Tyler Suiters                      

Hey everybody. With the Consumer Technology Association, I'm Tyler Suiters, we are the owners, the producers, of CES, the largest, the most influential tech event on the planet. We are here to get your CES ready. Yes, already getting you CES ready. We know the big show is still a ways off, January 7th through the 10th 2020 in Las Vegas, but before then, the focus of today's podcast, CES Asia. This is June 11th through the 13th, this summer in Shanghai, China, with a distinct focus on the Asian marketplace. Yes there are a number of big name tech and auto companies that you'll recognize at Exhibit at CES and at CES Asia, but it is distinctly different in terms of the way the show is curated, the way these products and stories are presented, and the way these exhibitors and tech companies address the asian customer base. So all that is coming up today. First we'll have a conversation with the CES man on the ground there in Shanghai, John T. Kelly, who is the show director for CES Asia, and working feverishly, as you can imagine to get everything in place for June 11th.

Tyler Suiters                      

Also backing up the story that every company today needs to be a tech company. Another entrant into the health, wellness, and beauty sector who is embracing technology. Remember last year, we had a long conversation with L'Oreal, who has exhibited at CES Las Vegas a number of times, about how technology is driving their business and changing it. Today we talked to beauty company Nu Skin. You may recognize their name, but what they're doing is not only unique to them, it's interesting in how they've used this technology to find a strong foothold in the Asian marketplace.

Tyler Suiters                      

All of that is coming up on today's episode of CES Tech Talk.

Tyler Suiters                      

Graciously joining us from Shanghai, China right now, 12 hours opposite of where we sit in Washington, DC is John T. Kelly. He is the show director for CES Asia, and John, I'm not sure whether to say thanks for getting up so early, or thanks for staying up so late. I know you're outside office hours out there.

John T. Kelly                      

Thank you Tyler. Actually it is evening time here. So we've had another busy day. I'm preparing for the show. The show is approximately two weeks away, so it is crunch time here in Shanghai for our staff as they work to prepare for CES Asia.

Tyler Suiters                      

Well, let's talk about why it's such a crunch for you and the team John, and where is the show standing right now in terms of the people you're expecting, the number of tech companies that are going to be on hand exhibiting. Just the depth and breadth of what CES Asia is for 2019.

John T. Kelly

Well Tyler, this is our fifth show. So we launched the show in 2015 and we've seen explodes of growth since then. In fact, total attendance is expected to grow nearly 75% since 2015 as we're expecting more than 50,000 attendees at the show this year. Additionally, our exhibit space has more than tripled since the inaugural show in 2015, and we're actually up 25% of growth over last year. So I think if you were to look at, you know ask, what is one word or one phrase to describe CES Asia? Over the course of the past year, I think it would be growth.

Tyler Suiters

That might describe China overall as well. So for those folks who haven't been-

John T. Kelly

Very good point.

Tyler Suiters

For those who haven't been to China, John, I mean it's, you can study, you can look at the pictures, you can read articles and do your background, certainly, but it's a bit of an experience to be a metropolis like Shanghai or Beijing or take your pick of major cities in China. I mean, what is the scene like there on show days, because there's always so much hustle and bustle, and just flat out people in these cities on a regular day, much mess a show day.

John T. Kelly                     

Right, so the convention center we use actually had 17 halls and we occupy six of them, which our first year, five years ago, just to put some context here, we occupied one and a half halls, so again, going back to that growth that I just mentioned. During the show days it can be pretty crowded at the show. 50,000 people across six halls does get fairly crowded. A city of 24 million people here in Shanghai, everything is crowded. If you're on the subway, it's crowded, you walk down the streets, it's crowded, it's kind of hard to avoid crowds here, but we do a really good job of managing people and getting people where they need to be in the, which is on the show floor. There's some really exciting technology on the show floor this year, and so our goal is to make sure that our attendees get to spend time on the show floor and interact with that technology.

Tyler Suiters                      

So how does the show floor look different than CES in Las Vegas? That is the touch point for so many of us, right? When you say CES, each of us has an individual view in mind, a picture of what we remember, or what we expect, or what really leapt out at us during the show. What about you? You attend both shows, roughly six months apart. Similarities and differences between the two for you.

John T. Kelly                      

Well I think that's a very good question. It's one I get asked a lot, and I think as we've seen, CES Asia has grown and we've seen the show grow over the past five years, we're starting to see the two shows CES in Las Vegas, and CES Asia here in Shanghai really compliment each other well. So for instance, technologies that are launched are announced CES Asia in a short span of six months we often see that technology progress to see new iterations of it or new applications for that technology.

John T. Kelly                      

For an example, in 2018, the first AI enabled smartphone was launched at CES in Las Vegas. Six months later at CES Asia, the first AI enabled television was launched. So you're starting to see new applications for technology, and I think at the rate at which technology is advancing, six months is a perfect amount of time for a new touchpoint or a different touchpoint with the industry. So those in the industry can see the rate at which technology is progressing.

John T. Kelly                      

Many of the same exhibitors that you see at CES are also present at CES Asia. So for instance, the Hycin, the Hire, the Hyundais, the Honda, Kia, Mercedes Benz, many of those are the same exhibitors that you see at CES in Las Vegas, and often times they will build a booth on similar scale to what they do in Las Vegas. However, one thing that I think is unique, is that 80% of the exhibitors that exhibit here at CES Asia or actually do not exhibit at CES in Las Vegas. So you're seeing new companies. You're seeing new companies that are pretty innovative. CES Asia is a curated show, meaning we review all applications that we receive for booth space, and surprisingly every year we do reject a fair amount of companies from the show because we don't feel like they're the right fit for CES Asia.

John T. Kelly                      

So it is somewhat of a curated experience to ensure that we maintaining the same quality and standards that we do at CES in Las Vegas.

Tyler Suiters                     

Well that's a cool point, John, and insightful that yes there are different companies involved, to a large extent, and some of the global players, the tech giants, or the auto giants, which you could argue are tech giants too are at both shows, but another key change, it seems to me is the fact that this is an exhibition in Asia for the Asian market, and so that means a different means of presentation, a different means of emphasizing various product lines, or strategic direction for companies, right? The fact that the audience is so different here.

John T. Kelly                      

Correct, and you are correct when you say that. An example here using Audi as an example, so Audi actually last week at a press event that we hosted here in China, made an announcement they will be launching a new product at CES Asia specifically aimed at the Chinese marketplace. And many companies follow the same pattern, the same strategy in the sense that they have products that they tailor specifically for this marketplace whether it be Asian marketplace, or specifically for the Chinese marketplace. It goes without saying that the needs of this marketplace are different than other parts of the world. So as a result of that, many companies adapt and change their business and their strategies to better serve the needs of this marketplace.

Tyler Suiters                      

Let's talk about some of the verticals, which maybe you can argue are horizontals too, but across the CES Asia show John. First and foremost, here is a close tie to CES in Las Vegas, and it's emblematic of the entire tech sector right now, that is the growth, the prominence, the emphasis on artificial intelligence, AI, at CES Asia.

John T. Kelly                      

Right, and artificial intelligence is one of those technologies that we consider an ingredient technology, meaning it will be implemented in various products that you see throughout the show floor. So there might be an exhibitor that considers themself a smart home manufacturer, but in the end, they're really just showcasing some new application for artificial intelligence.

John T. Kelly                      

This year the artificial intelligence footprint at CES Asia, we estimate it to be up 25% over last year. And you'll see new applications in retail, content, digital health, and many more. So it should be a really exciting category at CES Asia this year.

Tyler Suiters                     

So one of the topics that strikes me as a real growth area and emblematic of Asia and the tech scene overall, John, is the startup scene at CES Asia. I think that CES in Las Vegas is Eureka Park with more than 1,000 exhibitors from around the world, right? These startups, these entrepreneurs that are delivering game breaking, life changing innovations you may or may not recognize, right? When they actually come to market. That's a strong narrative, a real draw in Las Vegas for the show, but now this is becoming a point of emphasis in Shanghai too, right?

John T. Kelly                     

Correct. We launched what we call Startup Park, which is modeled after Eureka Park at CES, we launched that four years ago here at the show. This year we expect more than 115 exhibitors from seven countries and regions that will be presenting the newest, latest, most innovative technologies on the show floor. Some of the organizers, like CES, you see many country pavilion where countries or governments from different countries will organize exhibitors on the CES Asia show floor.

Tyler Suiters                     

Right, right.

John T. Kelly                      

So this year, we're expecting, in addition to, obviously they'll be multiple groups organizing Chinese exhibitors, but we're also expecting exhibitors from Switzerland and Norway will be organizing large pavilions on the show floor this year as well.

Tyler Suiters                      

And then, another marketplace you've alluded to with some of the big names, and you mentioned Mercedes, Audi, Hyundai, the vehicle technology sector. Every major player is in Las Vegas for CES in the auto sector, and it sounds like you're really moving toward the fact that that can be true of CES Asia as well.

John T. Kelly                      

Yeah, that is correct. The automobile story is fantastic at CES Asia. Again, at the beginning of this podcast, I mentioned explosive growth, this is one area that we're just seeing really explosive growth with respect to CES Asia. This year we expect more than 70 exhibitors in the auto category will be occupying almost two full halls in automobile technology at CES Asia in addition to outdoor driving experiences from Septio, and Audi. We feel like we are the largest technology trade show in Asia that features the automobile category. And again, it's just really amazing to see how many auto companies or auto suppliers are participating in CES Asia, and many do so because they're looking to partner with other tech companies. So you might see a partnership with one of the automobile companies with an internet company, an automobile company with more of a mobile company, and I think at it's core, that's really what CES Asia is. It's an opportunity to bring different industries together so they can partner, they can discuss new ideas, and really, they can learn from one another, because as we've seen at CES, and also now at CES Asia, it's really this convergence of industries where every industry is a technology, and it somehow is effected by technology, and most companies, or many companies nowadays consider themselves a technology company in one way or another.

Tyler Suiters                      

All of our faithful CES Tech Talk podcasters are nodding along with you there John, because yes, every company is, or needs to be a tech company in today's business place.

Tyler Suiters                      

What about what's new in 2019? Who has you excited for first time exhibitors there in Shanghai?

John T. Kelly                      

We do have many new companies. I think one new company would be AIWAYS. DENSO is another one. Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, Hyundai Mobis, [Polstar 00:13:54], Sonos, DN Motors. These are all new companies at CES Asia that are choosing to participate in our show, because they feel like it is the best opportunity to expose the Asian marketplace to their products and technologies.

Tyler Suiters                      

And another parallel, I know with Las Vegas, John, is the keynote scene, the conference sessions, all the programming that go into CES Asia, I find it, when I'm in Las Vegas, challenging sometimes to get to the show floor on a particular day or part of a day because the programmings so rich and I can't pull myself out of one room where it's one fascinating conversation after another. What's on tap in Shanghai this year?

John T. Kelly                      

Well, correct, I mean we do have, our conference offerings are pretty extensive this year. So we're offering more than 30+ conference sessions on topics like AI vehicle technology, AR/VR, fashion technology that we have a session on sustainability. We also have a conference session the year focused on diversity in the workplace. So it's a very diverse, robust amount of conference program that we have at CES Asia this year. And you mentioned keynote, so we have announced five keynotes to date, AIWAY, Hyundai, Wacom, Horizon Robotics, and Audi. So these companies will be sending senior executives to CES Asia to make major keynotes announcements, highlight new products, partnerships, et cetera. Similar to how the keynotes at CES are run.

Tyler Suiters                      

All right, John, before I let you go, what's availability like for folks who want to get to this show. I know the window is closing, but the window's still open right now to register and get there, right?

John T. Kelly                      

That is correct. So registration will be open through the show. So it's from now until June 10th you can register on our website, cesasia.com, or through our WeChat page, which is very popular here in China. We actually are offering a discounted registration fee of 50 RMB, so that's approximately eight US dollars, which is not much money. And then at the onsite fee will kick in on June 10th of 100 RMB or approximately $16.

Tyler Suiters                      

John Kelly is a busy man right now, no matter what time it is where you are listening in the world. He is the show director for CES Asia in Shanghai, China. John, one more time, the show dates are?

John T. Kelly                      

June 11th through the 13th and we hope to see all of you in Shanghai.

Tyler Suiters                      

All right John, I'm a little rusty from my last trip to China, but [Speaking in Mandarin].

John T. Kelly                      

[Speaking in Mandarin].

Tyler Suiters                      

I came close. All right. Thanks again, John, have a great show.

John T. Kelly                      

Thank you Tyler.

Tyler Suiters                      

Ritch Wood is CEO of Nu Skin, a company you probably know well, but may not think of as a tech company precisely. Ritch, good to have you with us from Utah. I'd imagine the weather is just gorgeous out there right now.

Ritch Wood                       

Thank you very much, and it is a beautiful spring here in Utah.

Tyler Suiters                      

Yeah, never run out of beautiful views out there. As I said, a lot of people know Nu Skin, a lot of you know, a lot of people know you in the health and wellness and beauty sector, maybe not so much as a technology company, but heck, we love to say it around CES, every company today is or needs to be a technology company, and clearly you and your team agree.

Ritch Wood                       

Well, we totally agree with that. I'm fairly new CEO, two years in from becoming the CEO after being the CFO for about 15 years, and we feel very strongly that the company's who are really going to win and be successful going forward are those who are going to implement technology top to bottom in their companies.

Tyler Suiters                      

So what does that look like at Nu Skin? If you would, just give us a bit of an overview of where the company is right now, two years into your tenure as CEO, and how that element of technology is not just becoming a pilar, but an overall ingredient in who an what Nu Skin is.

Ritch Wood                       

We developed a strategy of how to really drive our business forward through customer growth and as we look at our customer growth, it really happens in three ways. We call it our platform, our product, and our program approach to touching customers and bringing more customers to enjoy our product. As we talk about our platform, it really is utilizing social, selling and technology to make a better customer experience, and expand our reach of our sales leaders to be able to connect with more customers.

Ritch Wood                      

From a product side, we have a platform of devices, we call them our beauty devices, which we utilize to deliver ingredients in a way that improved the experience and the efficacy of our products. So technology plays a key role in that. On the nutrition side, we focused on technology to help us develop an ingredient that's pure, clean, and sustainable and we will be highlighting this at CES, but it's indoor growing technology, which allows us to utilize much less space, much less water and resource to develop a higher efficiency ingredient that's clean, pure, and has no pesticide or herbicide. So that's really the product front and then I would say, on the program front, it's all about how we reward and recognize our sales leaders for their success and utilizing technology in that aspect as core to our ability to be successful. So it really does, as you mentioned, I think, flow through each aspect of our business, form essentially the foundation of how we generate our strategy going forward.

Tyler Suiters                     

So I want to jump back to that sustainability angle, in just a moment Ritch, but first, the product overall, what are some examples, or even just one really sound example of a Nu Skin product, one of the benchmarks, one of the real traditional products you've always had, or you think of as a sales leader, and a means in which technology might be enhancing that?

Ritch Wood                       

Yeah, we have always focused on the name of the brand as Nu Skin, which is a personal care brand that we started back in 1984, we've had face care products that have been very, very successful. In the last two years, we launched a product that we called LumiSpa. It's a cleansing treatment device that you use with products that go with it to be very effective in cleaning, cleansing, and treating the skin on the face. It has increased the efficiency and enhancement of what would be our normal cleansing lotion on a face.

Tyler Suiters                      

Makes sense. Now, the other element, that I just touched on, sustainability. Controlled environment agriculture, the acronym that you all use is CEA, a pretty big name, but equated to some of what you started going down the road upon, Ritch, which is an easier and more sustainable way to get the ingredients that you need for your product.

Ritch Wood                       

It was about three years ago that we started investing in some technology to able to take the growing, which outdoors has a number of variables that are hard to control, water, light, wind, storms, things like that, and be able to take it indoor where we can control those and develop a recipe that gives a seed it's perfect day every day and allows it to be consistent, get the same result every single time.

Ritch Wood                       

We're now three years into this vision that's probably a longterm 10, 15, 20 year vision, but we're really getting to a point now where we'll start to have products that become available that are produced using the CEA technology and again, it uses just a fraction of the water and the land resources that are so valuable.

Tyler Suiters                      

Right, well especially important to an international company, and in many senses, your market is everywhere, but clearly a specific focus on the Asian markets. Why that focus and how'd you achieve that growth Ritch, and then as a second part of that question, why leverage CES Asia, what are you hoping to get there?

Ritch Wood                       

Our business in Asia is extremely important to us, making up about 75% of our overall business. It really began in the early 90s when we opened our first Asian market, which was in Hong Kong, followed shortly thereafter in Taiwan, both markets, which have been successful for us, but it was really mainland China, which we opened in 2002 and really started to see our business take off in that region. Today, mainland China is our largest market, and greater China our largest region making up 33% or more of our sales, probably our biggest opportunity for growth going forward.

Tyler Suiters                      

So a solid strategy for CES Asia, Ritch. What about Nu Skin and the CES, CES 2020 in Las Vegas, the health, the wellness, the beauty sector continues to grow as technology is driving both the product side and the consumer side. We all going to see you in Las Vegas in January?

Ritch Wood                       

We would love to be there, and that is our plan to continue to build both our story, our technology, as well as our visibility in terms of what we're doing with technology. So we definitely plan on being in Las Vegas next year with CES.

Tyler Suiters                      

All right, Ritch Wood is CEO of Nu Skin. Getting ready for a major exhibit at CES Asia in Shanghai coming up June 11th through the 13th, and Ritch, look forward to getting to connect in person and talk to some BYU Cougars football I suppose when we see you in Las Vegas in January.

Ritch Wood                      

We'll plan on that. Thank you very much for your time.

Tyler Suiters                     

As always, we want you to be CES ready. So here's what you can do. Yes, even this long before CES 2020 kicks off on January 7th in Las Vegas. Download the CES app. You can build your personal agenda, find your favorite exhibitors and speakers, and sync it all in realtime across your devices. Also, you can subscribe to the CES Tech Talk podcast, that way you won't miss a single episode as you're gearing up for the 2020 show. Again, that is January 7th through the 10th. CES 2020 in Las Vegas, and a reminder, none of this, nothing about this podcast is possible without our superstars executive producer Tina Anthony, and our senior engineer, John Lindsey, you all are the very best.

Tyler Suiters                      

Thank you for joining us, I'm Tyler Suiters, let's talk tech again soon.

 
 

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