At the Consumer Electronics Show here in Las Vegas, many people spend the entire week trolling the three main halls occupied by companies like Samsung, LG Electronics and Sony. These companies have huge booths--Samsung took the cake with a 2,500-square-foot booth--and a lot of products.
But the international hall located in the Hilton is far more interesting. It's populated by hundreds of small companies grouped by nationality. Most are from Asia, but there are also sections for Denmark and Australia.
First, there is the sheer variety of names. Among them: Best Rainbow Technology (appliances), Billionton Systems (LCD panels), Nice Fountain Industrial (cables), Millionway International Industrial (GPS parts, I think), Harmonious Key Classic, Evermore Technology (no ravens in booth), and Chiefdom Electronics.
In the Taiwan Area, Good Way Technology is just a few booths away from Good Man. (Zippy Technology separates them.) Nearby is Action Star Enterprises (batteries).
Secondly, it's here where you see the aggressiveness to leap on a new trend. Nintendo put out the Wii game console only a few months ago, but Esel, a Canadian-Chinese company, has already developed a line of paddles. On display at the show, the company has a light gun, a golf club, a tennis racket and a steering wheel.
Third, you get to see deals get made. Nearly every one of these booths has a card table, and any hour of the day you can walk buy and see people negotiating deals for passive capacitors or cable housings.
Fourth, even though you've probably never heard of most of these companies, you probably own a bunch of their products.