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CES Asia begins in Shanghai

The Consumer Electronics Show launches its inaugural Asian event, with a preshow keynote by Audi -- and rides for attendees in Audi's R8 e-tron.

Aloysius Low/CNET

SHANGHAI, China -- The Consumer Electronics Association takes a bold leap into China as it launches the Asian edition of its Consumer Electronics Show here. CES Asia is taking place over the next three days and we're on the ground to bring you key news as it happens.

Taking the lead preshow keynote was Audi, and while the German car maker didn't make any earth-shaking announcements, it did say attendees would be invited take its latest electric car, the Audi R8 e-tron, for a test drive with a twist. Passengers will ride at the mercy of the car's autonomous "piloted drive" feature and will be taken out onto the busy roads of Shanghai for an 8km trip.

If the Audi keynote is a sign of things to come, the event may be a subdued first outing that lays the foundation for the future of this mini-CES here in China, which is scheduled just one week before the more established regional trade show -- Computex -- happens in nearby Taipei.

The sprawling International CES takes place each January in the US, in the glitzy environs of Las Vegas.

If anything, CES Asia will be focused mainly on Chinese development and announcements, and have less of a global or regional focus. But that's not a bad thing. China is a critical market for consumer electronics -- for global brands aiming to win in the Chinese market and for Chinese brands aiming to build global reach -- making CES Asia a key opportunity for a new showcase event.

"It was a big decision, and you know what, part of it is a lot of companies ask for it," said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association at the Audi keynote.

"They wanted Las Vegas here. Right here, people love their technology. There's a huge market for digital devices here in Asia, and of course, Shanghai is the official city of the future."

It's hard to predict what exactly we will find through the next three days -- that's the excitement and the risk of any first. Be sure to check back as we share what we find.