital industries, have named the United Kingdom as their official Partner Country for 2014. Marius Felzmann, Deutsche Messe’s Senior Vice President in charge of CeBIT, and Nick Baird, CEO of UK Trade & Investment, signed letters of intent for the arrangement yesterday in London.
“The partnership between these two industrial nations is testimony to Europe’s strength. As well as being home to their fair share of global IT players, the UK and Germany each have a very healthy IT startup scene. The closer cooperation envisaged by the Partner Country concept harbors major commercial potential for both countries,” commented Oliver Frese, Member of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe in charge of CeBIT. This view was echoed by BITKOM President Dieter Kempf: “The UK is the second-largest ICT market in Europe after Germany. The networking and dialogue opportunities at next year’s CeBIT will be of enormous benefit to exhibitors. For small and medium businesses in particular, the fair is an affordable, highly effective means of forging key international contacts.”
“I am delighted to accept the offer from BITKOM and CeBIT for the UK to be Partner Country in 2014,” said Nick Baird. “Trade fairs remain at the heart of how businesses succeed globally, and every year UK Trade & Investment helps thousands of UK companies to take part in fairs worldwide. Many of the major sectoral fairs are in Germany, and CeBIT, the world’s largest ICT show, will be the launch pad for our international promotion of UK high technology next year.”
The partnership between the IT industries of both countries at CeBIT has been made possible by two cooperations: one between Deutsche Messe and UKTI, and one between the German and British IT industry associations BITKOM and Intellect. Nick Baird: “Being Partner Country at CeBIT also signals the importance of our relationship with Germany. The UK is Germany’s largest trading partner and Germany is our most important export market in Europe and number two worldwide. This collaboration is yet another example of the strong ties that bind our economies and, coming in the year of the 300th anniversary of the Personal Union, our countries.” With the CeBIT partnership and the tercentenary of the ascension of the House of Hanover to the English throne, 2014 is shaping up to be a big year for British-German relations.
The German-British IT Summit on 10 March, the opening day of CeBIT, will be attended by high-ranking government leaders from both countries. The invitee list for this prestigious event includes British Prime Minister David Cameron.
UK ICT market in growth mode
Despite a difficult economic climate, Britain’s IT and telecommunications sector has enjoyed moderate but steady growth in revenues over the past few years. EITO (European Information Technology Observatory) is predicting the sector to grow its revenues by 2 percent to around 128 billion euros in 2013 on the back of growing demand for tablet computers and smartphones and increased investment in software and mobile infrastructure.
The United Kingdom is one of Germany’s top trading partners in the ICT hardware segment, ranking just behind France as the second-biggest export market for German hardware over the whole of 2012 and again for the first quarter of 2013. From January to March 2013, Germany exported some 615 million euros worth of ICT goods to the UK. Germany ranks as the eighth largest importer of such goods from the UK, with 283 million euros worth imported in the same timeframe.