CEA chief Shapiro urges innovation, openness

By Kim Young-won
  • Published : Jan 12, 2014 - 19:52
  • Updated : Jan 12, 2014 - 19:52
LAS VEGAS ― Gary Shapiro, the president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, organizer of the International CES, said the support of the Korean government made it possible to plan an event attended by the world’s most innovative companies.

“The South Korean government has clearly invested as a national policy in broadband Internet, and has a legal structure which encourages the formation of companies which are innovative,” said the president at a press meeting held last week during the 2014 International CES, the world’s largest consumer technology event, held from Tuesday through Friday in Las Vegas. 

President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association Gary Shapiro speaks at the 2014 International CES in the Venetian Las Vegas last week. (Yonhap News)
“The results (of such support) are in the marketplace,” said Shapiro, praising Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics for their innovations.

He warned, however, of complacency that could follow a certain level of success.

“Companies that dominate today may not dominate after 10 years, and we see that all the time,” he said.

Calling LG’s latest fitness wristband Lifetouch Band a “very interesting” product, he hinted that he expects Korean firms to expand the wearable market down the road.

He also expressed concerns over China’s protectionist policies, and encouraged nations to be open and communicate with each other for innovation.

China is currently seeking to shift from being a manufacturer to being an innovator in the global IT sector.

Shapiro further stressed the dangers involved in government intervention in attempts at innovation by companies and people, citing the case of Pyongyang.

“North Korea is the best example of a country which bans the technology, and is probably the poorest country in the world,” he said, noting that North Koreans are deprived of the benefits of information, education and entertainment from the Internet.

As for the most impressive product this year, Shapiro cited the 3-D printer.

“We are still in an early generation, but in the future new generations of 3-D printing would have different input capabilities with more number of free designs available, and I think 3-D printing will fundamentally change how things are made around the world,” he said.

Biology, medicine and artificial limbs were among the industries the technology could be applied to, he noted.

Up to 3,200 exhibitors from 150 countries showcased 20,000 new products at the four-day trade show.

This year, the association plans to hold a series of mini conferences for electronics called “CES Unveiled” in cities including Shanghai, Warsaw and Sao Paulo.

By Kim Young-won, Korea Herald correspondent