Asia's largest computing expo opens today in Taipei. Not afraid to call itself the world's second largest computing fair, Computex has gained a reputation for a show where manufacturing and sourcing deals are made and lost.

Western tech firms are also finding the show of increasing importance. Not only in terms of Asian trade, but also as a place they can launch products for a worldwide audience.

True, the expo may still focus on major Taiwanese brands such as Asus , Foxconn , VIA, Gigabyte. But the value is clear for the Western tech companies - Intel has already made an announcement, for example.

As with other formerly staunch computing shows, Computex will continue to shift in focus as the lines continue to blur between the computing and consumer electronics segments. Speakers include Stephen DiFranco, AMD 's digital home evangelist.

Over 1,333 exhibitors are making an appearance at this year's show, which runs until Friday. The huge expo takes place in four jumbo halls at the Taipei World Trade Center. And there are 2,926 booths - the US lingua franca for a show stand - in place.

The attendance figures are also huge; 130,000 are expected, 30,000 of whom will have travelled to Taipei from abroad. Last night saw the expo's opening ceremony while today and tomorrow the stands are open only to the trade.

The final day, Friday, is when Computex removes the 'trade only' tag and allows the public in. For computing industry shows, allowing the public in is unusual. CES in Las Vegas, for example, is a trade-only show. Berlin's IFA is the exception to the rule, but that expo focuses primarily on consumer electronics.