Saturday, April 21, 2018
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It's Showtime Again
Jacob Fattal, Publisher

One year of trade shows has barely ended and here we are in the midst of a new crop of expos, including some important changes. First off, there's ATX/MD&M West in Anaheim, and after a deep breath, we head for APEX in Las Vegas in March. APEX is by far the most important single show for the U.S. electronics manufacturing industry, and this year, it will be bigger and better than ever. APEX will reside in the cavernous Las Vegas Convention Center, which has all the room that's needed and then some. Actually, the show will probably occupy only one hall, but the venue's size and location make it very inconvenient, unless you're staying at the nearby Las Vegas Hilton. There is a form of mass transit called the Monorail, which connects most of the larger hotels on the Strip, then loops around to stations at the Convention Center and the Hilton. If you have a rental car, leave it at your hotel; parking is at a premium in the Convention Center area. This is definitely not the subway in New York or Philadelphia, so if that's what you're used to, forget it. A possible alternative is to have a designated driver — someone who can hoof it back to the hall after dropping off the booth crew and parking the rental car some distance away.

As usual, U.S. Tech will be covering the show from wall to wall, our March issue will carry a large Product Preview section, and we'll all probably eat too much of that rich Las Vegas food.

It's a new year and U.S. Tech is in the process of making important changes, started during 2015. Last year, we expanded our staff, and the latest addition is Assistant Editor Michael Skinner, who is an excellent writer, but still has a monumental learning experience ahead of him. He has been attending trade shows with us, learning very quickly about what it takes to produce a top trade publication, and we all expect great things from him. Other expansions at U.S. Tech have included an upgrade to our web site as well as to our social media.

One of the undercurrents at the show, and at all of this year's trade shows will be ongoing market situation caused by China's twice-devalued currency. World stock markets have been in upheaval since the beginning of the year in response to the second devaluation of the renminbi. This has, in effect, cranked up China's printing presses, and many of the world's economies may be on the verge of going into the toilet. This will not happen in the U.S., mainly because of the country's continuing strong economy. U.S. unemployment is at an all-time low, fed in large part by an active and successful onshoring/reshoring program. The big question now is what the U.S. financial market will do in coming months, since it strongly reflects financial markets in Europe and the Far East. The dollar continues to be strong against the Euro, gaining significant ground over the last several months. Will this change in exchange rate continue or level off? And what is going to happen to China and its once-burgeoning economy? This will certainly be a year for large changes.  

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