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All eyes on GITEX Show

Market prepares for IT extravaganza

The Middle East channel is counting down the days to the biggest event in the regional IT calendar.

Gitex 2006 will open its doors on November 18th with organiser Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) expecting participation from more than 3,000 companies across the global ICT industry.

For the first time, Gitex will also benefit from its co-location with DWTC’s inaugural regional telecoms exhibition, GulfComms.

According to DWTC, this year’s Gitex is now sold out with many major vendors onboard, including HP, Oracle, Microsoft and Sony.

“Gitex is ‘the’ IT exhibition in the Middle East and is now a vital event for HP,” said Joseph Hanania, managing director at HP Middle East.

The addition of country pavilions hosting firms from nations such as Hungary, Portugal and the US will also ensure the event provides local companies with a global platform to do business.

“As the IT market strengthens and spending in the Middle East and North Africa markets keeps on rising, we believe our role of a facilitator becomes even more crucial,” said Helal Saeed Al Marri, director general at DWTC.

The status of the show — which is running for the 26th time — has taken on extra significance given the rate at which the regional IT market is developing.

IDC data suggests that the value of the IT sector in the Middle East and North African region will reach more than US$13bn within the next two years.

With more than 100,000 visitors expected to attend the show, Gitex will be the ideal vehicle for companies to showcase new products, forge partnerships and increase visibility.

Local distributors such as FDC and Mindware intend to use the event to attract new customers, while others seek to use it for alternative strategic purposes.

Memory vendor Kingston, for example, plans to capitalise on Gitex by holding its first ever channel briefing for MEA partners.

“We expect a strong response to the meeting and Gitex creates the perfect opportunity for us to combine our briefing with the region’s biggest IT exhibition,” said Middle East business development manager Antoine Harb.

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