DISTREE Middle East kicks off

The ninth DISTREE Middle East conference opened its doors on Tuesday, welcoming in a record number of delegates from across the Middle East, Turkey, Africa and CIS (METACIS).

The electronics retail conference this year plays host to over 600 delegates, who have a record 2,000 one-on-one pre-scheduled meetings to attend over the course of the two-day event, according to initial figures.

According to a pre-event statement, more than 50 percent of the brands participating at this year’s DISTREE Middle East are doing so for the first time. A quick stroll around the exhibition area revealed a plethora of new brands who have yet to tap into the potential of the METACIS market.

One such brand hoping to make an impression on channel delegates at this year’s event is CAT, which is due to release its first Android-powered rugged smartphone, the B15, in the Middle East next week. Representatives said that DISTREE was part of the new device’s launch.

“With the construction going on out here, it’s a really large market for us,” said Liam Marriott, Marketing Coordinator, Bullit Mobile, which is based in the UK and is representing CAT’s new devices at DISTREE Middle East.

“The other thing we have is the brand – it’s well-known out here. We want to make sure we do each market correctly, and the Middle East is one of CAT’s most prominent markets.”

Marriott said that his team had back-to-back meetings with retailers scheduled across the event. However, with so many other vendors trying to seduce the channel, even CAT may have to work to secure interest.

Retailers and channel members will be doing much more than talking to vendors at the event, anyway. DISTREE Middle East 2013 promises a strong line-up of workshops covering topics such as pricing, competition, product mix and market potential in emerging markets.

A panel discussion on current issues facing the retail channel will also take place. Meanwhile, the main conference programme will begin with a keynote speech, given by official event partner GFK, on Tuesday evening.

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