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Digital technology poised to reshape Middle East business

United Arab Emirates: Thursday, May 23 - 2013 @ 10:39

Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO of leading regional ecommerce company Souq.com, points to the meteoric growth in digital: “Ecommerce sales in MENA and Africa grew by 45% in 2012 to reach $15bn, and analysts forecast an annual growth over 20% over the next 3 years. That makes MENA one of the fastest growing regions in the world.”

New digital technologies like social media, mobile, and analytics are radically changing the economic landscape. Executives in every industry face a bewildering array of new digital opportunities – and challenges.

“That growth in ecommerce, that’s not new money that’s appeared from somewhere,” said Christidis.

“That’s a $15bn industry that’s growing at the expense of traditional companies who aren’t moving to meet these new market conditions. It’s a compelling wake-up call.”

Setting out to make sense of these changes and their impact on business, the ArabNet Digital Summit, the largest annual digital event, will be held on June 24-26 at the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai. The Summit will bring together over 1000 regional and global industry professionals with over 100 keynote speakers. This massive event will host the Industry Track on its second day, where professionals will explore what fast-moving digital innovations mean for large traditional companies.

Key sessions on the Summit’s agenda include the digital developments in the travel sector.Recent figures estimate an increase of 22% in online bookings in the Middle East reaching $15.6bn in 2014.Travel sector leaders from Expedia, Hilton, Hotels Combined and TravelStart, among others, will discuss the latest opportunities for suppliers and online travel agencies in the MENA travel market.

Further sessions at the Summit will address the digital disruptions to recruitment. Employers and job seekers are increasingly relying on web and mobile; more than half of employers are utilizing the internet for senior talent hiring, and over 70% of job hunters rely on social media to find their next job.

At the Summit, representatives from LinkedIn, Elance,odesk,Bayt.com and other leading business-oriented networking sites will present platforms that focus exclusively on freelancers and discuss the changing nature of work.

The Industry Trackat the Summit will also explore how the real estate sector, one of the largest and strongest in the region, isbeing affected by the rapid changing habits of clients. According to Google and the National Association of Realtors, almost 50% of home buyers in the US use the internet to conduct their first search for homesand almost 70% of real estate buyers use mobile apps to scan the market for a good buy.

The Summit will look at how real estate companies can leverage mobile and social media to attract customers and increase their sales. It will also explore the latest services and applications that cater to homeseekers.

The ArabNet Digital Summit 2013 will delve into cutting-edge trends in mobile, commerce, and social media. It will explore investments in the MENA’s digital sector and exhibit the most comprehensive Digital Showcase of up-and-for coming enterprises.

Also, the event will crown the region’s most talented programmer after a year-long Developer Tournament that coveredfour Arab countries. Most importantly, the Summit’s Industry Track will unveil how web and mobile are shaking up the core of traditional sectors.

The Summit caters to every player in every sector, especially since “Businesses that do not hop onto the digital bandwagon will fail to speak to their clients, lose out on their competition, and eventually, struggle to survive,” according to Christidis.

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Thursday, May 23- 2013 @ 10:39 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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