ABU DHABI, 23 May 2013 – The 9th annual DISTREE Middle East channel event finished today after an action-packed three-days at its new venue in Abu Dhabi, with delegates participating in 2,000-plus pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings. The event also played host to the ‘Middle East Retail Academy (MERA): 2013 Awards’ Gala Dinner to celebrate retail channel achievements across the region during the last 12 months.

This year’s DISTREE Middle East also included the popular ‘60 Seconds to Convince’ awards programme, giving dozens of brands the opportunity to showcase their latest products to the region’s most influential retail buyers.

A full conference programme included a keynote speech from GfK, vendor presentations, expert-led workshops, panel discussions, plus an interactive Strategy Forum that allowed senior vendor, distributor and retailer executives the chance to exchange views on market issues and set development objectives. The conference programme also included sessions involving Accelerate International, CONTEXT, Kiki-Lab – Ebeltoft Group, Navo, RETRAK, Strategy & Teams and VIA.

Farouk Hemraj, CEO and co-founder at DISTREE Events, said: “We truly believe that our role as an event organiser is to provide a platform that empowers vendors and retailers to not just talk business, but also share market information and strategy insights that influence business for the retail channel. The evolving content of our conference programme is based on continuous feedback from our delegates.”

This year DISTREE Middle East welcomed over 600 delegates from across the Middle East, Africa and CIS to the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel in Abu Dhabi. DISTREE Middle East 2013 provided the ideal business platform for vendors looking to launch, build or manage retail channels across the region, bringing them face-to-face with top retail buyers and senior channel executives.
Hemraj added: “In addition to established brands looking for an efficient way to meet face-to-face with existing retail partners, DISTREE Middle East also helps new brands launch routes-to-market in the region.”

More than 65 brands participated at the event, from A-brand vendors through to new players in the market, such as CAT Phones – a manufacturer of rugged mobile devices.

“DISTREE Middle East has become a must-attend event on our calendar,” said Ashish Panjabi, COO at UAE-based retailer Jacky’s Electronics. “The roundtable discussions with our peers, forums for meaningful dialogue with the vendors, and panel discussions create opportunities for us [retailers] to share and learn from each other and help us to work better with vendors to find solutions to some of the market challenges we face.”

Srinath Nagarajan, Business Head Mobility at participating brand ME Tablet from HCL, said: “This is the second year we have attended DISTREE Middle East and it has lived up to its promise. It is a great platform for us to engage with the key retailers across the region.”

During the ‘MERA: 2013 Awards’, delegates used a live electronic voting system to select winners across a number of vendor, retailer and distributor categories. Retailer winners on the night included Alghanim, Carrefour, CompuMe, Emax, Khoury Home, Lulu and Souq.com. Entries from both Jacky’s and Sharaf DG were highly commended in the submission-based retailer awards that were evaluated by a VIP Jury of independent channel experts.

Redington emerged successful in the ‘MERA: 2013 Awards’ distributor categories. The vendor awards were highly competitive with the list of winners by product category including Asus, Dell, Huawei, Linksys, Logitech, Promate, Samsung and Seagate.

DISTREE Middle East ran from May 21st to 23rd. This year’s event was supported by Intel, Dell and Norton by Symantec as Platinum Sponsors; CAT, Modecom, Max Electronics, Huawei and ME Tablet from HCL as Gold Sponsors, with additional support from Asus, Targus, Genius, Eros Group, Linksys, Energy Sistem and Asbis as Silver Sponsors. Planning is already underway for DISTREE Middle East 2014, which will take place from 20th to 22nd May next year.
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