ABU DHABI // From flat-screen televisions and mobile phones to karaoke and massage machines, there was plenty to tempt visitors on day one of the first Abu Dhabi Electronics Shopper exhibition.
Bargain-hunters flocked to Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (Adnec) yesterday for the beginning of the five-day event.
They were able to look through the goods 35 exhibitors, including names such as Sharaf DG, Emax Electronics, Plug-Ins and Costless Electronics.
One happy customer was Filipino Henry Digo, 36, who bought a Nokia mobile phone.
"I'm pleased I came," Mr Digo said. "It was a very competitive price – cheaper than outside the Shopper.
"I have been looking for the last month on the internet and in different shops."
He said he was also pleased with the free accessories he was given with his purchase.
"I'm glad they have an event like this here," said Mr Digo, a resident of Abu Dhabi.
Another shopper who left smiling was Mary Rose Keshishian, 24, an Abu Dhabi hotel worker from Armenia, who bought a Samsung mobile phone.
"It's what I came for. It was the same price, just like the outside price, but they gave me vouchers and free accessories," Ms Keshishian said.
"It was worth coming. If my friends come I will maybe come again before it ends."
As well as the expected TVs, cameras and mobiles, there were some unusual items on sale.
Businessman John Menezes, 52, from India tried out a massage with a Digital Therapy Machine.
"It felt nice. I'm planning on buying it. I was walking around and I just saw it. I came for a Canon camera," he said. "It is good Abu Dhabi has this. Being the capital, an event like this should be here."
Clifford Benigno was taking a look at the iPad Minis on offer. "The prices are almost the same as outside of the Shopper," the emergency medical technician said.
"The difference is the freebies offered throughout the Shopper. The event is good. Because I live in Mussaffah, it's very easy to come here. Maybe I will come again next year."
Neelesh Bhatnagar, chief executive of Emax Electronics, which had two stands, praised the event and said it would do well.
"It has been organised very well and the participation levels are pretty good," Mr Bhatnagar said.
"An event like this was quite overdue for the market in Abu Dhabi. The market in Abu Dhabi is very, very big."
Antoine Georges, director of Dome Exhibitions, which is organising the event, said there were 35 exhibitors and that he was pleased with the start.
"The exhibitors are so happy with the hype that the show has and some of them have booked for next year and doubled their spaces," he said.
The director was also pleased with visitor numbers. He said there were five busloads waiting to enter before the opening at 11am.
"We were expecting 75,000 visitors over the five days but now that the schools have finished their exams I guess the students will be free to come here," Mr Georges said.
"By looking at the initial start, it looks like a lot of students will be attending, so we might exceed that number."
Mr Georges said the event would at least twice as big next year, in space and number of exhibitors.
"A lot of the big companies, they try to wait and see how it goes the first year before they commit. Once you have a show that has proven itself, they all commit to it," he said.
Also opening at Adnec yesterday, under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, was the 21st International Jewellery and Watch Show.
The event runs from 4pm to 10pm daily until Monday and is running alongside the first Luxury Gift Show, the state news agency Wam reported.
The Jewellery and Watch Show plays host to 175 exhibitors from 19 countries this year, a 35 per cent growth on last year.