Ireland s tech is supported by Qatar s iConnect

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iCONNECT, an Apple preferred merchant backed by a Qatari billionaire, is to increase their Irish workforce to 80 people and introduce a European expansion from Dublin.

The merchant, which belongs to the $1.4 bn (EUR1bn) Al Mana Group, will hire 40 employees within weeks for a home office and flagship shop on Henry Street in Dublin, the country's most popular retail avenue. It'll be the 4th store for iConnect, which has opened two Irish establishments over the past 10 months and should open their 3rd in Derry .

Al Mana's commercial team, who has the privileges to dozens of luxury labels in the Middle East, managed by Wissam Al Mana. John McEvoy, a 33-year-old Co Tyrone local that assisted Apple for a number of years prior to moving to the Middle East, launched and runs iConnect for Al Mana.

The Qatari venture group reserved EUR8m for the Irish operation, but is boosting its plans following a solid performance since it opened, McEvoy reported. "We experienced an excellent 1st year and should do even better next year. We'll have to increase that [financial investment] during the following few years."

The Henry Street outlet, in a former Permanent TSB bank branch, shall open ahead of Christmas, and the premises will also furnish iConnect's European HQ. The business is in talks about other shop venues and might get a fifth Irish establishment launched before year end.

McEvoy mentioned that iConnect plans to have the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, that were revealed by Apple lately, available with Meteor soon. The Apple Watch, likely to be offered in early 2015, ought to help generate sales in a historically relaxed interval for vendors, he stated. "The ideal thing in my situation is a timepiece that has to be purchased in-store. Customers will plan to come in and put on the different braces and models prior to purchasing."

iConnect is completing the purchase of a company in Galway, yet John McEvoy wouldn't comment on particulars of the transaction.

In March, the business bought Stream Solutions, a Co Cork company specialising in Apple support and training, in a deal valued at EUR1m.

McEvoy said that iConnect may launch various local workplaces with specialized staff and product showrooms directed at academic and business clientele. It will market the new head-office and retail positions in the coming weeks and expects to fulfill them all quickly.

McEvoy is furthermore launching ten iConnect shops in Kuwait and Qatar for Al Mana. Wissam Al Mana has claimed his aspiration is to become the largest Apple premium merchant in the world.

Wissam Al Mana was at the launch of the first iConnect outlet in the Liffey Valley mall in Dublin last autumn. The second shop launched in the Whitewater centre, in Newbridge, Co Kildare, .

It'll open in the Foyleside mall in Derry before long, and will hire 10 individuals. That shop should have an Apple maintenance centre, training room and technical lab.

Al Mana owns the privileges to about forty labels in the Middle East, including Hermes, Roberto Cavalli and Armani. It runs the McDonald's franchise in Qatar, is the native distributor for Ford and Peugeot and operate considerable property pursuits.

Wissam Al Mana is even behind Saks Fifth Avenue outlets in Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait and Doha. McEvoy stated Al Mana was "very happy" with iConnect's rapid growth in Ireland. "You're always likely to be worried when you invest outside your nation, however we're far in front of where we said we'd be. It is family capital which they count on me to invest it intelligently."

He reported iConnect planned to be a long-lasting fixture in the commercial market. "We should have 100 people by 2015."