Record-breaking number of Chinese firms at CES

A driving simulator at the Hisense booth during the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 6, 2015.
Steve Marcus | Reuters
A driving simulator at the Hisense booth during the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 6, 2015.

A smart belt that adjusts with your waist. A new Walkman that costs $1,200 (yes, really). And an ATM that will pay cash for your old electronics. This year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas had its usual share of headline-grabbing gadgets.

But perhaps the most eye-popping trend wasn't self-driving cars or 4K TVs: It was the record-breaking number of Chinese companies in attendance boasting their wares. The annual trade show had 871 tech firms from China, a 34 percent jump from 2012, when there were just 648 Chinese companies.

"There's more and more Chinese manufacturers coming to the show," said Gary Shu, a senior manager in the marketing development division at 3D printing company XYZ Printing, a subsidiary of XYZ Life. Like many of its Chinese tech peers at CES, XYZ, a company just 18 months old, is largely unknown to American consumers.

Many of these newcomers, however, are growing quickly, and are looking to disrupt or compete on turf recently or still dominated by more familiar names such as LG, Samsung, Sony and others. They also say they're getting some solid feedback from attendees.

XYZ Printing

"We launched our first printer here last year and we got an amazing response because of our pricing competitiveness. So that gave us a really good year of shipping," said Shu. "But this year we are going to move on with something even better, even cheaper."

The company also expanded its presence at CES. Last year, XYZ showed off its only printer, the DaVinci. This year the company debuted four new printers, including one that costs as little as $350. It also expanded its booth to show off other XYZ Life products, like wearable technology.

XYZ also upgraded its space, from a booth 20 feet by 40 feet to one that's 30 by 50, and already secured an even bigger display for 2016.

Shu said he's seeing many more Chinese companies at the show. "In 3D printing alone, there are so many smaller booths that are coming from China," he said. "Most of them are small- and medium-size companies. It's amazing."

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TCL

Another Chinese company that turned heads at CES this year was TCL.

The electronics maker showed off its 110-inch curved 4K TV this week, which the company claims is the biggest of its kind and slightly bigger than Samsung's 110-inch TV. TCL also claims the huge TV can display a 3-D experience without glasses.

The company, however, didn't reveal a price tag or a launch date for the monster-size TV. Samsung will release its huge TV in March, with a retail price of $150,000.

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Hisense

TCL isn't the only Chinese company focused on big picture. The electronics manufacturer Hisense launched a new laser projector at the show that can beam a 100-inch image.

The laser projector, called the Vidaa Max, doesn't need a screen, so users can easily move the console around to display content on walls and other surfaces. It also enables users to view both standard-definition or high-def.

Hisense also distinguished itself by already becoming one of the top three ultra-high definition 4K television manufacturers in the first nine months of 2014.