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European IT firms feel heat in Dubai

10-11-2011 16:06 BJT

DUBAI, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- A random walk down the 31st Gitex Technology Week fair and exhibition, the largest IT and Telecom fair in the Middle East and North Africa, is like mirroring the current economic state of the world.

While emerging markets like China, Iran or South Korea increase their presence, European country pavilions show a much smaller presence this year.

Morocco and Malta have country pavilions for the first time at the Gitex. Some 3,500 suppliers from 57 countries display the latest IT products, software solutions and accessories in Dubai, a central trade hub bridging Europe with East.

At the same time, European firms reduce their presence. At the Swiss Pavilion, only five ICT firms have booked a stand, and all of them are small and medium enterprises.

"The big brands fear a recession, so they save money by not showing up," said an insider of the ICT industry in Switzerland who does not want to be named.

This is surprising for a country which is not part of the European Union and which is hardly affected by the Euro zone debt crisis.

"I can confirm that German IT companies which produce software for the construction industry suffer, as real estate projects slow down globally," Marc Konarski, head of Department Telecommunications Policy at the German Ministry of Economy, told Xinhua.

"But overall, we also see that Made-in-Germany still means quality in the IT world, especially in the security area. Take Leoni from the South German city or Nueremberg, a leading producer of electricity cables which can stand fire over 90 minutes. The firm is successfully expanding in the MENA region," he said.

Leoni runs offices in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, while in Dubai Leoni is present through partner companies.

At the same time, competition is getting fierce and the economic music is more and more audible from the East.

"We see more Chinese firms entering the German market, and this put local firms under some pressure. For example, the Huawei company based in China's Shenzhen recently launched a Smart Phone which costs only 99 Euro (134 U.S. dollars) and is distributed through the budget supermarket chain Lidl," Konarski explained.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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