The Internet Show Middle East held its second annual event in Abu Dhabi this past week in what is one of a number of events and conferences aimed at sparking regional Interest in the industry. The show, which showcases Internet vendors and websites in the region, attracted 3,000 attendees to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre to enjoy seminars on the usual topics of digital advertising, social networking, social media, e-commerce, and content managemen.
The headline sponsors for the event were Yahoo! Maktoob and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the UAE. Other companies participating in the event included a mix of websites, advertising and social marketing agencies, ad networks and your typical slew of vendors and service providers. The ratio of exhibitors, however, seemed to favor the B2B vendors, as only a handful of consumer websites were making their mark.
Speaking of Arabic content, however, it was totally missing from the exhibition. For example, TwoFour54, while spearheading Abu Dhabi’s effort to break into the Arabic online content race, was a no show.
One newcomer that stood out was Logta.com, who showcased its Amazon-like shopping portal and e-commerce platform. Logta claims to be the “first online mall” in the Arab region. The demo at their exhibit, however, was constantly interrupted by a group of people running around in oversized outfits spelling out Souq.com, which also claims to be the largest online shopping mall in the Arab world. At least competition is always healthy. Yet when it came to group deals sites, it was a bit surprising that Sheel.com was the only one of many in the MENA region to exhibit, although Cobone.com’s co-founder was tapped for one of the seminars.
The Internet Show Middle East attracted a healthy number of both
attendees and companies, making it clear that not only are
e-commerce and online advertising are on the rise in the region,
but also that competition- the much-needed ingredient for success
in a market- was alive and well in the region. Hopefully next year
more of the region’s players- especially those working in Arabic
content- will join in.