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23 Years of Yukatel

Platinum Edition

Speed, reliability and customer satisfaction

Mr. Musleh Muslihiddin Interview

Ruggear

Mission Accomplished

Mr. Evan Vidos, the Electroholic Interview

Direct marketing under the GDPR

The thin line between compliance and infringement


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NOTE FROM THE TEAM OF Z EMPIRE Welcome to the first edition of the PIE Platinum Edition Magazine, the business magazine of the industry which follows the key decision makers of some of the world’s largest companies within the consumer electronics sector. The magazine’s objective is to offer the reader’s up-to-date and relevant information of the industry, offer knowledge and insight on the companies featured in our editions. Allow us to introduce ourselves, we are Z Empire investments Ltd creator of the PIE magazines. Together, we will learn what a magazine should be like, what it should include and what your business needs in order to reach the highest level. Together, we will reshape the industry. The PIE magazines are here to ask the hard questions and get answers for you, we are here to inform you of the industry’s new business trends but also to cross-examine them and help you identify true from false. In this first edition we explore flaming issues such as Europe’s new GDPR rules, the importance of visual marketing and business diversification. You can always count on us to innovate and lead from the front.

www.zempire.solutions


26.

04.

Mr. Musleh Muslihiddin

BM ELECTRONICS FZCO (Al Bait Al Mamoor Electronics Trading LLC) was...

23 Years of Yukatel Speed, reliability and customer satisfaction

Mr. Yusuf Karatas is one of the most famous people of our industry due to...

10.

30.

LIBRIX GROUP s.r.o

LIBRIX GROUP s.r.o is a globally operating wholesaler with its...

SGM Socher Inc.

Based out of the East Coast, SGM Socher Inc. is a wholesale business dealing...

Contents 52.

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW!

Before: Its exhibition time, make sure to pack...

54.

Direct marketing under the GDPR

The thin line between compliance and infringement...

34.

14.

Ruggear

RugGear was established over a decade ago and has been since then...

56.

Mr. Evan Vidos, the Electroholic

Networking the Z Empire way

38.

Key characteristics you look for in a customer or a supplier

Mr. Evan Vidos, commercial director of Electroholic one of the fastest growing...

Fast Track – Tracks Fast.

Mr. Saravanan Natesan, owner of Fast Track PTE Group of companies, has...

Partners In Excellence 2018 - Gallery....

60.

The electronics industry is one of the most fast....

40.

A.Stephanis

Stephanis Chain of Stores is a private family business registered as....

18.

Neopolis General Trading LLC

Neopolis General Trading LLC has been established in the heart of Dubai...

20.

Jupiter ascending

Jupiter is the largest planet of all the planets in our solar system...

42.

Business Diversification: Yes or No?

When

we

discuss diversification in business we mean exploring...

44.

90 Seconds to impress Volume II

It was with great success that the second year of the 90 seconds to...

50.

EVOLUTION=SUCCESS

At first they will ask you why you’re doing it. Later they’ll ask how you did it....

62.

Identifying proactive leadership

Being proactive means creating or controlling...

64.

Starting off on the right foot:

Long term employees are made from the beginning...

68.

Why are videos such an important part of successful marketing?

In general, Video in the marketing process...

72.

Attendee feedback – Thank you everyone, it has been a pleasure!

To cover the needs of the Partners In Excellence...

24.

amir group fzco

Well known and respected companies in the electronics industry such as Fajr Al ...

75.

S Pines Cyp PTE Ltd

Brief intro for S PINES CYP PTE LTD located in Cyprus...


Mr. Musleh Muslihiddin DIRECTOR OF BM ELECTRONICS FZCO IN A HEART TO HEART INTERVIEW. BM ELECTRONICS FZCO ( Al Bait Al Mamoor Electronics Trading LLC) was established in 2008 by a young yet highly experienced founder when it came to the electronics industry. For the past 10 years, the company has been partnering directly with some of the world’s leading brands such as Samsung, LG, HTC, Alcatel as their direct distributor for particular regions and gained their trust through supportive cooperation. BM Electronics FZCO engages in the fields of distribution, wholesale, retail sales, trading and marketing. The company’s name“Al Bait Al Mamoor” was given after the founder and managing director’s name Mr. Mamur, and it means “house of abundance”, which means plentifulness of the good things of life; prosperity, and is exactly what we wish for Mr. MuslehMuslihhidin. Mr. Muslihhidin’s kind nature, unparalleled well manners and extreme professionalism precede him, for the people that had the honor of meeting him he is considered as one of the most promising young men of our industry and we were delighted to have had the chance to get his views and opinions in regards to the consumer electronics industry.

Q1: Mr. Musleh, please tell us more about BM Electronics and the regions you deal with so we can enlighten our readers as to which is the best way for someone to work with you.

reseller of Apple, Xiaomi and other brands for certain CIS region countries. Our strong distributorship has reached Central Asia and many other countries from our Head Quarters in Dubai.

It has been 10 years since the establishment of BM Electronics and for these years we have been certified as the direct distributor of Samsung, LG, HTC, Alcatel, and Huawei as well as the official

Q2: As you mentioned in your 90 –seconds-toimpress speech at the Partners In Excellence 2018 convention, you are also manufacturing mobile phones – please tell us more about your brand and

04 • PLATINUM EDITION


what your goals are for it for the next 5 years and what steps will you follow in order to reach those goals. We came up with the idea of offering technology at an affordable price and hence, offering a unique opportunity to our customers, called MDC. Our plan is to strengthen its brand value in Central Asia within the next two years, and then move on to do the same in South Africa and Latin America. We are transparent when it comes to giving the absolute best to our clients but let us keep the process of achieving these goals a secret. Q3: Do you have businesses in any other industry? Yes, apart from the electronics industry we have business in other fields too. For example, we have a very delightful Arab restaurant and a car repairing garage with high qualified staff in Dubai. Also, in Africa we have establishments which produce cashew crops yearly, and there are a few more similar businesses. Q4: What made you decide to sign a long term marketing contract with Z Empire? Z Empire came up with something new and their ideas are awesome. I personally liked the marketing approach of Z Empire which is at the right time for the right people. Q6: Being also a mobile manufacturer, what do you think is the key to creating a globally leading mobile brand? We have seen a lot of brands come and go over the years and some which used to be the leaders have turned into B or C brands, in your view why did that happen? Before making our own brand we thought it through thoroughly. And yes you are right, many brands failed in the market because of lack of the right approach in the market which they had targeted. Therefore, the key of creating a global leader is studying the market and the end users and offering them affordable, popular technology which they already want to buy. Q7: Would you suggest others to participate in the next Partners In Excellence electronics networking convention? Definitely, yes! Because unlike other exhibitions you would not be wasting your time on less needful meetings, you would be networking, having business meetings and meals with the most important partners. It is also great fun! PLATINUM EDITION • 05


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Q8: What is your opinion about the situation of the consumer electronics industry today in comparison to how it was 5 years ago, as one of the proactive leaders of the industry what are your suggestions in order to move forward? In my mind, every business or industry has a life span. For example, people were doing a lot of business with TVs and it was so big for about 2 years and then they moved on to dealing in tablets. So something similar will happen to the phone business. If you think back 5 years – the market was led by wholesalers whereas nowadays the market is mostly “run” by retailers. Q9: Specify the right market for your product and how do you differentiate your brand from others? MDC is very suitable for the low and middle-end range of the market so CIS, African and Latin American regions will be our main concern at the moment. Q11: Mr. Musleh, you are not only manufacturing a device, you are building a brand and hence, you are building a business. What marketing strategies do you intend to follow in order for your brand to reach the top? We have set up the goals for the next 10 years –unfortunately, in such a competitive market I am unable to disclose any further information on how we will achieve them. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier – our focus will be offering desirable technology at affordable prices. Q12: Did you ever take a “bad” business decision? Did you regret it? Yes, unavoidably it happens sometimes but I don’t regret it because I have learned from my mistakes. Q13: Please name a person from the industry that has inspired you to become a better business man and why. There is one person who always inspires me in business as well as in life – his name is Mamur, my older brother. He is always honest with his customers and partners and takes good care of his team members at all times. In this business it is difficult to always be honest but I have seen him being honest even in very difficult situations. Q15: For the distribution of your brand, what kind of terms do you offer? If there is a company interested in getting the distribution of your brand for

their country, what do they need to know? (for example, rebate, marketing funds, payment terms, service budget etc.) We would be very happy and interested in partnerships that would boost our brand’s growth. We can negotiate and reach mutually beneficial decisions with our potential partners in regards to rebates, price protection, credit,marketing and after sales support. PLATINUM EDITION • 07


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LIBRIX GROUP s.r.o WHOLESALE, SUPPLY FOR E-TAIL AND RETAIL

LIBRIX GROUP s.r.o is a globally operating wholesaler with its headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic. The company’s core business is the distribution of mobile phones and consumer electronics from all leading manufactures. LIBRIX GROUP has also expanded from a B2B company to the areas of B2E and B2G for the needs of the company, offering special conditions for the purchase of IT-goods to all educational institutions, as well as providing a full range of pre- and after-sales activities.

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Q1: Mr. Ilya, what is it like working for you? First of all, there is a real business feeling when working with us: All members of our Team are involved in real business processes and gain the most beneficial experience in that way. It is work connected with an active life style as we offer all of our employees free entrance to a fitness club, once a week we have a bicycle day and we also take part in a Spartan Race or Marathon once a year. It’s fun: Not only are we able to organize business activities, but we also organize free time activities and parties. It’s easy: We don’t have a complicated hierarchy, all decisions are taken promptly. It’s full of opportunity: Or better to say opportunities, to grow and educate oneself. We like to take part in seminars and courses relevant to our industry and business, and we do so. Do you know the joke: one business man goes up to another and says: “You are investing so much money in educating your employees. Aren’t you afraid that they will take advantage of it and go to another company?” And the other one answered: “I’m afraid that they won’t do that and will stay in my company”! And the last but not least it’s the future: LIBRIX GROUP is a future-oriented company with great potential in the market. We are growing every week and are able to offer our present and future employees the possibility of building this future together with us.

Q2: What does the future hold for LIBRIX GROUP and what steps will you follow in order to become the company that would put you out of business? Well, we hope to conquer the world (laughs). We want to maintain our growth and we hope to see all readers of this magazine as our clients and suppliers. In order to meet the highly set goals, we need to improve our business processes, develop our IT infrastructure as well as our logistics facilities. We are continuously looking for new people who want to be a part of our company. In other words, we want to grow but continue to be a fair and reliable company that people can trust.

Q3: What does it take in order to survive in the electronics industry? In order to be a part of the mobile phone business, it’s not enough to know and understand business processes. It’s about having a good network of people who know and trust you. It’s about understanding the market: its past, present and future and of course it’s about having experience in this industry. To have all this, you need to have been a part of our business for many years. Nevertheless, our industry is full of possibilities and has great potential for future work. PLATINUM EDITION • 11


Q4: When did you decide to enter the B2B area of the industry and why? We started the new B2B Shop project half a year ago. In the beginning it was only an additional sales channel for bad stock and new products. As the time passed, we saw huge potential in that area and this direction became our main business activity. We are happy to fulfil orders, to see new registrations and make many more deals with our clients. Q5: What is your opinion about the future of the trading market for the next 5 years? Trading is alive. I hope that over the next few years, the market will give more attention to a company’s structure. Companies who provide not only the best prices, but additional services, who are able to offer physical goods in stock. Q6: What makes your company different from the rest? Why do suppliers and customers choose to work with your company over others? LIBRIX GROUP is a stable company, we offer an individual approach to customers and vendors. Our team tries to find solutions even for smaller orders and we work with all companies regardless if they are small or big. The financial part of cooperation deserves a separate mention. Besides inhouse limits with individual payment conditions, we can offer factoring deals to trustworthy and reliable partners. We try to set up both good business cooperation, as well as being partners and friends with our clients and suppliers. Q7: What are the most important deal making tips you would give to other business owners? Don’t go for the cheap option, go for the best option! In other words, pay attention and work on differentiating your company over others and do not focus only on price. Q8: Tell us more about your business model? How does selling in retail and e-tail benefit your suppliers? As mentioned above, our main business model are B2B sales and wholesale. That really gives benefits to our suppliers. First of all, we can offer structured sales of products, standing orders, fast processing and a constant cashflow. Q9: Being one of the esteemed delegates of the Partners In Excellence 2018 electronics networking convention, would you suggest other companies to attend the next one? It was a great experience for us! Z Empire displayed good organization of the event and was 12 • PLATINUM EDITION

also harmoniously able to combine powerful networking and relaxing time for all participants of the event. So, if you are in the mobile phone business, Partners in Excellence is a MUST for you! Q10: Where do you see LIBRIX GROUP s.r.o in the next 5 years and what steps will you follow in order to reach that goal? We are growing every week; every month and we want to continue in that way =) We would be glad to see many more European companies in our portfolio and assure all our vendors and clients of our excellent services and the best prices. Q11: Would you consider taking official distribution of any brand or do you prefer venturing in the grey market and why? We are on it right now. Without going into details, to become an official distributor is our goal for the near future. We have a well-structured wholesale, B2B, B2E and B2C sales channels which will help us enter a new business level. Q12: What is your business philosophy and what do you expect from your customers and suppliers respectively in terms of values? (ie long-term business relationships, honesty etc.) Our core philosophy is building long-term relationships and a fair and honest approach – that is what we offer and expect from our vendors and clients. Q13: If I were a customer, why would I choose to work with LIBRIX GROUP s.r.o? You and all our present and new customers will benefit from our before and after sales services. We offer tailored made payment conditions, excellent logistics services. And one more reason to choose LIBRIX GROUP is our competitive prices. Q14: Please tell us more about the logistics services you offer. Our clients can expect excellent logistics services: on hold deals, same day shipping, Express delivery across the globe, free standard delivery EU wide and EU transportation with our own transport. Besides that, we offer custom logistic services like order fulfilment, the warehousing of goods in a secure warehouse with 24h online tracking, high-volume transportations, customs services etc. We are open for new cooperation in this area as well. Q15: If you could describe your team’s dynamic and character, which 5 adjectives would you choose to do it? We are Active, Single-minded, Stress-Resilient, Fair and Humorous.


RugGear was established over a decade ago and has been since then a global leader in the design and manufacturing of rugged phones and the partner of choice for leading network operators, enterprises and brands around the world. With roots in China and Germany, they’re proud to call themselves a true ‘East meets West’ company. No matter what your personal or professional needs are, RugGear supports both work and play so you can feel confident with a reliable device all day long. With durable and robust handsets and accessories development, by using the highest-quality materials and designed with the latest technology and innovation, with the rugged credentials to prove. Each device has a fit-for-purpose design while still standing out from the crowd. In-house engineering, manufacturing, sales and distribution makes RugGear an industry powerhouse.

We are proud to have an interview from the CEO of RugGear himself, Mr. Oliver Schulte. With an outstanding business background, Mr. Schulte has delivered results that are more than impressive with regard to both the growth rates and the individual management goals of the company.

Ruggear

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

14 • PLATINUM EDITION


Q1: Mr. Schulte, what key traits would you say you have gained during working as Chief Strategy & Business Development Officer for Nokia’s successor HMD Global, CEO Mobile and COO of the Bullitt Group, that have helped you take RugGear a step further? I have worked in the mobile industry for 20 years. My roles at Bullitt was to scale up the business from family and friends to an international license player in the mobile industry. The mobile market is getting highly commoditized; one of the key learnings for me is to try to look at the market from different angles. For me the key is the end user proposition. When you shift your view from a horizontal to a more vertical view you can see that there is demand in key verticals. Rugged is one of these. This is not a one fits all approach and I would never say that this is a product for everyone, but it is a business opportunity for some. I want to invite partners to come with me on that journey. There are not a lot of segments in our industry which are growing by 20% year over year.

products need to be sold and the market space has to be looked after. I believe this can be a very rewarding partnership. We are a margin enhancing partner.

Q2: What in your opinion is the key characteristic that differentiates RugGear products from other similar ones? In a niche market I believe one of the core values is the control of the product chain; we are a full service house from engineering to manufacturing. A lot of our competitors are sourcing products from a multitude of factories and rebatching those and therefore are not in control of quality. We own the product and are also able to cater for differentiation (i.e. SKU’s without cameras, customs firmware etc.)

Q7: Where do you see RugGear 10 years from now and what steps will you follow in order to achieve your goals? The vision is to be the home of rugged; to be the partner of choice. We can build an incredible story. The mobile ecosystem is expanding rapidly and we will also offer services where hardware will be an enabler. The great side of the story is this can only work with partners who will benefit from additional service activations. Rugged has the opportunity to get more mainstream with the amounts of broken screens; on the other side of the spectrum we see a lot of mobilization on the industry 4.0 iniative. The Internet of things will play an important part; spinning the clock 10 years ahead means that the need of phones in the way we are using them today will also have significantly changed and user behavior will have driven different forms of adoptions.

Q3: In which countries is RugGear being distributed and which country would you say absorbs the largest quantities? We are in expansion mode; we are strong on the enterprise side of things and are now going into consumer. I am actively looking for new partners; please feel free to reach out. Germany is one of our strongholds. Q4: Do you have distributing partners across Europe? Yes we do, but we are in expansion mode and are looking to build on partnership. I believe this is a long-term journey for both parties. Q5: What qualifications do you expect from a potential distributer of your brand in order to go ahead with the partnership? I am looking for an entrepreneurial partner; our

Q6: For the distribution of your brand, what kind of terms do you offer? If there is a company interested in getting the distribution of your brand for their country, what do they need to know? We are expanding our reach and understand the need to support our local partners. I am a firm believer that this is done step by step and also hand in hand. We have aftersales in place and from a marketing point of view we are stepping up the game. There is work to be done, but I think we are for sure a partner who can listen to needs and cater to them. Our business model is channel driven and we want to mutually build with our partners for the long-term future. As I mentioned earlier rugged is a growing category. The market is expected to grow 20% year over year for the next few years.

Q8: Which is your target market? Do you have plans in broadening your market? We are coming from the B2B side of things; we also have a culture to cater for the market as we started as an ODM and have worked for most of the brands you will come across in the rugged market. I believe we have the strengths to take us into the next stage. I was a founding member of HTC in EMEA and have scaled up the Cat business. I feel that we have the same kind of growth appetite. We are building a sustainable partner business; we want to work together to bring the brand into the PLATINUM EDITION • 15


wider market. Our phones have saved lives from East to West. I want to invite partners to go on the journey with us to be the category leader and enjoy the ride. Q9: Do you use a RugGear phone in your daily life? Which is your favorite characteristic of it? Sure, I am a beta tester for any of our new devices. My son loves the strap on our rugged tablet :) I prefer the new design language on our RG850 -> Sophisticated but rugged. Q10: We were intrigued by the creation of the Lone Worker Application powered by VDQ Business Solutions and RugGear Europe, please tell us more about the idea and the reaction from the consumers. We are working with solutions partner to enhance user experience and in this instance cater for the emergency situation. System integrators are playing an important role to help expanding the reach. We also are inviting value added resellers to establish recurring revenue streams. Q11: What kind of tests do the RugGear products undergo in order to ensure their durability in harsh conditions? I can invite you to visit us in our labs in Germany or Asia to see how we test our devices. We run through MilSpec and Ip test and push the boundaries even further to ensure the devices are built for a purpose. You can find our devices used today anywhere from a worker on an oil rig to a mountain rescue force. Q12: Why do you attend exhibitions? I think exhibitions are there to start partnerships and make the brand known. In the past we have done a lot of good work, now we also talk about it. It’s amazing to see what we can do if you challenge us. I am a firm believer that seeing is believing. 16 • PLATINUM EDITION


Q13: Which are your 3 top seller products and why do you think that is? As I mentioned before we have quite the portfolio starting at 49EUR RRP and stretching to 1k+. Each of the products have a specific user in mind and I can say that we are doing very well on the PTT side of things. We have expanded the portfolio and the tablet has an ever increasing fan base. I am quite sure that with the launch of the RG850 we have a winner on hand and there are more exciting products to come.

Q14: Based on your participation in the Partners In Excellence 2018 in Athens, would you suggest to other companies to participate in the next one and why? As I said earlier seeing is believing; this is for sure one thing to do as the participant base is stretching around the world and covering different aspects of the market from manufacturers over trading to distribution and VAR’s. Our industry is based on relationships and this is an excellent event to take these further. The team did a great job organizing it!

PLATINUM EDITION • 17


Neopolis General Trading LLC MR. REDA ABD EL AZIZ IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Neopolis General Trading LLC has been established in the heart of Dubai Mobile Market as a brand-new company, and has as a goal to become one of the most respectable names in Mobile Distribution all over GCC and MENA Region reaching to Europe, US and Asia. Governed by experienced professionals, Neopolis General Trading LLC moves ahead and strives for its position amongst the leaders of the mobile distribution industry. Mr. Reda Abd El Aziz, owner of Neopolis General Trading LLC and a well-known member of the mobile industry and one of the Partners In Excellence 2018 esteemed sponsors in an unmissable interview.

Q1: Mr. Reda, on your website you have written the below: “Customer is the King and we believe in treating our customers with respect and faith. We grow through creativity, invention and innovation. We integrate honesty, integrity and business ethics into all aspects of our business functioning.” what motivates you to be one of the leaders following these values? What motivates me is my belief that to have a comfortable business environment is the key ingredient and we must always treat each other as human as possible. Q2: As per our understanding, you are also the managing director of another established mobile distribution company in our industry, how do you manage your time between leading two companies? We have 24 hours in a day and the only thing we have to do to is to invest every minute of it so we can cover our needs and achieve our goals. Hence, that means to have your daily expenses covered and at the same time build our future image. 18 • PLATINUM EDITION

Q3: Where do you see Neopolis General Trading LLC reaching in the next 5 years and what actions are you taking in order to achieve that goal? Being proactive, we keep building a lot of business partnerships so we can avoid fluctuation of a single market.Our goal for Neopolis General Trading in the next 5 years is to secure its firm position among the top 10 companies in our industry. Q4: At which stage of your life did you decide to join the electronics industry and why? Let’s call it technology, we are using technology every single minute of every single day up to the point that without your mobile you are considered missing! In 2004, I joined a group of companies in the field of mobile phone


distribution and that triggered my decision to be in that interesting field for the next stage of my life. Q5: Are you involved in any other businesses? Yes, I believe in diversity when it comes to business, I am also the owner of an auditing office in Egypt. Q6: Given the fluctuation of the US Dollar, what are your views in regards to the future of the consumer electronics industry? Regardless of the industry, exchange rate is one of the most important factors that influences sales and purchases. So based on the exchange rate people can purchase the stock they need at the best price around the world through e-commerce which we are providing as well. In my opinion, the future of the industry will have the manufacturers taking advantage of the whole situation that will in turn give them control over margins we will be making and hence they will have the majority of the market shares. The only thing we can do is collaborate with each other and their monopoly. Q7: Which mobile brands do you mostly deal in? Are there any other products that you deal in besides mobile phones? Neopolis General Trading LLC only deals in Major brands such as Apple , Huawei and Samsung, we only trade brand new goods. Q8: Given your experience in the electronics industry and your participation in numerous exhibitions and events, what made you turn from a 2017 delegate to a 2018 sponsor of the Partners In Excellence convention? My decision was based on the fact that the convention is good for both myself and my company, in terms of expanding but also the fact that the PIE event gives us the opportunity to network with well-known and trustable people. Every dollar paid for the sponsorship of this convention was worth it. Q9: Please share with us something that we wouldn’t know about you by simply looking at your business history. I used to be the CFO of a large group of companies in Dubai from 2008 to 2016 and also the Managing Director of another group. In all the key management positions I was holding, my goal was to evolve the company and bring it to a stage that it becomes one of the most respected names in the industry.

Q10: Please tell us 3 characteristics you look for in a new customer and new supplier so we can provide insight to our readers as to which is the best way to approach the leader of Neopolis General Trading and establish a stable business cooperation. What I look for in my customers is the same with what I look for in my suppliers, honesty , integrity and the philosophy of keeping long-term business relations. Q11: How do you handle your relations with your customers and suppliers respectively? Because we are always looking for long term relations, we always try to be understanding and where possible helpful to our customers and suppliers.Even if that means to making deals with little or no margin just to keep the relation going but also in several cases we shifted our rebate rewards to our customers to allow them to make some money instead of using it for our company. Q12: Would you suggest to other companies to become one of the Partners In Excellence? Yes, I would suggest to many such as: Microtel, Axiom, Naam Electronics and Ugi. I feel a part of this event as I was there the 1st and 2nd year and many companies say its “our event” and like Z Empire says its “our Partners In Excellence” so its mine as well. PLATINUM EDITION • 19


We proudly say that Mr. Adnan was one of our esteemed sponsors in the Partners In Excellence 2018 electronics networking convention which gave us the opportunity to get his views and answers presented in his interview.

Jupiter ascending Jupiter is the largest planet of all the planets in our solar system – similarly, Mr. Adnan, chairman of Jupiter GSM, is considered to have a major impact in the industry! Jupiter GSM was established in 2015 in Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA), on a thriving legacy consisted of 22 years of experience in wholesale trading and distribution of consumer electronics. As a matter of fact, the founder, Mr. Adnan Celik is considered to be one of the pioneers of this business model and today, he still continues to inspire young generations. Jupiter GSM is mainly active in international Trading and Distribution of Consumer Electronics, Real Estate and Angel Investment & Acceleration of startups. The company has a strong global presence with its offices worldwide in critical locations with high numbers of business transactions. Currently, Jupiter GSM is present in Dubai, Vienna, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Belgrade.

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1.Mr. Adnan, without a doubt you are one of the pioneers of our industry, you have seen a lot of ups and downs through the years, which period do you think was the best in terms of profitability? I started in this sector 1994, which was our most profitable period, when mobile phones entered Turkey for the first time. Our profitability continued to be high until 2016. 2. Which are the worst and best purchases you ever made? With 24 years of business life, we made purchases and sales totalling over 20 billion US dollars. I cannot name the best and the worst purchase, all i can say is that every stock I received in good condition and on time was a good purchase for me. 3. What made you move on from Rixos to Jupiter GSM? Are you on the way of creating another empire? Rixos has a very important place in my life, like that of a first child. I started with my brother and built it to what it is today. The time had come. I have established my own company, Jupiter, and gave Rixos to my brothers in 2016. Up until 2016 the most important company in the market was Rixos but now Jupiter is at least as strong as Rixos. 4. Having been the owner and chairman of our industry’s biggest companies you have employed a lot of people over the years, what are you looking for in an employee in order for them to work for you for a long time. First of all, I want to thank those who work with me. I didnt hire somebody with experience or based on their experience, I always prefered bringing in the team young and honest people so that i could teach them. I am proud to say that 90% of the team members have been working with me for a long time. In short, honesty and hard work are only important for me.


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5. We know that you had a humble start and that you built an empire from scratch, what advice would you give to the owner of a start-up company in order for him to achieve what you have achieved? It's as hard as it is beautiful. Their first priority should be persistency and following up with the business, afterwards, travel as much as possible so you meet the people you work with, it is important to meet them face to face. 6. If you never entered the electronics industry, which industry would you have followed? I think i would pursue either tourism or the sector of construction/property. 7. What are your predictions for the Dubai market in the next few years? The Dubai market is getting harder and harder with the tax system, while increasing the number of creditable customers. Trusting companies is also more difficult. I hope that it will be better in the future. 8. Where do you see Xiaomi going in the next few years? Xiaomi products have excellent quality, I like the brand. But there are a lot of problems in regards to their sales policy.I hope to see them working more professionally in the near future. 9. Which two companies outside your own do you know the most people at and why? I know over 2000 companies accross world, it is very hard to distinguish between them. I made a lot of good friends. 10. You have participated and attended many events of the industry over the years, which do you think was the most beneficial for you? I have joined many events and fairs over the years. My biggest disappointment was Cebit Australia as Cebit was very useful the first year I started trading. And the last one I attended was the Partners in Excellence. 11. You have mentioned that you met new people at the Partners In Excellence 2017 and made deals, is this the reason you became one of the esteemed sponsors this time? If you do not gain something from an event or fair, you will not participate again. Partners in Excellence In 2017 had very good,quality companies. I became a sponsor just by thinking that it would be even better in Athens. 22 • PLATINUM EDITION


12. Name 5 top friends you have in this industry, with their company name if possible. What is the key trait that a person must have in order for you to like them? There are a lot of people whom I met through the business. It's hard for me to separate. I am very grateful to all of them up until today and I thank them. Honesty is enough for me to be a good partner. 13. What do you consider your greatest achievement? I am able to say that I have established two big companies,Rixos and Jupiter and brought them to what they are today. 14. Which factors play a key role in you deciding to work with a new supplier or a new customer? It does not matter if it is a large company or a small company, it is enough for them to keep their words. 15. Do you follow a morning routine? I wake up every morning at 7 am and get updated on the Asian market. I walk 7-10 kms every morning and swim for about 30 minutes-1hour. This way i keep fit and I start the day with energy.

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Well known and respected companies in the electronics industry such as Fajr Al Mustaqbal the official distributor of Samsung, Huawei, Lg and Meizu in the CIS region. Region, Radius Electronics, one of the largest chain of stores in Uzbekistan, FM Magnit located in the heart of Dubai, Deira which is a wholesale shop accommodating smaller Russian wholesale companies that can purchase their goods from there. All of them fall under the mother company – Amir Group FZCO. Amir Group FZCO’s CEO Mr. Bekzod Akmalkhonov is one of the youngest CEOs of our industry and is always prompt to prove that professionalism is not counted by the years on a person’s back – but by their willingness to succeed.

Mr. Bekzod, how does it feel being the youngest most successful member of the electronics industry? It is actually a great feeling, it motivates me even more, and I always tell myself that when i turn 40 years old i have to be 10 times better than our current industry leaders. Did you ever feel that the senior members of the industry did not take you seriously due to your young age? It actually happened a lot of times but they all changed their mind after closing the first deal with me. Similarly, people that did business with me without meeting me in person first, did not believe that it was me when they actually met me! 24 • PLATINUM EDITION


What goals do you want to achieve in the years to come as the holder of a key position in your company? My goal is to build the strongest company in the CIS region. If you never entered the electronics industry, which career would you like to pursue? Where else would I be? My father and uncle worked in this industry and I tend to learn from successful people. Describe a day in your life from morning to night. Starting the day I have breakfast at home with my parents and then play with my son for some time.In case I don’t have any morning meetings I visit our warehouse in the free zone in order to check inventory prices, talk to the sales and logistics team and control the shipments. Once done, i make my way to the local Dubai market where a similar routine check-up takes place. Luckily, we have visitors from our country daily so I get to meet them as well. After that, it’s time to talk with our Uzbekistan office, to make sure that their inventory is sufficient and to discuss further steps. In the night we usually have guests visiting Dubai, that leads us to a nice dinner at a restaurant. As the night is still young I then get to hang out with friends before heading back home and call it a day! Who inspired you the most in this industry and why? Mr. Adnan Celik,who along with his brother built Rixos and brought it to what it is today. He did not stop there, after he built for his son and himself the company Jupiter GSM, which shows that nothing is impossible! Another person who inspired me is Mr. Lukasz Smyk, owner of Parktel who is hardworking and successful. Unfortunately,a lot of people think that trading mobiles is easy, but it’s because they don’t know how large this industry is or how competitive. Being a member of the “new generation” what do you think the electronics industry needs to change and what are your thoughts for its future? I believe that the future of the industry will be good, we for sure do not stop evolving as we have already started manufacturing our own TV brand in Uzbekistan and we soon plan to start manufacturing mobiles phones as well. My future goal is to make our brands the top ones.

Describe yourself in 3 words. I am honest and I am trying to be a successful leader as well as a real man. How many hours do you work in a day and how many of them are you in the office? During the day I work for about 10-12 hours, out of which 6-8 hours I am in office. In our industry you cannot afford to work less. What was your favourite part about Partners In Excellence 2017 and what would you like to see in this year’s event? My favourite part was the 90-seconds-to impress session where all delegates could be part of. For the 2018 event I would like to see Z Empire taking these sessions to an even higher level. Name 5 top friends you have in this industry, with their company name if possible. What is the key trait that a person must have in order for you to like them? 1. Lukasz Smyk, owner of Parktel, very honest guy and a gentleman. 2. Musleh Muslihiddin, Director of BM Electronics, good competitor and a very good person. 3. Baran Celikwho is a very close friend also son of Mr.Adnan Celik, our teacher. 4. Sam Nasr, Manager of Z Empire, best gentleman whose smart ideas I always like. 5. Delil Celik, Rixos Mobile Phones,a very close friend but also something like my big brother. What valuable lesson did you learn in the past year regarding your business? I have learned that I should build relationships with only good people and that I should work even harder and never get tired of doing so. Would you encourage other young individuals to pursue a career in the electronics industry? If yes why, if no why? This industry is not for everyone so it depends on what each person wants. Which is your favourite cuisine? And which country do you enjoy living in the most? Turkish is my favourite cuisine. I really enjoy Dubai during winter, as for summer it’s either my home country Uzbekistan or London and Monaco. Which company do you feel gave you the best marketing? Z Empire Investments Ltd, innovative ideas and always thinking out of the box. PLATINUM EDITION • 25


23 Years of Yukatel Speed, reliability and customer satisfaction Mr. Yusuf Karatas is one of the most famous people of our industry due to his empire – Yukatel GmbH but also due to his character. Mr. Karatas is a firm believer that hard work, consistency and will power are key ingredients to one’s success.

26 • PLATINUM EDITION


1. You built up your company in 1995 and brought it to what it is today, what advice would you give a young entrepreneur in order for them to be as successful as you? A common prejudice is that to be successful you have to have money and power. That Is wrong! Anyone can succeed. Henry Ford once said that “to have success you need skills that are in demand at the moment”, he had such skills. The flair for innovation, a strategy for implementation and luck in making decisions. It is important to have a clear vision and to have the goal in mind and always be ambitious and the courage to tackle. Then the necessary luck will help you make the right decisions to complete this path. 2. Try to compare your workload from when you started up until now, with so many employees. Do you feel you worked harder back then or now, and why? We live in an epoch of superlatives. Superlative in terms of scientific developments. We speak of technology at the highest level. Our industry must reinvent again and again to continue the success. Only through clear and structured thoughts, we can achieve the challenges of our time. 3. Do you know the names of all your employees and are you having any part in their hiring? As unlikely as this may sound, by taking a look at my appointment calendar, always a maxim and a heart's desire. We all know the quote “Pay attention to your gut feeling. No matter how good it looks, if it does not feel good, be on your way”, I rely on my gut feeling as well and this is one of my motto. My gut has not let me down so far, that is why our employees have been on board for an average of 10 years. 4. Undoubtedly, your experience in the electronics market covers many different views, retailers’ point of view, distributor’s, wholesalers and manufacturers. What is your view on the current market situation and what are your predictions for the future? Forecasts can be hard to come by in such a volatile business. It will be however, as challenging and exciting as every year. Maintaining our product range as well as the intensification in the existing customer business will certainly help us to continue strong in the future as well. There will be a new generation of smartphones that will oblige us to rethink our business. What exact features this will be, remain to be seen. 5. Which mobile brand do you think will survive this period and be the strongest in its category? I think the big players will lose a few feathers, but they will stay in the market. 6. What is your opinion about Xiaomi? We have seen similar Asian brands have a dramatic increase of sales and an even more dramatic fall. Do you think Xiaomi will be different? I think Xiaomi will not expect the same fate but it will be for them as challenging as for all other manufacturers on the market. Let us surprise PLATINUM EDITION • 27


7. What key features a mobile phone should have in order to succeed? Do you think there is any more room for innovation? There are many innovations in a mobile device, as this product must be tailored to the needs of the end user. Nowadays, the mobile phones need to be innovative and sophisticated. Whether it is related to sound, comfort, simulation, photography, energy, design or presentation matters, it all depends on what we all want “packed” in a mobile device. 8. Which was your biggest business accomplishment and which your biggest business mistake that you would advise others not to do? There are usually several components that make up a large, entrepreneurial performance. In our industry, reliability, fairness, right values and quality of service are important success factors, thatYukatel has achieved over the past 10 years among others to be what it is today. A successful partner for our customer! And we want to stay that way. My recommendation to all, remain true to you and your customers! 9. Being as successful as you are, you must be very selective with the people you “deal” with. Which do you think is the best way for a young company to approach you in order to earn your respect? Openness and honesty, the rest is self-evident. 10. Having been in this industry for so long you have seen a lot of companies come and go through the years, if you can,name 5 company owners you have come to be close with. I will take care not to judge other companies. Every company has achieved its own success. The important thing in the end is what kind of picture do we leave and this carries the success over the years. 11. What are the key factors that make your customers select you over your competitors? I have already listed a few ....reliability, fairness, right values, safety and a wide range of products. 12. Which regions are you currently focusing on in business given the current market situation? We want to continue to stay strong where we have been successful. Regionally we are always open for every new way. 13. We have seen you turn from a delegate of the Partners In Excellence electronics networking convention into a sponsor, why is that? We have always believed that this industry should be better “networked”and such events contribute to it. 28 • PLATINUM EDITION


14. Being the Managing Director of such a big company must be very stressful at times, what do you do in order to get away? Do you have any hobbies? The nice thing about my work is that it's my hobby too. I do not need a break. The timeout that I take is part of my success because it is used entrepreneurially. Nevertheless, I love to spend time with my family. They are my strength and my belief. 15. Tell us something about your character that we wouldn’t know by just looking at your business career? My character is explained quickly. I am characterized by loyalty, integrity and honesty. These virtues best describe me. 16. If you never entered the electronics industry, which industry do you think you would have followed and why? Mathematics has always fascinated me. Who knows, maybe mathematician?! 17. Which part of the Partners In Excellence event’s philosophy do you like the most and why? I do not want to restrict anything. I have always been passionate about such wellorganized events and accordingly I act as a partner like that. In such a global industry as ours, it is important to show the flag and to cultivate even more intensively the already existing and very good business partnerships. 18. What are your future plans for Yukatel? Where do you see your company in the next 5 years? We will continue to follow our business goals in the next 5 years and try to place ourselves in an even strongerposition with our customers. 19. As we all know, you are also a manufacturer, by reading your website anyone can understand that you also strive for innovation. Tell us more about the brand RouteControl and M2M Allnet, how come you pursued this sector? Short and quick…the market leadership. 20. If you were not living in Germany, in which country would you choose to reside in and why? In turkey! The why explains itself. PLATINUM EDITION • 29


Now you know

SGM Socher Inc. Based out of the East Coast, SGM Socher Inc. is a wholesale business dealing in the distribution of new Phones, Tablets, Computers, Cameras and other Electronic devices. SGM offers the highest quality products at extremely competitive pricing, and as a result they are a successfully active supplier to a large number of companies. SGM prioritizes the satisfaction of its customers at every step in every transaction and strives to put the customer first. Successfully shipping to 40 countries as they cooperate with 15 shipping carriers, carrying over 50 brands at all times and years of experience in the industry, SGM focuses on loyalty and outstanding customer service. During the Partners In Excellence 2017, Yosef was one of the esteemed speakers at the “90seconds-to-impress” sessions, and according to multiple sources in attendance, he was one of the best speakers as well.

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Here, we present Mr. Yosef Greenwald, CEO and Owner of SGM Socher Inc. in an informative interview exclusively for you.


Q1: Mr. Greenwald, prior to founding SGM, did you own any other business or have you worked in other electronics related companies? If so, for how long and if not, what made you decide to join this industry? In 2011, with the launch of the "New" iPhone 4S, I knew this would be a very hot commodity, and that it would be difficult to obtain overseas. So I Literally hustled to get my hands on as many of these new phones as I could. I went online and scoured the internet for international buyers of Apple products, and by the grace of God, the rest is history. The customers came back to me, ultimately with some other items they were looking to purchase, and it grew from there. I learned about Trade shows, where I was able to make some more acquaintances, and we have been at it ever since. Q2: You have a wide portfolio of brands and products you deal with from Electronics to Health and Beauty. Which would you say is your strongest point? Our strongest category is Consumer Electronics, dealing primarily with brands like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Dell, HP, Bose, Nikon, Canon, Sony, and many more. Q2b: What drove you to have such a diversified portfolio of goods? We make it a priority to put the needs of the customers first. As such, we make it our business to supply any and all items that our customers request of us.

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L E AD E RS I N W HO L E SAL E D I ST RI B UT I O N www. sgmsocher. com

40

15

50+

6+

countries we ship to

shipping carriers

brands we carry

years of experience


Q3: Having a base in America sometimes makes it difficult to work with international companies due to the time difference. How do you manage to stay in touch? I personally am awake at 4am every day, on the phone with international customers. Additionally, our Sales force understands that at any point in the day, somewhere in the world, there is a customer ready to do business, and, having customers in almost every time zone, there is always an opportunity for a sale. Q4: What specifications do the products you mainly carry have? For example USA, EU Our strong point is USA Spec. Q5: What other important information do potential suppliers and customers need to know about SGM in order to establish a good business relationship from the start? It is important to know that we at SGM are NOT brokers. We only offer physical stock, which is important because our customers can shop confidently, knowing with certainty that we are good for whatever merchandise we offer. Q6: What affect did the US Dollar drop have on your business? It affected us a great deal, but it also forced us to diversify our portfolio even more.

Q7: What steps do you intend to follow in order to take your company to an even more successful level? We are constantly hiring new staff, reaching out to new potential customers, and evolving into new categories. No rest for the weary ;) Q8: Are you the official distributor of any brand? If not, do you intend to become the official distributor of a specific brand? We have lots of great and longstanding relationships with many Large Global Brands. Q9: Did you ever come across a deal gone bad? How did your company absorb this? Anyone in this industry who says they never came across a bad deal, is not being truthful to themselves. These things happen! My philosophy is never to cry about something that does not cry about you, learn from your mistakes, and take mishaps as an opportunity for future growth. Q10: Do you primarily export from or import to the USA? Which products do you mainly import and which do you mainly export? It honestly varies. I could not tell you it is one or the other as we do a lot of both.

know you Now

Q11: What are the 3 key characteristics you look for in a customer and supplier respectively, in terms of preferring to work with them over others? We believe that this business is a two way street. For example, anything that a customer would look for in us, we look for in a customer. Honest, true to his/her word, and respectable in the industry. Q12: Did you see a decline or rise in the amount of deals on tablets from 2017 to 2018? Why do you think that is? I don’t have Data for the Global rise or decline of Tablet sales, but I can say that the sales of Tablets at SGM has definitely been on the Rise. Q13: What advice can you impart to a young, hungry, and energetic individual looking to make their own mark on the Global Wholesale Electronics industry? I would advise them to be honest, work hard, look at every sale like it is the biggest sale of your career, and always be kind. Kindness is contagious.

PLATINUM EDITION • 33


Mr. Evan Vidos, the Electroholic

Electroholic ( ɪˈlɛktrəʊˈhɒlɪk ) noun informal = a person who is addicted to or very fond of electronic devices. "Nine out of ten electroholics are buying from Electroholic.gr”

Mr. Evan Vidos, commercial director of Electroholic one of the fastest growing online retailers in Greece but also one of the esteemed sponsors of the Partners In Excellence conventions in both 2017 and 2018, gives us insight on the Greek market and the company’s future goals.

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Being one of the fastest growing e-retailer, what are the key values your method is based upon? We always have in mind that if we don’t adjust to the fast-changing environment wewill soon be out of the game. In order to be a successful company you have to follow 4rules: 1. Change before the change comes 2. Know your market needs 3. Hire people who you can easily educate 4. Love what you do otherwise don’t even try it You have signed a long-term marketing contract with Z Empire, how was your experience from last year until today? I truly appreciate and respect Z empire’s effort to bring people of electronics industry together. It’s an amazing experience as it is really important to see the faces of people you deal with and to know more about them. Don’t forget that first of all we are people and we have multiple roles in our life. At the end of the day, It’s not everything about business. I am a man, I am a brother, am a husband, I love sunny days and hanging out with friends I hate broccoli…I am a businessman. Describe one of the most interesting business day you have had and why it was interesting. It’s not only one day. We call them ‘family days’ when we gather all together at the roof of our office and we have BBQ! It’s an opportunity to make strong relationship bonds and gain the respect of people who work with. Where do you see Electroholic in the next 5 years and what steps will you follow in order to reach your goal? My goal is not only to run the e-shop but establish retail shops all over the country.

In order to accomplishthis, we have to: 1. Be dedicated and focused on the goal 2. Constantly educate our people 3. Monitor the market 4. Change when needed 5. Administrate well and lead to success 6. Overcome any kind of difficulties and never give up What should someone know about the Greek market in regards to the consumer electronics industry? No one can deny that Greece has a small market. No one can deny that we leave in a ‘tech world’, either. Think about the number of electric devices you use every day. Its chaotic, isn’t it? Now think that we buy and sell all of them. Being a Greek tell us more about how you build business relations, does the Greek philoxenia apply in all cases? (apart from Lunch in greek tavern) Greek people strongly believe in inner instinct. We have the charisma to evaluate the delegate or the people we talk to. Furthermore, it’s a fact that our philoxenia is one of our competitive advantages except from the good weather and handsome men! Who can say no to a big smile and a warm heart? Electroholic has been a loyal sponsor in both the 2017 and 2018 Partners In Excellence convention, what are the reasons behind your decision? As I said before, I believe in Z empire’s effort to bring together colleagues from all over the world. I believe in human relationships and Z empire makes the proper ground in order to help them flourish. Describe your ideal way of closing a deal with a new customer so our delegates can get an insight as to how they should approach you. I highly appreciate when someone shows me his real self and doesn’t try to mischief me. If someone is not honest with me the ‘closing’ will never come. Anyone can approach me as long as he is honest, he is straight to the point, he knows what he wants and how we could collaborate. I love people who come to me with a solutionand not only a problem.

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Do you venture in other industries as well? if yes which, if not, which industry would you like to follow? For the time being we do not venture in other industries because the number of products we deal with is humongous. Just have in mind that we are a company with 1.000 suppliers, 10.000 products and 100.000 customers. What is your ideal way of networking? I love networking via events or business gatherings because I need to see face to face the person I am going to deal with. Its really important for me as in this way its more possible to trust each other and build a strong business relationship. How many deals and new partners have you made during PIE 2018? 300+ new trustful partners and countless deals. Its likely to make 0 up to 10 deals in one single day. How did the economic crisis of 2012 affect you and how did you overcome it? I would be a liar if I told you that it didn’t affect us. Sure, the sales are not as high as they used to be. People used to buy on impulse and in big quantities before the economic crisis.Now they are more careful and they think twice before they buy, especially when it comes to expensive goods such as white appliances. I don’t consider this as an obstacle but I see it as a great opportunity to figure out the market needs and target more specifically. Here comes the so called ‘personalized marketing’ that made my life so much easier. I work with experts who have a deep insight of the market and that helps me sleep tight at nights! Due to the capital controls (in outward payments that were taking up to 14 days of processing) in Greece and the fastpaced nature of the electronics industry, how did you manage to stay afloat? Due to the capital controls many suppliers who haven’t worked with us don’t trust as easily. This is a big problem for every businessman in Greece. We try to take advantage of our philoxenia and good manners in order to make them trust us. We show them our numbers, we talk many hours and that’s the way it usually works! 36 • PLATINUM EDITION

What differentiates you from your competitors in the local market? What makes your customers loyal to you? With a lot of effort and a daily-basis monitoring of the market as well as the competition, we manage to provide our customers branded products atthe lowest prices. We let our products speak for themselves. What is your opinion regarding the future of the consumer electronics industry given the turbulence of the industry these last two years? I am an optimist and I advise you to be that kind of person too. People are obsessed with technology and everything new as well asinnovative. I am not afraid of neither the crisis nor the turbulence of the industry. Have in mind that for a specific kind of product there is always going to be a specific buyer. Keep your eyes wide open and don’t hold back on adjustments.


Rainbow International is a romanian distributor who’s main deals are high-volume, high-speed, troublefree transactions in the video game hardware business, IT, GSM and other broadline products. The focus of the company is on volume deals and export to various continents. Whether we buy or sell we have speed, precision and safety of the merchandise in mind. We look forward to get in contact with you and your challenges! Please feel free to contact us for any of your business requirements.

DANI ENULESCU +4 0731.595.933 dani.enulescu dani@rainbowinternational.eu

KEY BRANDS


Fast Track – Tracks Fast. Mr. Saravanan Natesan, owner of Fast Track PTE Group of companies, has answered our questions in the way that only he can!

1. Mr Saravanan, you own one of the most stable and well established companies of the industry and have bases in multiple countries. Please tell us a bit in regards to how the companies operate, and when did you decide to join the electronics industry. We have a team of professionals running the business. Every market and region operates on independent P&L’s. I believe in an entrepreneurial model where in each entity has the operating freedom as Long as it is within the larger organisational objective boundaries.We joined the electronics industry around the year 2000 when we sighted the first business opportunity in mobility. We stuck to this industry as we developed skill sets over time and I prefer to keep focus in areas of strength rather than overtly diversifying. Having said that, we keep our eyes on developing related opportunities at all times. 2. Is there another industry you are working in? If yes which, if no, in which industry would you like to have a business in? At this point in time we have limited investments in the hospitality industry / real estate and payment gateways platforms. 38 • PLATINUM EDITION


3. Immediately when someone meets you they can understand that you are one of the most peaceful people with lovely humour, please tell us something about yourself we wouldn’t understand just by looking at your business history or by meeting you the first time. As I said with the operations being localised and having a great entrepreneurial team gives me abundant time to look into other aspects. I would like not to be too intrusive into each regions business and only help from a capital availability perspective. This gives me a lot of time at hand to spend with family and friends there by allowing me to be at absolute peace with myself. 4. Describe a day of your daily life from the morning until night. My day always starts with a good workout in order to keep healthy, once done I head to the office where I spend a few hours arranging the required stock and meet with business partners. Then it is time to hit the court, I always enjoy a game of Badminton. Once the day comes to its end, I always make sure to spend quality with my family. 5. In which country can you see yourself spending the rest of your life at? I’d have to say Singapore. 6. What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur that is now building up their company in order to not only survive in this competitive industry but to also succeed to the level that you have succeeded? It is quite simple actually, always believe in what you do and give it all you have. Let your passion drive you to where you want to go.

Of course knowing each employee is important. We are one big family and hence I know each one personally, it is also part of our culture to know each other well. As for deals, I do keep active by closing a couple fortnightly. 10. Having been in the industry for so long, you must have visited numerous exhibitions and events over the years, what do you think would make them more interesting to attend? In general people attend exhibitions to meet face to face with their business partners and keep connected, for us this is the main reason. On the flip side, most events seem to be having the same itinerary. Nonetheless most are quite informative but in my opinion need to have innovative agendas. This would help build the interest for attending further. 11. Do you consider becoming a sponsors in Partners In Excellence 2019? As we have now invested into having a stronger position within the European region and hope to further build our business, should all go well and as planned, we could definitely look at partnering as a sponsor for the next year as well. 12. Would you encourage other companies to attend the Partners In Excellence 2019? Of course, without a doubt!

7. What was your favourite part about Partners In Excellence 2018? The constant and continual engagement with trade partners and business friends over the 3 day period was the best part. It’s the best way to brainstorm, share ideas but also discuss any problems and find a solution. 8. We have seen you turn from a delegate of the Partners InExcellence 2017 into one of the esteemed sponsors of Partners In Excellence 2018, what made you come a sponsor? In meeting the organizers, I met like-minded people. 9. With so many employees working for you in different countries, do you know all their names? How many deals do you close personally? PLATINUM EDITION • 39


A.Stephanis The retail chain that took over Cyprus!

Stephanis Chain of Stores is a private family business registered as Alexandros Stephanis & Co Ltd. In 1960 Alexandros Stephanis established the company and run a small shop in Hippocrates street in Nicosia where its main business was Repairs in Electronic Products. In 1979, the company moved to a privately owned shop in DemostheniSeveri Avenue and specialized in selling electronic spare parts and components to technicians and final consumers. In 1993 the founder of the company retired and the business was fully undertaken by his son Christodoulos Stephanis. In 1997 a new shop opened its gates under the trade name “Energia” in Byron’s avenue with a totally different shop concept, it specialized in selling Mobile Phones, Batteries and Lamps. In 2000, the company had foreseen that the consumer trend was “one stop shop” with a large selection of products, therefore the strategic decision was both shops to unite and move to the new privately owned building in Athalassis avenue in 800sqm retail space. 40 • PLATINUM EDITION

Until 2004 Stephanis’ retail shops expanded all over Cyprus. In 2006 in Limassol a new privately owned Stephanis store opened its gates with impressive high tech facilities, sufficient parking place and 2000sqm floor space. It is considered as one of the biggest retail outlets in consumer electronics in Cyprus. Stephanis employees force is a group of 195 specialized employees who are always willing to serve customers and satisfy their needs. The employees, their creativity and initiative are at the center of Stephanis management philosophy. They participate in continuous training programs in order to ensure a high level of competent services and advice at the stores. Also their readiness to take on responsibility and their capacity for teamwork are intensively promoted. The products selection comprises up to 50,000 products and specializes in the following fields: • Telecommunication Products and Services Mobile phones, Cordless, Corded, GPS systems, Accessories • Information Technology- Laptops and Personal Computers, Peripherals, Consumables


• Hi-Fi Sound and Vision –Television, Digital Cameras, DVD players, Home Cinema • Electronic Parts and Components –Cables, Batteries, Lamps, Power supplies, Satellite • Electronic Gaming –Consoles, Video games and Accessories • Household Appliances- Kitchen Appliances, Personal care Stephanis Company strategic plans are to open Megastores selling technology products in all main towns of Cyprus. And of course, we could not miss the opportunity of getting some market insight directly from the source. Mr. Christodoulos Stephanis was kind enough to take some time off his busy schedule to inform us on the latest trends of the local market.

1. Which mobile brand was the best seller for the last quarter and why do you think the Cypriot market preferred it? The mobile brand with the highest score on sales during last quarter was Samsung and the reason the Cypriot market preferred it is because of the good quality of products, brand awareness, and nice designs. In the next two years the market is expected to change and Huawei will be the most

preferable brand in our market due to aggressive pricing along withthe good quality of products and unique technologies. 2. What is your opinion on Huawei P20? In my opinion, the Huawei P20 is a very nice model with advance specifications and technologies. The reason that is not selling as expected is because the bigger brother P20 Pro has even higher specifications, hence more preferable since the gap between prices is small. 3. Where do you see Huawei in the next 2 years? Even though Huawei is leading the market, Xiaomi is following steadily without hesitation. They know very well who Huawei as a brand is and they are trying hard to follow without complex. They will never be able to reach Huawei but they are doing a very good job with big success in their attempt. 4. As one of the top retailers in Cyprus and also our customer, what is your view on the Partners In Excellence convention and their marketing strategy, would you suggest other companies to appoint their marketing to Z Empire? Partners in Excellence convention is a professional event that all the companies in the technology sector can take the advantage of connecting very easy, very quick and less expensive with hundreds of companies dealing with technology products. Z Empire is a great opportunity for anyone in this industry to make money and friends in a very short period of time. PLATINUM EDITION • 41


Business Diversification: Yes or No? When we discuss diversification in business we mean exploring new markets, calculating and going ahead with new risks or even building a new product. Venturing in a new business area is always risky, but it can also act as a backup plan to maintain your company’s portfolio in the case that another investment of yours does not go exactly as planned. Following the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” especially since the private sector can never be predicted, diversifying into other industries can help your company open up to new horizons. Regardless of how confident you may feel in your existing gains, diversifying into other industries could actually save the day. 42 • PLATINUM EDITION


However, we must point out that even though diversification can help your company reach higher levels of success it is not necessary. There have been examples of companies that identified their strong point and focused merely on that and have since then built a market around that product. And on the other hand you have companies like Nokia that diversified again and again in order to realise that electronics was their purpose, they were originally selling paper products. Hence, even though diversification is not necessary, it may actually save your business. Take for example Philip Morris, when the company was exploring diversification targets, they believed that their strongest point developed was their marketing. They believed that marketing cigarettes could apply to other, similar markets and based on this belief, the company purchased Miller Brewing and then used the Philip Morris marketing skills to move the Miller brand from seventh place to second in its market. Taking similar examples such as the above, business diversification can range from venturing into completely different industries or by applying already existing patterns to other, similar businesses. The point is to adapt, whether you are changing your company’s identity entirely or by branching out in similar fields.

Business diversification could also mean advance and adaption into an ever changing market, it is quite simple really, if you do not adapt you die. Although diversification is not a medical cure for struggling companies it does increase your chances to remain competitive. Being able to act pro-actively instead of re-actively is the key to maintaining a healthy business, looking 5 steps ahead instead of just right in front you will save your business from joining the rest of company corpses left behind because they could not adapt.

When we asked some of the business owners from our industry their answers were in agreement to business diversification given that “Different sources of income from separate field areas is always preferred and it is wise not to put all your eggs in one basket, but one should not diversify if they do not have a strong base and if they haven’t reached certain target points based on their overall strategy.” (Mr. Stelios Constantinou, owner of Megatel). Whereas Mr. Daniel Stefanescu, owner of SC Gersim confirmed that he is already venturing in the areas of real estate, agriculture and gas trading as he believes this will be very beneficial in the future. Mr. Stefanescu also adds that his next big step is to create an investment fund and that he would be very much interested in investing in countries with big economy and potential such as China, America and the UK. No matter the path you decide to take for your business do not forget that a big part of that decision will be made based on the amount of risk you are willing to take and the amount of money you have available to invest in it. As for the remaining part, fortunately or unfortunately it is a matter of your gut feeling. PLATINUM EDITION • 43


90 Seconds to impress – Volume II It was with great success that the second year of the 90 seconds to impress sessions took place during the first and second day of the Partners In Excellence Convention in Athens. The session is open to all delegates interested in giving a more public company introduction of their company within 90 seconds and the ability to use slideshows, pictures or videos to further enhance their presentation. The speeches are recorder and broadcasted live on Z Empire Investment’s Youtube Channel with thousands of industry subscribers, and then on move to be created as individual video presentations posted on the company’s Youtube Channel as well as various other related platforms so the the "speakers" receive maximum receive maximum visibility and marketing. The sessions and delegate participation is complimentary from the organizing company whose main goal is to help companies evolve. 44 • PLATINUM EDITION


This year’s 90 seconds to impress session was kicked off by Mr. Oliver Schulte, CEO of RugGear, who skillfully presented the advance of rugged phone sales and expectations of 2021 reaching up to 60 million devices and prompted us to think of the market in a vertical more selective, analytical, and sequential way. As Mr. Schulte explained, “if you look at the market from a vertical way you will see that the rugged market was a market of 30 million devices and by 2021 it will be a market of 60 million devices”, and RugGear as a brand is open to do business with companies that are looking for an opportunity to advance. “Think Vertically, think Rugged, think RugGear”.

Ms. Evangelia Manali, communications officer of Infoworx Ltd, was the next delegate to take the stage. Infoworx Ltd based in Greece was one of the esteemed sponsors of the Partners In Excellence 2018 convention, and was founded in 2009, as Ms. Manali explained “the company has to do with everything as far as electronics are concerned”, making sure to be precise and within the 90 seconds frame. By 2015, the steady advance of Infoworx led to the creation of their own e-shop, Electroholic.gr, a rapidly growing e-shop in the country. Her speech ended by thanking the organizers and encouraging delegates to get in touch with the Infoworx team with hopes of becoming their “best partner in excellence”.

The third delegate presenting was the president and founder of Itech, Mr. Sonny Khurana. His speech won him the “funniest speaker” award during the award ceremony of the convention, as he had a more humorous approach at the start of the presentation. Itech was recognized by Ink Magazine in 2017 as one of the fastest growing companies in America, a recognition that Mr. Khurana thanked his business partners for. Itech president’s philosophy is based on mutually beneficial business relations and looks forward to further development in the industry as he explained that by 2020 “90% of the world’s population will own at least one connected device”.

Mr. Sajjad Versiani, director of the Cellutech group of companies, was the fourth speaker of the day whose opening speech included thanks to the organizers. Cellutech Group of companies is based in Dubai and solely works within the trading industry of electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets and other IT equipment. At this point the company has bases in Dubai, UK, USA and will soon have a branch in Hong Kong. Mr. Versiani closed his speech by explaining that his team and himself are ready to help companies carrying slow-moving stock liquidate it as they are “your buyers”.

The owner of XTG, Mr. Sylwester Kusnierczyk, was the next delegate to take the stage and also among the esteemed sponsors of the Partners In Excellence 2018 convention. Mr. Kusnierczyk’s speech was short, precise and to-the-point as he welcomed companies to contact XTG in order to start their cooperation in dealing with branded mobile phones and tablets.

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Next up was Mr. Brendan Nicholls, Purchasing Manager of Eurostar Global Electronics based in the UK and celebrating their 10th year in business with a 90 million Euros turnover this year. The company specializes in all brands including Huawei, LG, Sony, Apple and Samsung. Eurostar global trades online all over Europe as Connected247.com as well as doing import and export from the UK. Mr. Nicholls stressed on the importance of having long-term business partners in the electronics industry and explained that attending the Partners In Excellence convention helped built the trust for their business partners as it gave the opportunity to meet them in person in a relaxed and fun environment.

The sixth delegate participating in the 90 seconds to impress session was CEO of Amir Group FZCO, Mr. Bezkod Akmalkhonov. Amir Group FZCO, is the mother company to well-known and respected companies of the electronics industry such as Fajr Al Mustaqbal which is the official distributor of Samsung, Huawei, Lg and Meizu in the CIS region. Moreover, Radius Electronics, one of the largest chain of stores in Uzbekistan, FM Magnit located in the heart of Dubai, Deira which is a wholesale shop accommodating smaller Russian wholesale companies that can purchase directly from it. Amir Group FZCO was also one of the esteemed sponsors of the Partners In Excellence 2018 convention.

Mr. Akanimo Emah, head of sales of Neva Systems LTD in the UK, was the 7th participant of the session. In his speech, Mr. Emah explained that their company specializes in the development of software and specifically diagnostic tools for the used-mobile industry. Neva Systems works with wholesalers and recycling companies of the field and offer added value solutions to their customers. The company looks forward to opening branches in the USA and Dubai in the near future and welcomes companies dealing in or starting to deal in the market of used phones to get in touch as they definitely have a solution for them.

The CEO of BM Electronics – Dubai based company, Mr. Musleh Muslihiddin proceeded in explaining that his company is the official distributor of Samsung, LG, HTC and Alcatel in some of the CIS region countries. The company also deals in Apple and Xiaomi. Mr. Muslihiddin presented the company’s own mobile brand MDC that made its launch in the market last year and is being distributed within the CIS region and has brought back great feedback. The brand offers the opportunity to end-user customers to have a smartphone which offers the most important applications, great design and security but at the same time at an affordable price.

The last speaker to take the stage during the first round of the 90 seconds to impress session, was Ms. Marta Katarzyna, marketing manager of Promtel GSM based in Dubai. With a long business history, the right business connections globally and the “know-how” as Mr. Katarzyna explained, Promtel trades in brands such as Xiaomi, Samsung and Huawei. The company always maintains a steady flow of business which allows them to keep strong even though the economy is not as helpful as before. The marketing manager of Promtel closed her speech by thanking all their stable business partners and welcomed any new companies on board. 46 • PLATINUM EDITION


The closing of the session was marked by the presentation of the Make-A-Wish Greece foundation, whose goal is to help children with life threatening deceases fulfill their biggest wish. A touching presentation made by the chairwoman of the organization along with a volunteer and Giannis, a child whose wish was granted by the foundation in the past.

The second round of speeches took place on the 28th of April, and the first speaker was Mr. Shawn Shastri, Chief Operating Officer of Aceone, based in Hong Kong. The company is mainly dealing with Apple products, Digital Cameras and other accessories. Mr. Shastri’s speech was welcoming companies that are working with the Asian market to contact him in order to start cooperating and taking businesses to the next level.

Mr. Antonis Stamatopoulos, Commercial director of InfoQuest Technologies based in Greece was the next to take the stage for the second year in a row presenting his company. Mr. Stamatopoulos’ speech was accompanied by a very informative video regarding the services that the 37 year old company of the ICT sector offers including mobile telephony, internet, courier services, e-shops, renewable energy services, Apple ecosystem, cloud software for enterprises and many more. The company’s commercial director pointed out that the company’s philosophy is to win in a mutually beneficial and ethical way.

The third speaker was Mr. Stefan Durina, founder of Turbado, Bestcena and KULM. The founder’s speech informed the audience that his company is present in 8 countries and has over a million end user customers. With automatic daily purchases or day-to-day trading, Mr. Durina’s goal is to expand the portfolio and presence of the company all over Europe and prompted companies to get in touch and join the many suppliers of Turbado.

Mr. Csaba Nagy Abonyi, CEO of Naet Kft based in Hungary, started his speech with a story of Doctor Einstein regarding the rapid change and increase of answers and choices we need to make in our daily lives in comparison to the past, he pointed out that one of his great choices was attending the Partners In Excellence convention. His participation gave him the opportunity to start new cooperations within the electronics industry. PLATINUM EDITION • 47


The Vice President of SM Distribution based in USA, Ms. Victoria Adams was the fifth speaker of the second round of the 90 seconds to impress sessions. The vice president made sure to thank the organizers for the opportunity to meet in person companies that they have been dealing with for a long time but also the opportunity to meet new companies. Smart Mobile Distribution is an official premium reseller of Apple MacBook, iwatches, Apple TVs and iPhones, as Ms. Adams explained, and they look forward to meet new clients in order to further expand their business together.

A great addition to the session was a video speech of Mr. Lukasz Smyk, founder of Parktel based in Poland who was unable to personally attend the convention but was represented by two of his best team members. Mr. Lukasz in his video speech congratulated the organizers and wished them an even more successful future in bringing companies together.

Mr. Antonis Majarides, sales director of Majar Matzaridis Bros SA based in Thessaloniki Greece was also among the speakers of the 90 seconds to impress session, who in agreement with Mr. Sam – Managing Director of Z Empire, pointed out that a fundamental part of the industry is forging synergies. Majar was established in 1978, they are distributing well-known brands and exporting to twenty two countries and look forward to getting in touch with companies looking for innovation, profitable business and great service.

The Director of Strategic Procurement and Sales of einsAmobile, Mr.Enis Ramadanovski started his speech by applauding the work of the organizers and thanking them for a great convention. EinsAmobile, based in Germany was founded in 2005 with 20 employees and approximately 10 million euros turnover, since then the company has grown to an outstanding turnover of 600 million euros in 2016 and over 140 employees. Mr. Ramadanovski explained that einsAmobile, a telecommunications company is dealing in known brands such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei and LG.

Mr. Lennaert Akkermans, Ceo of Central Point Europe s.r.o, based in Slovakia was the next up on the stage. As Mr. Akkermans explained, the company is working within field of consumer electronics and dealing in known brands such as Apple, Samsung, Lenovo and Huawei, “we are a family company” as the CEO placed it which means they always strive for the best for their customers and strongly believe in maintaining strong relations. With over a decade of experience in the field of electronics, Mr. Akkermans looks forward to many more years of cooperation with his partners while always offering excellent customer service and value to the long term relations. 48 • PLATINUM EDITION


One of the pioneers of the industry and chairman of Jupiter GSM, Mr. Adnan Celik was the next delegate presenting his company. Jupiter GSM, with its headquarters in Austria but also bases in Dubai and Hong Kong, deals in mobile phones and consoles. With a striking turnover of 1.2 billion US dollars in 2017, Jupiter GSM forges ahead to an even greater future.

Neopolis General Trading LLC’s CEO, Mr. Reda Abd Elaziz took on the stage following Mr. Celik. Neopolis General Trading, based in Dubai is a relatively new company in the market but led by a team of senior professionals with years of experience in the field of electronics. Mr. Abd Elaziz pointed out in his speech that the only way to overcome the current market situation is by “investing in each other” and stressed on the importance of honesty and transparency between the partners.

Mr. Radu Rosoga, COO of Gersim Impex – also among the esteemed sponsors of the convention, convention, chose a rather humorous approach for the opening of his speech by explaining a rather humorous approach by explaining that he really wanted to send a thank you email to his CEO for not being able to attend as he really enjoyed himself and got meet new companies as well as long term partners. Mr. Rosoga then went on and gave a reference from the football tournament, “I saw determination, motivation, honor, loyalty, courage and even sacrifice and so I am asking you, aren’t these the right qualities you are looking for and trying to offer to your partners?” said the theGersim Impex COO as he made his exit from the stage.

Next on the stage was Mr. Frank Rocher representing the Platinum Sponsor of the Partners In Excellence convention Yukatel GmbH. The company was founded in 1995 and based in Germany, in 2009 the company’s turnover was 10 million euros, by 2017 Yukatel reached a turnover of 500 million euros. Mr. Rocher made sure to point out the fact that “we made the right decision in investing as the biggest sponsor of the Partners In Excellence convention” and thanked both the organizers and delegates as he passed the stage to the next delegate.

Mr. Ganesh Arivoli, sales manager of Fast Track PTE based in Singapore, marked the finish of the 90 seconds to impress sessions for the Partners In Excellence 2018 convention. Fast Track is a leading distributor and wholesaler of mobile phones, tablets and Macbooks and has been active in the industry for over 18 years. With bases in Dubai, Miami, Hong Kong and Thailand but now also active within the European region with branches in Poland and Cyprus. With high turnover of products sold and always carrying physical stock of major brands such as Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi and Nokia Mr. Arivoli closed his speech by pointing out that the key purpose of the company is to build strong, long lasting business relations with all customers and suppliers by providing them with excellent service, trust and an ethical approach. PLATINUM EDITION • 49


Evolution = Success. At first they will ask you why you’re doing it. Later they’ll ask how you did it. In an ever changing industry survival depends on constant adaption and evolution. The core philosophy behind the creation of the Partners In Excellence electronics networking convention was to create an innovative environment where delegates would benefit from attending, in terms of business and enjoyment. The majority of our delegates and readers have attended numerous exhibitions and events over the years, so did we, which is why our goal was to create an event that belonged to not only our company, but to all of us. We also understand the need for evolution and that is why we have integrated 99% of last year’s feedback proposals to the 2018 event.

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Starting off with Mr David Mahmudi suggestion, owner of Stern Telecom BV, to change the venue to a more easily reachable location – and so we organized PIE in Greece with an airport that provides over 100 direct flight destinations. Another great suggestion put to action came from Mr. Levente Benedek, owner of Lemeth Trading GmbH, to create an event application where delegates would be able to interact with each other prior to the convention so they would pre book their meetings. Additionally Mr. Adnan Celik, chairman of Jupiter GSM suggested that we keep the same quality of companies year and year again – and so we did. Following Mr. Goce Joveski's, Bluefin Century, s.r.o., suggestion to provide the opportunity to our delegates to have a more relaxed networking activity by the beach we created with the support of our sponsor Electroholic, an amazing setup for barbecue right on the beach front on a sunny day so our delegates could enjoy the lovely Greek weather. Lastly, another suggestion we kept in mind was that of Mr. Daniel Stefanescu, owner of SC Gersim Impex, to keep the event dates closer to April end or beginning of May – even though, Mr. Stefanescu was unable to attend the actual event in the end we still kept our word and hosted our convention from the 26th until the 29th of April. Mr. Stefanescu’s presence was strongly felt through his representative Mr. Radu Rosoga.

As a result, by applying the above suggestions not only were we able to provide our delegates a larger number of companies to network with, an easier location to get to, a powerful application to keep in touch with and a perfect weather to enjoy. As we are firm lovers of innovation in everything we put our soul in, we have given our delegates the first ever football tournament and the first ever award ceremony our industry has ever had. Of course we did not stop there, we made sure that all our delegates, had a very exclusive entertainment program and therefore we invited one of Greece's most famous female singers to perform a private concert - who even challenged some of our delegates to a dance off contest on stage. Furthermore, this year we have interviewed over 40 companies during the convention, triple the amount of last year – an action put forth in order for our delegates, regardless of sponsorship, to achieve the maximum marketing possible. Which was another innovation from our side, as the stage setup and the importance given to each interview is unparalleled to any other. With the ending of each convention we make sure that the next Partners In Excellence convention will surpass the previous in quality and quantity and by having one and only one goal in mind, our delegates benefit, we strive for success. As Z Empire Investments Ltd, we are equally proud of our successes as well as our shortcomings, which we never shied away from admitting openly, as this is who we are. PLATINUM EDITION • 51


Out with the old, IN with the new! Before: Its exhibition time, make sure to pack the rain coats, the thousand layers of warm clothes, food from home and a comfortable pair of shoes. Don’t forget to prepare yourself mentally, it is probably going to be rainy not just cold and don’t let me get started in the endless taxi routes, and the waiting! Be sure to leave some space in the bag for the hundreds of business cards you will return home with but won’t actually use, they are meant to fill up the cupboard in the office that nobody knows how to decorate right! Good to see you guys again, but does it have to be here? P.S: Your words, not ours! 52 • PLATINUM EDITION


After: Oh my God! Bring on the sunshine, put away the overcoats! Elegant suits and a smile match perfectly with the sunny weather. Oh yes, the entire exhibition hall is located literally on the beach! Maybe I should take the family as well! Manufacturers? Check. Distributors? Check. Operators? Check. Retailers? Check. Traders? Check. Let’s not forget it is all digital, so no need to pack up the business cards, they are already on my phone! Now I just need to prepare my speech so I impress the other companies there. Great to see you guys again, of course and I will have a booth this time! P.S: Our gift to the industry!

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Direct marketing under the GDPR The thin line between compliance and infringement

When it comes to direct marketing communications, anyone who is not familiar with the general principles and culture of data protection laws in Cyprus can easily cross the line between compliance and infringement just by asking for consent. During the last few months, we all received a great number of emails asking for consent to “keep in touch” and other catchy subject lines such as “we are sorry to see you go” or “we will miss you”,followed in some cases by emoticons with sad faces and the like.

An article by Mr. Nicholas Ktenas Nicholas Ktenas has extensive experience in corporate and commercial law, employment law, privacy and data protection, consumer protection, intellectual property law and commercial litigation. Nicholas is a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner.

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All these are not of course social messages from friends or family but direct marketing emails about goods and services, newsletters etc, from businesses who are anxious to ensure that they comply with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR),which came into effect in all EU Member States on the 25th of May 2018. But, does the GDPR really require this? Most important, does it allow this? For the purposes of this article let’s divide the senders of these emails into two categories: 1. Senders who obtained our email address directly from us, with our consent to send us marketing communications or in the context of a past transaction with them,

2. Senders who obtained our email address by other means and are using it without our consent. In the first category we usually (but not necessarily) find senders who we may want to continue hearing from, in which case our typical reaction is to give consent (“opt-in”) to continue to receivemarketing communications. In the second category we usually find senders who send marketing information that we have never requested and most probably have no interest in, in which case our typical reaction is to ignore the request and hopefully stop receiving emails since we never managed to unsubscribe. In this category, we may also find senders we have never heard from before. A personal email address constitutes personal data and the its use for direct marketing purposes is a processing activity for the purposes of the GDPR. Under the GDPR, processing is lawful only if and to the extent the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposesor where the processing is necessary for the performance of a contract, the compliance with a legal obligation, the protection of a vital interest of the data subject, reasons of public interest or for the purposes of pursuing a legiti-


mate interest (except where such interest is overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject). “Consent” for the purposes of the GDPR means any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her. Where processing is based on consent, the controller must be able to demonstrate that the data subject has consented to processing of his or her personal data.Consent should be given prior to the processing activity. In principle, it can be sufficient to ask for a data subject’s consent once. However, controllers do need to obtain a new and specific consent if purposes for data processing change after consent was obtained or if an additional purpose is envisaged. It is worth noting, however, that the preamble of the GDPR suggests that the processing of personal data for direct marketing purposes may be regarded as carried out for a legitimate interest. But is this sufficient to dispose of the requirement for consent in all casesof marketing communications? If not, what are the conditions? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question at the moment in the GDPR itself. In terms of marketing culture, Cyprus has always been a strict opt-in jurisdiction for marketing communications, allowing, however, for a “soft opt-in” exception under the Law Regulating Electronic Communica

tions and Postal Services (Law 112(I)/2004, as amended), where a sender has been provided by a customer with an email address or mobile phone number in the course of a sale of goods or services, in which case, they may use the email address or phone number to send messages for direct promotion of their own similar products or services, so long as customers are aware of this and have the opportunity to opt out of receiving communications in the future. Due to its nature, the GDPR automatically replaces the main national law in Cyprus for the protection of personal data. A draft law which expressly replaces the Law on the Processing of Personal Data (Protection of the Individual) Law (N. 138(I)/2001) and allows for national derogations in line with the GDPRis currently under discussion in the House of Representatives. However, there is no other proposed legislative amendment or official guidance yet about the GDPR’s effect on the provisions of Law 112(I)/2004 relating to the soft opt-in exception. Accordingly, every business in Cyprus that wants to comply with the GDPR as far as marketing communications are concerned should maintain an up to date database with contact details of persons who either voluntarily gave their contact details in the context of a sale (i.e. customers) or their explicit consent to be contacted for marketing purposes. Provided that all consentshave been properly documented for each of the contacts,marketing messages can continue to be sent to them without the need for anything further.

However, sending emails to ask for consent would constitute an infringement of the GDPR where the recipients have never been customers of the sender or have never specifically consented to receiving marketing communications. It would also constitute an infringementof the GDPR where the recipients may have unsubscribed from these communications at some time but were not removed from the relevant mailing lists.If there is any doubt, such communications should be avoided. The Commissioner for Personal Data Protection, the body responsible for the application and enforcement of the provisions of the GDPR in Cyprus, has taken a similar approach in an official announcement issued by her office, earlier in April this year. Accordingly, senders of marketing communications who fall in the first category above are likely to be GDPR compliant already and need not ask for fresh consent unless an additional purpose is envisaged, while senders falling in the second category are likely to be infringing the GDPR just by asking for consent and should avoid it. Furthermore, senders who fall in the first category should keep in mind that experience has proven that statistically, the recipient response rate can be significantly low and should therefore be prepared to remove from their mailing lists any person who does not respond to a request for consent, to comply with their own statements.

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Key characteristics you look for in a customer or a supplier. The electronics industry is one of the most fast paced and constantly changing industries in the world. It is influenced by various different factors and you can never predict what its future will be. Some might say that this is one of the beauties of it and its curse at the same time. The electronics industry, especially meaning consumer electronics, emerged in the 20th century and has now become a global industry worth billions of dollars. Since the year of its foundation a lot of things have changed, whether it was the leading brands, the strongest distributors or the suppliers with the most competitive pricing. The only thing which will never change is the values and key characteristics one looks for in their supplier or their customer. We have asked companies from various domains of the consumer electronics industry to share with us the key characteristics they look for in their partners but also any qualities good or bad they have as a customer or a supplier. As can be seen below, almost all answers are identical, people look for the same values they offer no matter if they are distributors, traders or retailers – at the end of the day it all comes down to feeling secure about doing business with the partners. 60 • PLATINUM EDITION


“I want my customers to be organized and to provide a forecast for their deals with me, to be financially stable and to have future in their business. My good qualities as a customer are that I pay upfront, I’m serious, I respect my forecast and I have a strong company. From my supplier I expect seriousness and dedication as a sales person, stock continuity, rewards program and correct attitude towards my company. As a supplier, my good qualities are that I have continuity in stock, good prices and my bad quality is that I’m not a dedicated sales person.”

“What I look for in my customers is for them to be loyal, available and open to discuss new opportunities. From my suppliers I expect that they will be proactive with me, to always work on TERMS not upfront payments as well as being friendly and loyal to me as a customer.” Mr. Paul Collins, Managing Director of Thames Distribution.

I need my customers to have fast reaction if needed, to always be reachable and most importantly to be trustworthy. As for my suppliers, I need them to always offer me the best price possible so there will be no need for bargaining, and the offer should include all information needed as well as being reachable. As a customer my bad quality is that I always try to bargain… Mr. Paul Horvath, owner of AB GSMshop.at GmbH

In order to establish a long term business partner, especially a customer I need to know that they are bound by their word, that they are fast and serious, as this is what I offer as a customer. As for my suppliers, in order to have a quick and smooth cooperation I need exact and detailed information about stock and stock availability, always giving fast responses, and of course to be trustful and supportive. Mr. Stelios Constantinou, owner of J&D Golden Union ent. Ltd/ Megatel

Mr. Daniel Stefanescu, owner of SC GersimImpex.

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Identifying proactive leadership Being proactive means creating or controlling a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened. If you can recall hearing or saying the following phrases then you either work for or are a proactive leader. “Thrive” instead of “survive”, “lead” instead of “follow”, something is “important” rather than “urgent”, having a clear direction rather than travelling without a map, “What if?” instead of “What now?”, “us” instead of ”them”. Reactive are the leaders who are in a constant state of stress and activity in order to achieve the company’s goals, of course, to the best of their abilities. On the contrary, a reactive leader is the one who seems to accomplish, if not excel, at achieving company goals with minimum effort, mostly because they rather anticipate events happening rather than react after the event has happened. If you spotted some similarities between a proactive leader and yourself then you know that leadership is not that difficult, you are used to positive results and all your employees seem to enjoy coming to office even on a Monday. In this article, we explore simple ways of distinguishing between a reactive and a proactive leader. First up, is the ability to feel confident in yours and your team’s abilities, especially in the electronics industry where nothing is ever the same or stable. When a problem occurs, you should feel secure in the problemsolving capabilities of your company – if such trust is given to the employees you will notice a raise in initiatives and a higher turnover of “mission accomplished”. If you expect the best from your employees and they know it, you are highly likely to receive it. 62 • PLATINUM EDITION


Does your plan have a back-up plan? Good. That means that you have another key characteristic of a proactive leader and it also means that you are more likely to take on new challenges often, always sharing the tasks with your team members. You never lose your focus and are not afraid of asking for help if you needed, you can listen as much as you can talk! You never lose your “cool”. Proactive leaders tend to keep calm in most situations as a clear mind comes up with the right “next steps” to follow in order to achieve the company goals. You adapt constantly and have an eye for correcting whatever needed to ensure success. Optimistic is an actual downgrade to describe you as you always look for a positive outcome. Proactive leaders are inspiring, compassionate, loyal, integrity-filled, straightforward, calm, fair, polite, hopeful and thoughtful. Incorporate a more proactive aspect in you today as it can save you from a lot of stress, emergencies and probably loss. Plan ahead, make intentional choices, be goal-oriented, be inspiring and think team work. A leader is one who leads from the front, not one who expects but does not do. PLATINUM EDITION • 63


Starting off on the right foot:

Long term employees are made from the beginning

While the general work environment or company culture play a key role to employee satisfaction, an easy way to increase the percentage of long term employees is to make them feel very welcomed and a member of the team from the first day. By helping them understand the ups and downs of your company while they still feel comfortable in their job description actually goes a long way.

Based on a research put together by Click Boarding, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding, the same research also noted that 20% of employee turnover occurs in the first 45 days of an employee's tenure. This makes an effective employee onboarding program a necessity for businesses, think of it as filtering. Make sure that the onboarding process is both beneficial for you and the new employee, what is considered a successful onboarding process includes elements of both stress free training as well as co-workers reaching out and making the new employee feel welcomed. This is beneficial for you because you will get a clear image of whether the employee is competent as well as if they mix well with the rest of team, as for the employee, they get a clear picture of what exactly working for you will be like. 64 • PLATINUM EDITION

Another great idea is sending to the new employee helpful information regarding the company’s culture before their actual first day, this reduces the stress of the new employee because they are able to mentally prepare themselves instead of walking in the office on a Monday blindfolded. In addition, since you went through all that process and finally got a good candidate, make sure that you are prepared for their first day, whether that means properly informing the rest of team or setting up their desk and tech needed. Moreover, take time off your busy schedule to be there, walk the new employee through beneficial information – trust me, you showing up counts a lot! You can also go all the way and have co-workers “decorate” the new desk with tailor made welcome notes!


The don’t do list:

If you want to do it right, be prepared that it is a long process and in that process you want to avoid the below things in order to ensure a successful initiation period. • Don't give new employees too much too soon. Having a new job is overwhelming itself, do not add to the stress. • Don't assume new hires understand everything. You can't expect an employee to pick up on all the nuances, buzzwords and procedures involved with their new job after one quick run-through. • Don't forget to measure the onboarding process. As with any business process, measuring the results of your onboarding efforts is the key to improving it. Another important aspect you need to pay attention to in order to keep the onboarding process going passed the first day is assigning a mentor to your new employee, for this mentoring position you should choose someone with excellent work performance but not their direct supervisor. The new employee needs to feel safe to discuss and ask questions without hesitation or feeling that the supervisor will think badly of them. It means a lot to new employees to have a friendly face they feel comfortable talking to. Make sure you offer adequate training in the first few weeks and frequently check in with the new hire, better if you can do it in person rather than just an email as the more you communicate and share with them, the more the new hire understand the importance of open communication. Onboarding is an ongoing process that helps employees feel welcomed through consistent engagement and involvement long after their first day on the job. Employees nowadays look for direct communication channels, content libraries that will help them keep the onboarding great experience all through their tenure. Remember that the onboarding process is so much more than learning tools and filling up reports, it is the foundation defining a person’s career development. The happier the employee, the more productive they are, hence the happier you will be. PLATINUM EDITION • 65


Why are videos such an important part of successful marketing?

In general, Video in the marketing process can be used as a lead generation tool, as a method of building awareness and thought leadership, or as a content tool to grow or nurture a lead base. Marketing was one of the first business departments to adopt video as a regular medium, and brands have been using video to market their products since before YouTube was popular. It is no secret that visual stimulation is one of the most effective ways to capture the attention of your audience, in this article we explore the 10 key reasons why videos are so important when it comes to marketing.

68 • PLATINUM EDITION


Let the countdown begin: 10. Improved SEO Firstly, by using videos in the content of your marketing efforts, it will undoubtedly improve your SEO. In fact, according to Comscore, adding a video to your website can increase your chance by up to 53 times of a front page Google result. Butthat only happens when you do it right. 9. Stronger Consumer Attention Videos have proved to be more effective in capturing the consumer’s attention than other mediums. Regardless of the current situation of “content – overload” for consumers, capturing attention is particularly key.

8. Higher Engagement Visual stimulation is simply a lot more effective. The next time you need to decide what types of posts to schedule on social networks in the future, think video. Just remember that audiences are about 10 times more likely to engage, embed, share, and comment on video content than blogs or related social posts. 7. More Video-favoured Technology With a very high demand in production of videos, technologies are favouring more and more the video-marketer. Think of Facebook for example, a video post will definitely catch more attention than a status update or a link to an article.

PLATINUM EDITION • 69


Elizabeth Friedrich Couture of hand painted fashion & design dresses for any occasion and comprehensive range of leisurewear www.elizabeth-friedrich.com Jewellery by Christian Xenon Jewellery & watches Yacht by Royal VIP Yachts


4. Better Email Click-Throughs The use of video content in emails has been shown to double click-through rates. More effective emails? Yes please! 3. Rise in Accessibility We now live in an era where video production no longer takes months to create nor costs many thousands of dollars, the creation of a great video is now a lot easier! 2. Stronger Emotional Connections Video is the king of evoking emotions online. It’s King because it offers a variety of attributes above and beyond traditional content like tone of voice, face expressions, and music, to name a few. 1. Increased Customer Conversions Most importantly, when using video in your content marketing plan you actually convert more customers. Recent research shows that 71% of marketers say video conversion rates outperform other marketing content. In particular, Z Empire had dedicated a large amount of their marketing campaigns to videos for all the above reasoning. Let us see if our Partners In Excellence 2018 delegates agree:

What is your opinion about the marketing promotion done by Z Empire investments? “It’s definitely aggressive and it is like it came out of nowhere, it is also reshaping the industry. Pulling off such an event and having everything so organized, all I can say is well done. It is not something done last minute or on short budget, it looks like they spent a lot of money, time and effort to really organize everything.” Director of Global mobiles USA, Masoud Wardak. “They are very to the point, they just say what needs to be said and drawing the attention of whoever wants to be here”. Vice President of Prepaid Card Ltd, Jonathan Afrman. “As far as promoting the event daily, I was receiving some information which I found great”. Owner of Mooncom, Vineta Brutane.

“I think what is done so far is very good and puts a lot of pressure … As for the event, It is helpful for the delegates here.” Director of Strategic Procurement / Sales of einsAmobile GmbH, Enis Ramadanovski. “I think Z Empire has done great job here. I hope this event will go on for the next years as well and I hope I can participate again. Congratulations to Sam and his team, they have done a good job.” COO of SC GersimImpex, Radu Rosoga. “I cannot compare it with anything else because there are no marketing activities in the other events. This is the only event which actually benefits you in a marketing way. Having magazine, banners, conference room, everything ....” Commercial Director of Infoworx Limited and Electroholic, Evaggelos Vidos. “I think it was fit for purpose. It was excellent. And I think also when you look at the number of attendees at the Partners In Excellence convention, It’s amazing.” CEO of RugGear, Oliver Schulte. “The marketing itself is totally different from what we are used to seeing, especially during the crisis period In Greece. We believe that Z Empire and the whole team has done an extremely good job at promoting this event. The thing is that we’re getting bonded all the time with all the meetings we have in front of us and the agenda which follows. What I found really interesting was that instead of having to constantly check the time schedule, the organizers notify you through the application when it is time for a session etc. The delegates themselves are senior professionals and meetings are really perspective.” Commercial Director of InfoQuest technologies, Antonis Stamatopoulos. “It is good promotion because here there isvideo coverage, lots of interviews, you can easily promote your company.” Owner of X.T.G S.A., Sylwester Kusnierczyk. Just fantastic. Z Empire was all over the place. Everybody knew about the event. Anyone I have asked “where are you going” Everyone, and I mean everyone was aware of it. This is its second year and there is a lot of awareness of Z Empire events happening, so It’s going to take a lot of competition It’s going to be hard work for other events to catch up And match partners in excellence events. Director of RS Global, Akshay Agarwal PLATINUM EDITION • 71


Attendee feedback Thank you everyone, it has been a pleasure! To cover the needs of the Partners In Excellence 2018 electronics networking convention, Z Empire in collaboration with Whova (application production company) created a custom made event on Whova’s dashboard so the attendees could pre book their meetings, keep up with updates, network, discuss and most importantly to give feedback! Below are some randomly chosen feedback received from our delegates through the application, thanks again everyone!

Dear Z Empire Team, I have already shared impressions about the event on the stage but I want to tell once again a lot of thanks for these marvellous 3 days spent in Greece. The organization was super, people could combine work and pleasure and even tiny details were considered. We met new partners and friends there, I am sure this will help to expand business opportunities. We also enjoyed the nature, barbecue, games, Parties and most of all happy faces. SM DISTRIBUTION loved Partners in Excellence and the Z Empire team! Victoria Adams, Vice President of SM Distribution. Muchísimasgracias ,eveybody in Zempire specially Sam and Maria. Great ambience and great vibes at the show. The smile, the laughs, The fun, the entertainment, all these factors made the last week very enjoyable and helped us @ Viber to communicate effectively with our old and new (soon to be) partners. Looking forward to have some laugh and good business with all delegates!! Best wishes. Chetan Manik, CEO of Viber Comunicaciones.

Hi Sam, I hope you are back home and recovering from the last crazy nights we had. I wanted to tell you personally and to the whole Z Empire Team, how much pleased I feel and it was a great honour for me once again for participating at this wonderful and amazing event you organized. Definitely I am going to see you next year! I hope to catch up again soon. Have a great day, Thank you all for this great event Nikos Xenakis, Transport & Logistics Manager of Mega Group Sa.

It was a pleasure meeting you all in this glorious trade event! Best Regards, Majar SA Group of Companies. Nikos G. Nakos, Majar SA Group

One of the most well organised and well hosted events and its our privilege to be a part of such event the fusion of work and pleasure make it more worthy,a platform where networking and meetings is such a joy ,I wish Sam all the very best for future and thanks for his efforts to put on such an amazing Elizabeth Friedrich event.

Must say top notch show! Production was great, venue was out of this world and the opportunity presented for Sajjad Versiani, future business was extraordinary! Sam and your whole Director of Techbay Electronics / CellutechFze. team, kudos! I know Yonida wasn’t around for much ofCouture of hand painted fashion & design dresses for Saturday - but I look forward to reaching out and speak-any occasion and comprehensive range of leisurewear ing with current and future partners! Let the trading Amazing event, well organized and next to the many commence! www.elizabeth-friedrich.com quality meetings also nice relaxation time! Well done #ZEmpireRules and keep it up! Central point Europe s.r.o will be #WillBeBack Jewellery by Christian Xenon Jewellery & watches there always. #PartnersInExcelenceWasExcelent Lennaert Akkermans, BJ Weiss, Yacht by Royal VIP Yachts CEO of Central Point Europe s.r.o. Purchase Manager of Yonida International Trading.

72 • PLATINUM EDITION


The only event that you are actually getting something in return....meeting at ease , classy atmosphere, smiley faces and most important...elegance . Enjoy ladies and gentlemen, have fun tonight. Evan Vidos, Commercial Director of Infoworx.

Best event yet! I am looking forward to meet you in Athens! BekzodAkmalkhonov, CEO of Amir Group FZCO.

I’m happy to be part of the Partners In Excellence Convention again! Cristi Petrut, Sales Export Manager of Network One Distribution (NOD).

I have travelled and attended too many exhibitions, countless events and at most of them we have lost time and money. Here, at the Partners In Excellence we really do meet new people, it benefits us, and we are enjoying every moment. Quality of the service is really excellent – just like the convention’s name. Adnan Celik, Founder and Chairman of Jupiter GSM.

Pretty amazing They have done a really good job! Paul Collins, Managing Director of Thames Distribution. My favourite thing here in partners in excellence is that delegates are more closer to each other, than in other events and exhibitions. Sylwester Kusnierczyk, CEO of XTG. I believe that what adds value to the company (Z Empire) it’s their honesty and integrity, which is obvious here at the event. Reda Elbehiry, owner of Neopolis General Trading. This is the second time we are attending and I am very excited to be here. Last time it was great and this time it is much better. I’m happy to be here! Vineta Brutane, owner of MoonCom.

PLATINUM EDITION • 73


Rightness. Diversity. Excellency. Adaptability.

trust and professionalism.

www.gersim.ro


Brief intro for S PINES CYP PTE LTD located in Cyprus Dear Partners, The rapid spread of information and technology has led to rapid changes to culture in developing countries by making it easier to operate and build our business in Poland. Expanded with technology flow and we are excited to announce that recently we opened our office in Cyprus targeting the local and the broad market aiming to work mainly in the European market in order to serve our customers bringing along our global expertise and keeping line with the adage of “Arms Length to Demand” and reliability in our business. S PINES CYP PTE LTD is one of the world’s leading distributors and wholesalers of branded mobile phones, IT, gaming consoles, gadgets, lifestyle devices and consumer electronics. Our business aim is to offer to local and international partners with the trusted and reliable service that fulfill their needs. Our global reach and understanding on requirements/ trends and the access to direct sources of products gives us the added advantage we could bring to our customers in the European markets. Four characteristics that our business is focused on and thatyou should think working with us are: A) connection that is focused on collaboration with wholesalers and distributors of mobile devices globally; B) dedicated to giving you proactive support to businesses all over the world; C) Reliability in quick and & Secure Order Management D) Professional Team & Global Supply Chain Solutions. We take this opportunity to welcome all partners to work with us in adding great value to the entire value chain. As we have now opened our distribution, office in Polandwe hope to help both sides in buying and selling various products from the brands we work.

PLATINUM EDITION • 75


Elizabeth Friedrich Couture of hand painted fashion & design dresses for any occasion and comprehensive range of leisurewear www.elizabeth-friedrich.com Jewellery by Christian Xenon Jewellery & watches Yacht by Royal VIP Yachts


WHERE GREECE IS MOST BEAUTIFUL Finest resorts in Greece

Grecotel is a collection of Greece’s finest resorts, each individually designed and crafted, inspired by its own supreme location. Island retreats, enchanting waterfront palaces and contemporary haut chic resorts. Each of the 31 luxury hotels and resorts in the Grecotel collection all over Greece, is a unique architectural experience in itself and a paradise of opulent amenities, gourmet restaurants and luxurious, well thought-of details, all embodying the essence of the genuine Greek hospitality.

grecotel.com


International wholesale of mobile devices is an inherent of our daily business. Since more than 10 years einsAmobile is a reliable partner of all international relevant manufacturers with significant position on the global market. Our customers and partners therefore naturally profit by our enormous experience and unique service features.

CONTACT einsAmobile GmbH Telephone: +49 6104 - 40 57 – 281 E-Mail: sales-export@einsamobile.de Website: www.einsamobile.de

Profile for zempire4

Z Empire's Platinum Magazine  

Explores the professional life and future plans of the key decision makers of some of the electronic industry's biggest companies. Find out...

Z Empire's Platinum Magazine  

Explores the professional life and future plans of the key decision makers of some of the electronic industry's biggest companies. Find out...

Profile for zempire4