Dubai, UAE: The Middle East and Africa’s potential as a major growth market for paper, stationery, and office supplies, is catching the attention of European manufacturers, with top brands preparing to establish a larger presence at the industry’s dedicated regional trade fair in Dubai.
Paperworld Middle East has typically proved to be a happy hunting ground for prospective European exhibitors eager to conquer new markets that are otherwise hard to reach.
Since its inaugural edition in 2011, the annual three-day event has consistently welcomed a healthy number of manufacturers and suppliers from the Old Continent, with exhibitors hailing from Russia in the East and the UK in the West, to Italy, Germany, and Spain in between.
That trend follows on in 2019, and when the 9th edition of Paperworld Middle East opens from 18-20 March at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, more than 50 of the 300-plus exhibitors will come from Europe.
Many are regular exhibitors of the dedicated showpiece event, including Portuguese stalwarts such as Navigator Paper, Olmar, Clipoura, and Bi-Silque; Polish companies WZ Eurocopert and 2x3; and Carioca, Morocolor Italia, and Stilolinea from Italy.
Others are debut exhibitors ready to connect with distributors, retailers and department stores, schools, and commercial end-users from throughout the Middle East and Africa (MEA), such as Papkaprint from Russia, Spanish brands Factis and Rocada, and Rapesco from the UK.
Rapesco, one of Europe’s leading office product manufacturers, distributes its products to more than 100 countries. Hani Moussalli, International Account Manager at Rapesco Worldwide, said the company’s first-time participation at Paperworld Middle East coincides with its efforts to expand its global presence in fast-growing markets.
“The MEA is now of a central focus to Rapesco, and quickly growing, offering enormous potential,” said Moussalli. “The wide quality Rapesco product range fits perfectly with the demands and expectations of these markets, which are of huge interest and importance to us.”
Moussalli said Rapesco aims to expand within the MEA region through sales in both its traditional lines and newer product ranges, adding: “sustainability and environmental issues continue to play a growing part in the consumers purchasing decision and that will reflect in our activity and development in these regions.
“Our participation at Paperworld Middle East will centre on our quality contract office product range, retail products, e-commerce offerings and our environmentally friendly ECO line. Presenting these four product categories enables us to showcase a more diverse and exciting variety.”
Moussali’s high expectations for Paperworld Middle East could be based on past experience from more seasoned exhibitors; WZ Eurocopert – one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of sustainable envelopes – has participated at the show for the last six years, and after three years of learning the market, is now reaping the rewards.
Wojciech Zukowski, a Member of the Board, and Sales Director at WZ Eurocopert, said the company is still noticing regional business growth, with larger market trust and much better customer relationships: “Our first three years at Paperworld Middle East was important to understand the way Middle East customers operate and now we know exactly what to do,” said Zukowski.
“Paperworld Middle East 2018 in particular was really good for us, and we developed and strengthened our business there. We want to continue this which is the main reason for returning to the show in 2019. We love the Middle East market, culture and people, and want to continue to be at least a small part of it.”
Zukowski said eco-friendly WZ Eurocopert made two new customers at Paperworld Middle East 2018, with whom the company regularly cooperates with. Afterwards, they also received more business enquiries from not only the Middle East, but also from Africa.
“Our goals for Paperworld Middle East 2019 are not only to develop more business, but also to meet our current customers,” he added. “As always, we’ll showcase our high-quality premium envelopes with variety of sizes, paper and packaging styles. We’ll also focus on our latest FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified air bubble protection envelopes and big peel’n’seal pockets.”
Paperworld Middle East, which has a new ‘More than Paper’ theme for 2019 and beyond, has in recent years stepped up its efforts to offer a more diversified product range, as well as presenting more value-added features to attract a wider regional visitor and trade-buyer base.
In 2019, new highlights include the Corporate Gifts Avenue presenting high-end gifts and promotional items, as well as the Mystery Box – a balloon shaping competition.
That’s in addition to other popular features such as the Playworld Pavilion for children’s toys and games, Leatherworld for finished leather goods and accessories, and the Green Room for environmentally-friendly stationery and office supplies.
This, says Show Director Alexandria Robinson, has attracted the interest of a wider variety of European exhibitors with unique product-offerings: “Cozydots from Poland, for example, is a new exhibitor specialising in tailor-made arrangements of children’s rooms, while Brand Office is a leading Romanian promotional gift and office supplies company providing hundreds of innovative products and solutions,” said Robinson.
“Paperworld Middle East has always enjoyed a robust European presence keen to tap into the fast-evolving MEA market, and the upcoming edition will continue to see a strong push from continental exhibitors. Apart from a dedicated German Pavilion, Paperworld Middle East 2019 will see representation from Austria, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the UK.”
Organised by Messe Frankfurt Middle East, Paperworld Middle East 2019 returns with other popular features including Wrap Star – the UAE’s only gift wrapping competition; and a three-day seminar programme.
The 8th edition attracted 7,179 trade visitors from 90 countries, sourcing the latest stationery, office supplies, paper and school articles, toys, games, arts and craft supplies, and much more.
More information is available at www.paperworldme.com