CLOSE to 150,000 people stormed the Singapore Expo on Thursday looking for deals on the latest computers, cameras and electronic gizmos.
Organisers said it was an encouraging start to the four-day Sitex exhibition, which features some of the top names in electronics and has become one of Singapore's best-attended shows.
'From a humble turnout of 143,000 visitors in 2000, Sitex has grown in popularity, attracting 680,000 visitors last year,' said Miss Karen Tham, assistant manager for Singex Exhibitions, which manages the show.
'We hope to do better by attracting 700,000 visitors this year.'
The enthusiasm was shared by some of the 160 exhibitors. Samsung, for one, hopes to see a boost in sales at Sitex.
'In some categories, our target is to double last year's takings,' said Mr Ng Long Shyang, a Samsung Asia vice president.
In addition, six new segments were introduced in this year's show, such as Automobile Electronics, IT Education, and IT for Kids.
Said Ms Rosalynn Chua, deputy general manager of Singex Exhibitions, 'Through these new segments, we want to showcase the eclectic mix of digital media technologies.'
While some shoppers took their time to browse at the spread of latest gadgets, others made a beeline for gizmos they have been eyeing for a while. Technical adviser Mr Eugene Sim, 41, waited a month to buy a $899 Sony digital camera at the show.
It came with freebies like a 2GB memory stick and a portable photo printer.
'The price is close to what I can get from Sim Lim Square, but with all the free stuff, it's really a good deal,' he said.
One product that many consumers are eagerly awaiting is the Asus Eee PC, which will be launched at the show on Dec 1.
It is billed as one of the lightest laptops on the market at a mere 920g. It will retail for $598 at the event.
Meanwhile, peripherals, like webcams and mouses, were sold in bundles.
A Microsoft Mobile Memory Mouse 8000 went for $169, its usual price, but with a free digital photo frame and Bluetooth headset thrown in.
Amid the buzz of cheap buys, organisers also try to convey the importance of environmental awareness. For the first time, the organisers are partnering Cash Converters and Clean Solutions in a bid to reduce environmental damage arising from e-wastes.
Applauding the green movement, Mr Jeremy Taylor, managing director of Cash Converters said, 'Rapid advances in technology means that IT products are becoming obsolete more quickly. By selling your outdated items, you get instant cash to finance your new purchases and at the same time, help to keep toxic elements out of incinerators.'
The show runs through Sunday.