Tips for Doing Business in Saudi Arabia
The Middle East is known for its booming oil industry and is a major hub for international business ventures. Saudi Arabia has one of the fastest growing economies, and it is now home to a wide range of travelers, professionals and organizations. In order to successfully do business in Saudi Arabia, here are a few things you'll need to know:
Learn the Culture
As with many Middle Eastern countries, Saudi Arabia presents a unique culture that may be unfamiliar to more Western professionals. According to language resource firm Kwintessential, Islam is the main religion there, and nearly all residents pray five times per day.
Friday is the holy day in Islam, which means every business is closed at this time, the news source noted. Due to this, most establishments are also closed on Thursdays, so those two days are considered the weekend. One of the major religious events - Ramadan - covers an entire month, and Muslims are permitted to only work six hours each day in addition to fasting. Your business may want to either restrict operations this month or avoid doing business in Saudi Arabia altogether.
Be Mindful of Gender Roles
While doing business in this country, you may quickly pick up on the relationships between men and women. According to the International Business Times, this can have a direct effect on your company.
For instance, men and women have limited interactions in public, and that includes a professional setting. Keep that in mind if you have women in high-ranking roles or want to send women to the country to conduct business. These gender roles extend to wardrobe as well, as women typically wear loose-fitting and modest clothes. You should also be careful discussing female relatives when talking with professional colleagues.
Overall, Saudi Arabia can be an ideal location for international business. But, its customs, etiquette and religion can be very different than many other nations, so be aware of the pros and cons ahead of time. In addition to learning about doing business in Saudi Arabia, find out tips about expat life in Saudi Arabia.
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