In the aftermath of World War II, the German economy was in ruins, food was scarce and industry was weaker than ever. This was the state of affairs in 1947 when the military government formed by the United Kingdom and the United States suggested that Germany create a symbol to reflect the passion and economic potential of its workers, business owners and entrepreneurs in the eyes of the rest of the world. And so it came to be that Germany’s exports laid the foundations for its economic recovery.
As a result of this initiative, that same year Deutsche Messe AG was created to organize Germany’s first export fair, which took place in Hannover, Lower Saxony, in a factory building in Laatzen, to the south of the city.
No one could possibly have imagined that, 70 years later, Hannover Messe would be the global epicenter of the industrial technology business and a launch platform for Industry 4.0.
Hannover Messe was a success from day one. Barely two years after it was created, companies began complaining that the exhibition facilities were too small to accommodate all those who wanted to participate. In time, the fair became a symbol of the German economic miracle.
By 1950, Hannover Messe had garnered international prestige and was attracting exhibitors from over ten countries, including the United States. As early as 1948, the fair facilities boasted the first direct telephone line with New York and in 1952, the building of the Hannover-Langenhagen airport in record time significantly improved logistics, contributing to its growth and notoriety.
From 1961 on, Hannover Messe established its reputation as the largest global gathering of manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of technology and innovation. During this period, it broke world records with each passing year and clocked up no less than eight entries in the Guinness Book of Records for the fair with the most visitors (740,000), the largest trade fair facilities in the world (969,500 m2), the largest exhibition area (741,000 m2) and the world’s largest exhibition hall (Hall 1), among others.
On this dizzying upward path toward technological innovation, Hannover Messe has become inseparable from the history of innovation and the cradle of revolutionary industrial inventions. It was here no less that the World Wide Web was first used for virtual conferences, where the laptop computer, the first mobile telephones and the first Satnav system made their debut. The term “Industry 4.0” was coined at Hannover Messe, an event that showcases the latest breakthroughs in digitalization, automation and artificial intelligence, and that was the first in the world to boast fully operational 5G technology.
Today, Hannover Messe seeks to expand global business development opportunities by inviting certain countries to showcase their products each year in the context of their history, culture and geography. Following our exceptional performance as a partner country at Hannover Messe 2018 —and in light of the boom our industrial sector is experiencing— it was decided Mexico should be the venue for the first Latin American edition of Hannover Messe: Industrial Transformation Mexico, which will take place this October 9-11 in León, Guanajuato.
Mexico is well on its way to becoming the Industry 4.0 leader in the region, reason why Deutsche Messe views it as a natural choice for the positioning of an event of this magnitude. And just as no one imagined Hannover Messe would rise from the ashes of a war-ravaged Germany in 1945 to become a cradle of technological innovation, we are convinced that, in a not-too-distant future, Industrial Transformation Mexico has the potential to turn Mexico into a crucible of entrepreneurial minds and ground-breaking technological innovations that will change the world as we know it.
*The author is director-general of Hannover Fairs Mexico.