One country and the companies headquartered in it were specifically prohibited from CES this year.
- The 2023 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas began on January 5. 3,000 exhibitors from around the world presented new gadgets and devices, to a non-public crowd of attendees.
- The event marks one of the largest hosted since the outbreak of COVID in early 2020. The expo hosted in January 2020 saw over 121,000 guests, which dropped below 44,000 the following year.
- The ongoing war in Ukraine though saw companies based in Russia being being disinvited to the event on the grounds that it was not appropriate to promote their companies, while their government is engaged in a hostile war in Europe.
- CES has instead opted to push several Ukrainian startup companies as a sign of support, with representatives wearing Ukrainian flag pins at the expo.
Why It’s News
As we previously reported, the 2023 show represents one of the largest audiences for CES, with over 100,000 attendees expected. This marks the first show since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic to see significant crowds, marking a return to normalcy following the lockdowns.
That return does not extend to Russian companies though, which are facing boycotts due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The war is approaching a full year since the invasion on February 24, 2022, and no end is in sight.
The invasion has seen widespread boycotts and embargos on Russian goods and services. The U.S. and 30 other countries continue to hold sanctions against the country. These sanctions have affected the Russian economy in significant ways. Russian soccer teams were also prohibited from playing at the World Cup and the Euro 2022 competition by global football leagues.
Consumer Technology Association Head Gary Shapiro tells the BBC and Fortune that Russian companies, several of which reached out to appear at CES, were “not welcome” to appear.
“We did not welcome them this year given the political situation. We just didn’t feel it was appropriate. It wasn’t a matter of legal policy for the United States, it’s a matter of our policy as an organisation. We said they could relocate to another country if they were interested … A lot of people from around the world want to support Ukraine. I know my wife actively seeks out products from Ukraine that she can order. And we have bought stuff from Ukraine directly,,” says Shapiro.