Going once, twice, sold! Gadget auction draws crowds at Gitex

An unusual auction where bidding starts at Dh1 and rarely crosses Dh300 is attracting droves of customers eager to grab home theatre systems, tablets and smart phones at rockbottom prices.

Loy Machedo, covered in sparkling blue glitter paint, leads the bidding of electronic devices at Intex Technologies as enthusiastic shoppers bid for items from Dh1 at Gitex Shoppers 2013. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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DUBAI // An auction where bidding starts at Dh1 and rarely crosses Dh350 is attracting droves of customers eager to grab bargain home theatre systems, tablets and smartphones.

“So tell me, what do you want?” shouted Loy Machedo, auctioneer of gadgets made by technology company Intex Technologies as part of its promotion at Gitex Shopper 2013.

“Do you want a tablet, cell phones or smartphones? This is not some joke so you better bid fast because things will move fast.

“I’m giving away 100 products at throwaway prices. We can start bidding at Dh1.”

Covered in blue glitter paint with a toy snake around his neck, Mr Machedo led several quick auctions of Intex products throughout the day as shoppers shouted and raised arms to bid at the World Trade Centre.

“I’m wearing all this to stand out and be different, and it is working when you see the crowds at the store,” he said.

“It is a great marketing tool because at first customers were not sure if the stocks were genuine, but once they understood that this is legitimate you win their trust.”

Phillip Lamptey, a tourist from Qatar, said he could not stop smiling over the deals he successfully bid for.

Mr Lamptey spent a total of Dh750 on three mobile phones, three smartphones, a tablet and a home theatre system.

“I have just two words – amazing, unbelievable,” he said holding bags filled with gadgets.

“I live and work in Qatar. This is my first visit to Dubai and I was just passing by Gitex and thought I would enter. I had the best fun here.”

Intex sells its products in retail outlets such as LuLu Hypermarket. This is the company’s first promotion at Gitex.

More than 100 devices are auctioned each day, drawing good crowds.

“At first we had to convince customers that we were for real because of the low prices,” said Martin Pereira, the company’s retail head.

“We had to explain that the goods are all under warranty. We can afford these low prices because we are the manufacturers so the costs are absorbed in our advertising budgets.”

The bidding is completed quickly and is rarely allowed to go above Dh350. Auctions are held twice or thrice daily at the Intex stall.

Junaid Ali Khan, a retail manager at a technology company, successfully bid Dh170 for a Dh499 home theatre system and Dh5 for a Dh30 card reader.

“Today was my day off so I came to Gitex and I’m leaving with a home theatre system,” Mr Khan said.

“My friends and I like to party and our system is old so this one will do great. But no one will believe I walked away with all this so cheap.”