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German tech sector bullish before giant IT fair

28 february 2011, 18:52
Germany's high-tech sector is expected to register solid growth this year and next, creating thousands of jobs, its chief lobby group said Monday ahead of the giant CeBIT trade fair, AFP reports.

The sector, the second-biggest in Europe's top economy, will expand by two percent in 2011 and 2012, the BITKOM industry organization said as it unveiled new forecasts for the sector.

"The good economic climate and a great deal of innovation is driving demand in the high-tech sector sky-high," said BITKOM President August-Wilhelm Scheer at a news conference.

BITKOM also forecast that 10,000 new jobs would be created in the sector in 2011.

Worldwide, the IT sector is set to grow by 4.4 percent in 2011 and by 5.3 percent in 2012, buoyed by a double-digit expansion in China, Russia, India and Brazil, BITKOM said.

The prediction came one day before the CeBIT, the world's biggest high-tech fair, throws its doors open to the public with Turkey this year's guest of honor.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan were due to speak later Monday in an official opening ceremony before touring the exhibition early Tuesday.

More than 4,200 tech firms from 70 countries are expected to attend this year's CeBIT with many of the big names that stayed away during the global financial crisis returning to Germany.

Google, IBM, SAP, Microsoft, HP and Dell are among the top companies setting up their stalls in Hanover, northern Germany, for the five-day event that is likely to attract around 350,000 people.

However, the CeBIT is still some distance from recovering the glory of its heyday. At the height of the dot-com boom, more than 8,000 firms set up shop at the show.

This year's CeBIT is focusing on "cloud computing" -- the idea of storing data online rather than physically on users' machines -- hoping to move the technology from the office into the home.

And as always, the expo will also showcase the latest weird and wonderful gadgets to delight the technology geeks.

Highlights this year include robots that can play table-tennis and recite Shakespeare and an "intelligent sensor suit," a full body tracksuit that monitors athletes' movements and enables them to improve training routines.

The fair runs until March 5.

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