Dubai, UAE 22 April 2013 - Dubai will host the largest gathering of digital professionals and entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the ArabNet Digital Summit, on 24-26 June 2013. Dubai is a fitting host for the fourth edition of the region’s premier digital forum, as a leading global business hub and the regional headquarters for some of the world’s biggest digital businesses, including the recently opened offices of Facebook, LinkedIn and PayPal.
“The Middle East represents one of the fastest growing digital markets in the world, and this is driving increasing interest from investors, especially in e-commerce,” said Omar Christidis, the CEO of ArabNet. “As the acknowledged showroom of the region’s digital industry, Dubai is the ideal location for the ArabNet Digital Summit.”
The value of investments in MENA’s tech startups was the highest ever in 2012 at USD 124 million, a radical jump from USD 10 million in 2010, according to a report released by Sindibad Business. Several investments have reached the tens of millions of dollars, including recent investments in Kammelna, Namshi.com, Souq.com and Zawya.com, pointing to a sharp increase in interest in the region’s digital sector from international investors.
Regional web and mobile penetration rates continue to rise, driving greater demand for digital products and services; e-commerce is projected to increase 95% in the UAE and 136% in Saudi Arabia by 2015 and digital advertising is forecasted to be the fastest growing media platform in MENA over the coming three years, growing an average of 35% per year.
The ArabNet Digital Summit in Dubai will help business executives, entrepreneurs, marketers and investors tap into the latest trends and opportunities in digital business, covering social, mobile, commerce and media and advertising, both on a regional and global level. The event is expected to bring together over 1,000 entrepreneurs, executives, experts, investors and media representatives to meet and share insights over the three day programme.
The heart of the event will be the Forum, three days of panels, talks and interviews focused on cutting-edge trends in digital business. On the first day, the programme will also feature a full Startup Track, tackling the recent developments in the MENA entrepreneurship ecosystem, with insights and stories from serial entrepreneurs, influential investors and the region’s top startups. The second day will also feature an Industry Track, highlighting digital opportunities in traditional sectors like real estate, education, hospitality, healthcare, retail, and banking. On the third day, concurrent with the Summit program, the long awaited Developer Championship, the grand finale of the ArabNet Developer Tournament, will pit winners of the Beirut, Amman, Riyadh and Dubai rounds against each other and crown the Top Arab Coder. The summit will also feature the Startup Showcase, the largest exhibition of promising startups in the Middle East - participating startups will have the opportunity to give a 5 minute pitch each, where they can present their services and talk about their recent updates and news..
“Driven by the large and fast growing market of young digital natives, regional demand is on the rise for e-commerce, mobile applications and content, social media tools, digital advertising and more. The summit will provide the ideal platform for stakeholders in the digital industry to build the insight and connections they need to grow their business,” said Christidis.
ArabNet is the hub for digital professionals and entrepreneurs to connect and learn. Its activities, aimed at building the web and mobile industry and supporting entrepreneurship in the region, include an annual Digital Summit, widely acknowledged as the largest digital gathering in the MENA; a series of market-focused digital conferences across the region; and its Ideathon and Startup Demo competitions that have a track-record of successfully connecting entrepreneurs and startups with funding and incubation.
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