Jing Gao in San Francisco
GMIC Silicon Valley expo floor at Hyatt Regency in San Francisco. Photo by Jing Gao
On the second day of the Silicon Valley Global Mobile Internet Conference, the expo floor inside the Hyatt Regency, in downtown San Francisco, was bustling with noise and excitement.
According to official numbers released by the GMIC, over 4,000 attendees from 42 countries have registered for the three-day event in San Francisco.
For tech companies, attending these kinds of networking events helps with getting your name out there. Even if a company may not necessarily have any quantifiable product before coming to an expo, the common goal is the same: speak to as many people as you can and exchange contact information.
Regional key players like CyberZUSA — the Japanese developer of FOX, a third-party tracking tool – use the Silicon Valley GMIC as an important stepping stone into unfamiliar or untapped territory.
“In Japan, we are a very well-established company, but here in the U.S., we are still kind of like a startup,” said Anzu Maeda, business development specialist at CyberZUSA. She said that by attending the expo, “people will understand what it is we do, what kind of services we provide, and why we are so successful in the Japanese market.”
Chinese mobile advertising platform Mobvista said, despite their large presence in China and India, in the United States they are pretty obscure.
“A lot of people here don’t know what we do,” said Cathy Zhang, event marketing manager at Mobvista. “So we basically show up here to help our faces to become more familiar. This will be the start of our series of more upscale marketing campaigns and events in the U.S., to open up more business opportunities abroad.”
Multiple industry leaders, including Baidu Chief Scientist Andrew Ng, Cheetah Mobile founder and CEO Sheng Fu, and Kabam COO Kent Wakeford, spoke at the conference about company strategy as well as overall trends in their respective niches – which many GMIC attendees found inspirational.
Pengyun Wang, co-founder and VP of Domob, at GMIC Silicon Valley. Photo by Jing Gao
“Here we can be exposed to many subjects that are not typically covered in China,” said Pengyun Wang, co-founder and VP of Domob, a Chinese mobile advertising network. “For example today, speakers touched on AI and drones… What we most gain is learning the most cutting-edge stuff from the global IT industry, stuff that will likely be better applied in China.”
The GMIC’s China element is another factor that draws tech companies from across the world. Andrew Garkavyi, CEO of Stanfy, estimated that more than a third or close to half of the people at the Silicon Valley GMIC have some connection with China, “at least from what I can judge,” he said.
Andrew Garkavyi, CEO of Stanfy, at GMIC Silicon Valley. Photo by Jing Gao.
Garkavyi’s software development and design company does not have a China-specific plan in the short run, “But we don’t want to miss the opportunity either. China is a great market, so [the conference having a China connection] certainly adds value.”
The major pet peeve attendees have about the Silicon Valley conference is the size of the event space and the amount of people, both of which are smaller than expected.
“It is so much smaller than the one in China. GMIC Beijing was huge. It was held at the China National Convention Center with people elbow-to-elbow. I guess that one was at least five times the size of this one,” Domob’s Pengyun Wang said.
ClicksMob, an Israeli mobile ad company that helps developers with user acquisition strategy, participates in industrial exhibitions every two to four months. “Traffic here is so-so,” CEO, Chen Levanon said.
“As a business representative, I obviously like to have a much larger audience at the expo,” Stanfy’s Garkavyi said. “Whether it’s worth it or not [for our company to come here], we will have to wait and see till tomorrow.”
Photo by Jing Gao
Organized by GWC, the Global Mobile Internet Conference, has been held annually in Beijing since 2009. It has now expanded to seven other locations, including Tokyo, Taipei and San Francisco.