German firms target market

With a booming Middle East IT industry, German companies are pushing to bring their export expertise to the region, claims Florian Koch.

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By  Joanne Bladd Published  September 10, 2007

The Middle East is top of the market wishlist for German IT firms showcasing their wares at GITEX Technology Week, an industry analyst says.

Florian Koch, spokesperson for Bitkom; the trade association for Germany's technology firms, says the industry hopes to list the Middle East among its top five export earners within the next two years.

"It is an untapped region for Germany's ITC industry," Koch claims. "Export figures from 2006 show the ITC market made €46.6 billion. We want the Middle East listed among our top five export destinations."

With a long history in IT solutions, Koch continues, German firms have a range of solutions and products that are ideally suited for the regional market.

"From IT security, to network solutions, to advanced communication systems; we have the expertise and experience to compete here.

"We offer 'made in Germany' quality - you can rely on it. This is still the USP of our companies' products; a balance between quality and real innovation."

Germany's efforts to boost its market visibility are particularly well-timed, says Koch; as the rapid growth of the region has left networks struggling for capacity. Middle East businesses also need to raise their game on network and data security, he adds, if they really wish to compete in on a global scale.

"To attract global business, you need secure data lines. We have a lot of specialists in this field that can help companies close the current gaps," he explains.

With a vested interest in any export profits, the German government is lending a helping hand to trade firms making the trip to Dubai for GITEX. The majority of exhibitors in the pavilion are hoping to establish tie-ups with existing local companies. AHK, the country's industrial commerce office, is on hand to match make alliances between potential regional resellers and any homegrown ITC firms.

AHK has two UAE-based offices which, Koch claims, offer vital and free support for German firms new to the Middle East market. "You need a presence here all year round," he explains. "Just one visit each year at GITEX is not enough to really compete with local-based firm.s."

And the appeal of the region's IT market is certainly growing, admits Neeraj Dalal, AHK manager. "When we first exhibited at GITEX in 2001, we had just four German companies," he says. "Now, the pavilion has grown from 48 sq mts to 538 sq mts, with a 31-strong line-up.

"We have been organising meetings between interested parties and I'm confident we will see a number of deals completed by our firms before the week is out."

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