DUBAI // Thousands of gadget fans crammed into the World Trade Centre yesterday for the opening of Gitex Shopper 2013, the largest consumer IT and electronics show in the Middle East.
The eight-day event features more than 30,000 cutting-edge products at unmatched prices from top-name brands and retailers.
More than 200,000 people are expected to visit Gitex this year.
About 120 exhibitors will have exciting product launches and unbeatable offers in the technology, communication and entertainment sectors.
It was fitness instructor Ken Tejada’s first visit to Gitex. The 36-year-old walked out with a 39-inch Toshiba flat-screen LED television.
“Everyone told me to wait for Gitex if I wanted to buy any electronics, now I know why,” he said.
“The offers we found were incredible, so many freebies with anything you buy, and all the raffles and prizes. It is like a circus in there, not what I expected from an electronics expo.”
The energy of the crowd was contagious as salespeople armed with microphones kept passersby informed about their special offers and prizes.
A percussion display by five women at the LG stand drew crowds to look at their giant TVs, while a radio personality, Kris Fade, held competitions for the new LG G2 smartphone.
Millions of dirhams worth of prizes are on offer at the show, with raffles, scratchcards, gift vouchers and giveaways.
Visitors can get a “Visit and Win” coupon with each ticket for a chance to win Intel-based tablets, and to enter the raffle to win the daily grand prize draw – an Opel Astra GTC every day.
But that was not the only car up for grabs.
Sharaf DG is giving away a 2014 BMW316i with every purchase of an 84-inch, 4K Ultra HD TV from Hisense, while Samsung handed out vouchers with every Dh1,000 spent for a draw to win a fully loaded BMW 640i.
Anyone buying a new BlackBerry had a chance to be Lewis Hamilton for a few minutes. The smartphone provider had customers sit in a Formula One simulator and try for the best lap time around Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit in Hamilton’s Mercedes AMG F1 car.
The best time would get a surprise gift package from BlackBerry.
Hewlett-Packard also felt the need for speed as it was showcasing its latest speedster. The Officejet Pro X printer can churn out 70 pages a minute.
The printer set a Guinness world record of printing 500 sheets in seven minutes and 19.25 seconds – the fastest time by a colour desktop printer.
An iPad Mini was what drew Rony Panicker to Gitex.
“I have been waiting for months just so I can get a good deal on an iPad Mini,” said the 26-year-old software engineer, from India.
“If it is not something urgent, then the best thing to do is wait for Gitex. It is the best time of year for any gadget fanatic in the region. I also want to see the latest technologies and electronics.”
“The prices are the same as any other time of year but what you get here are the extras,” said civil engineer Prasanna Hegde, 26. “I came to check out the smartphones and I ended up buying a laptop and getting all these accessories for free with it.”
Gitex Shopper 2013 will run until Saturday and is open daily from 11am to 11pm.
Tickets cost Dh30 and available from the venue and selected Eppco, Enoc and Zoom outlets close to the show. Entry is free for children under 5.