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The mystery of the empty CES booth

Those who exhibit their wares at CES pay large amounts to have a booth. How was it, then, that a booth appeared to lay empty?

What happened?
Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Some had Lycra-bathed women. Some had frantic presenters. Some had brochures, samples, salespeople, three-point shot competitions, and Marilyn Monroe.

But there was (at least) one booth at CES that appeared to have precisely nothing.

Just nothing.

Empty chairs, empty shelves, a blank TV screen, no salespeople, no dancing girls.

This was the booth belonging to Lanyuan Electronics Technology, which appears to be a China-based company that sells very fine cables.

Here, there were no cables to be seen. There were no persuasions to be had. There was just an empty space.

Naturally, I contacted Lanyuan Electronics Technology's reseller in the U.S. to see what might have happened.

Tom Ren told me: "I just called the Lanyuan people in China (3 a.m. now) and they are surprised why no one showed up at the booth -- they had paid a lot of money for the booth. They have sent three people to man the booth. They must have emergencies."

Perhaps someone clean forgot. Perhaps they thought it was next week. Perhaps they simply decided to do their business elsewhere. One hopes, of course, that nothing untoward occurred.

But it was a strange sight. Among all the frantic excitement, posing, pushing, pulling, and selling, here was an oasis of nothingness.

It wasn't the only one. Colleagues told me that they, too, witnessed the strange sight of unoccupied booths, left there to merely advertise a name -- a name that offered no promise of a future, not even of a present.