Arabs display mood for business at roadshow

By : |September 28, 2001 0

Bangalore: The IT sector’s mood was clear at the roadshow arranged by the
department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing of the government of Dubai when
Mindtree Consulting chairman Ashok Soota said, "We are facing a tough
situation and we do not know how the future is going to shape up."

The vice president of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) virtually
admitted that the IT sector is groping in the dark for an answer to the most
commonly heard question: "When do you think IT market will pick up

In his irrepressible style, Soota who was the chief guest of the roadshow
made a classic sales pitch to the seller himself. "There has to be a two
way interaction, " he said, "You should look at Bangalore as a
destination to do business in this country just as we look at Dubai." He
also recalled how over the past few years Dubai has been featuring in his
business trips quite regularly.

Except for Soota’s opening remarks and a pitch from Dubai Internet City, and
the Dubai Media City, there was little mention of technology business. The
roadshow ‘s biggest offering was from the Jebel Ali Free Port and the Dubai
Cargo Village as Dubai is pitching against Amsterdam for cargo handling and
distribution for the Europe and US.

That the Arabs were in mood for business was evident right from the
beginning. Twelve delegates spoke for five minutes each explaining crisply what
they were here for and allowed for a more productive one-to-one interactions for
people who wanted to set up shop in Dubai for over one hour. And there were only
a couple of invitees from the IT industry.

"Baba, listen to me if you are planning to address the Middle-east
market please don’t come to Dubai. Come to Dubai to address other markets like
Europe and US," Walid Mohammed Hareb, Dubai’s Jabel Ali Free Zone
Authority’s Asia-Pac regional manager was heard telling an executive from a
steel rolling unit in Bangalore. Trade and tourism authorities of Dubai, second
largest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were hard selling in a global
recession worried Bangalore.

A full delegation of senior executives from a dozen commerce and trade
agencies were in Bangalore as part of their 4-city Indian roadshow. There was
something specially packaged by almost every agency to woo the Bangalore
business community which had turned up in good numbers surprising the
organizers, especially given the business sentiments. The Emirates, UAE’s
national carrier said they were considering introducing flights to Bangalore.
Dubai Airport Free Zone was there with Hareb impressing upon steel unit
representatives the impact of anti-dumping duty imposed by the US on Indian
steel. Dubai Cargo Village was selling a newly set up facility for storage and
distribution of flowers to Bangalore’s floriculturists. EMAAR, a Dubai real
estate agency was impressing upon Indian businessmen who want to base in Dubai
that they can now own property and use it just as they would with any other
property, sell it, rent it or lease it.

The trade delegation’s last stop is Mumbai after New Delhi, Hyderabad and

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