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GITEX Exhibition – An Analysis By Research Konnection

The evolution of Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) as a state of the art global exhibition has been synchronized with Dubai’s transformation from a relatively lesser known entity into a global hub for technology, tourism, retail and trade. The annual technology exhibition, trade show and conference is considered to be largest technology event in Middle East. It attracts technology enthusiasts and end consumers alike in large volumes and is exhibited by range of technology companies.

GITEX was 1st organized in 1981 by Dubai World Trade Centre as an IT exhibition. Conducted in a small area of 820 square meters, it was attained by 46 local exhibitors and around 3,000 visitors. It was an era when Dubai was in its nascent phase and its economy primarily depended on oil extraction, fishing and pearls. However in subsequent years, Dubai demonstrated meteoric economic rise albeit visionary governance to transform the Emirates into a paradise for businesses, tourists and shoppers from the region as well as globe.

In its 29th edition in 2013, GITEX is expected to attract 139,000 ICT professionals from over 3500 companies, out of which around 25,000 executives are expected to be C-level executives. Over 80 percent of the leading ICT companies from across the globe will make their presence felt in the event, which is considered to be the gateway to Middle East.

Figure 1:- Shows the number of visitors attending GITEX in recent past

Showcase Latest Innovation

GITEX is a tremendous platform for technology firms to demonstrate and launch their latest technologies into the MENA region as it offers a suitable platform for technology enthusiasts and end users to learn and understand about latest innovations and advancements in the technological landscape.

Besides product launch, every year GITEX is associated with various key announcements. For instance, German software giant SAP last year announced an ambitious four years investment plan in MENA market which included initiatives such as certification of consultant, up-skill local talent, customization of solution in accordance to local needs and creation of new job opportunities.

Stakeholder Networking

GITEX which amass numerous retailers, distributors, technology enthusiasts and consumers from various part of the globe under roof, is considered to be an effective platform for business networking. Since its inception GITEX have been playing an instrumental role in catalyzing effective networking between principle companies and regional channel partners, distributors and retailers thereby ensuring benefits for all the stakeholders involved. Over the period of time, it has grown manifolds in terms of size and had found its way in the wish list of key decision makers from leading technology companies, across the globe.

Besides the GITEX technology week, it has couple of other events named GITEX Shoppers, October and Spring edition. These are considered to be the largest consumer and IT electronics sales event. GITEX Shopper events are frequently visited by all the leading global brands such as Samsung, Nokia, HP, Dell, Bose, LG and Intel and are associated with multi-million dollar sales every year.

Contribution to Dubai Economy

GITEX events make significant contribution towards the economy of Dubai and UAE. According to an assessment conducted by Oxford Economics, in 2011 the contribution of GITEX towards the Dubai was USD 1.75 billion, 2.1 percent of the annual GDP. Besides tourist inflows other significance are stupendous sales, business networking and brand image stimulation.

The purpose behind introducing the concept of GITEX Shopper by Dubai Government was to segregate retail customers from B2B and offer them a separate platform. Since its inception, in line with the reputation enjoyed by its flagship event, GITEX Shopper has been receiving massive response from local, regional and international shoppers. Due to the outstanding success of GITEX Shopper event, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad, the Prime Minister of UAE and the Ruler of Dubai declared to add an additional spring edition to the existing event from this year onwards which means that the event will take place twice a year.

Tremendous Sales

GITEX events are associated with tremendous sales, thanks to its size, scale and exciting discount and prize offers. (In the present GITEX Shoppers 2013, the total prize money is estimated to be around USD 13.5 million). In 2012, GITEX Shoppers which was visited by over 2,000,000 individuals resulted in total sales of around USD 65 million. Similarly, the 1st spring edition concluded in the month of April, ended up in estimated total sales of over USD 25 million.

Figure 2:- Shows the total sales generated in the last three editions of GITEX Shoppers

Strategic Intent 

UAE along with the MENA region is considered to be one of the most sophisticated and high worth Information Communication and Technology (ICT) markets across the globe. The overall net worth of the consumer electronic retail alone, in UAE is USD 3.9 billion. With a penetration of 74 percent, UAE holds number one position in terms of smartphone penetration across the globe, ahead of its American, European and South East Asian counterparts. The smartphone penetration in the region is estimated around 47 percent and is expected to reach 70 percent by the end 2016.

Unrivalled in terms of size and scale, GITEX go hand in hand with the strategic intents of Dubai in the context of ambitious ICT plans. Moreover, Dubai has rolled out many plans in order to seek huge investment towards developing state of the art ICT infrastructure. In this context, a grand event such as GITEX, which exposes local markets to numerous international ICT companies, is considered to be beneficial towards realizing such strategic plans and intents.

Global events such as GITEX and Cityscape along with ambitious plans such as World Expo 2020 are supposed to play an integral part in conceptualizing such grand vision. With their natural ability to attract and engage business and end users from different part of the globe in huge number, they stimulate almost every key sphere of Dubai’s socio-economic life and give the city a magnificent image. They reflect what Dubai is capable of and acknowledge authenticity and veracity of its plans.

Dubai’s success in the recent past has been awe-inspiring and it has emerged as a role regional model. However, the great leadership in Dubai has larger plans for the city state. Famous for thinking big and executing fast, Dubai aims to consolidate a much larger position for itself in the global tourism, real estate and trading map. Not to mention technology sector as well.

At Research Konnection we are conducting a survey to capture the excitement level among the residents of Dubai towards ongoing GITEX Shoppers. The survey is presently running across online as well offline platforms and the insights procured will be published by the end of the month.We will request you to take out two minutes and complete the small survey.

Take the GITEX Shopper 2013 Survey

Author: RKonnect
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at waqas@researchkonnection.com
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