Thinking of doing business in Qatar? Here’s a quick guide for you
If doing a business in your own country requires a lot of study and planning, what does it take to do it in a foreign country like Qatar? It’s double the stress and effort!
So before you traipse into the Gulf state and fill out paperwork, immerse yourself first, as best you can, in the country. Take time to research, seek trusted counsel, and navigate the ins and outs of moving abroad.
Don’t immediately back out only because opening a business abroad is difficult. Just be mindful of the things that you need to know and get a grasp on everything you will need to learn. Once you do, you will realize that doing business in countries like Qatar isn’t really as hard as you thought.
We’ve rounded up some pointers that will help you get started.
1. Important Facts
First thing’s first: Learn about the facts. Qatar is one of the smallest Gulf states, covering an area of about 11,500 square kilometers. At present, it has an estimated population of 2.69 million, making it the 143rd most populous country on earth.
The country boasts huge natural gas reserves, and also invests heavily in health, education, infrastructure, and technology. Its official language is Arabic, but English is usually the preferred language within business circles. According to Qatar's Constitution, Sharia law is the main source of Qatari legislation.
2. Foreign Relations
It also makes sense to know about Qatar’s key trading partners—the United Kingdom is one. The UK serves as the Gulf’s second biggest trade partner for imports (a notable 9.20% overall imports).
British imports mainly consist of industrial equipment, electrical, car and power generation equipment. The value of the UK's invisible exports—legal, financial and consultancy services—to Qatar also reached just short of half-a-billion pounds in 2010.
3. Business Etiquette
Of course, it’s also crucial to discern common business etiquette. At the top of the list is showing and receiving hospitality. Expats shouldn’t refuse any food or beverage offered to them during meetings. They should have at least one cup of gahwa or Arabian coffee in line with the Qatari custom.
It’s also a good idea to practice learning a few phrases in Arabic. Qataris appreciate it when business partners know, or try to know, a bit of their language. Additionally, exchanging business cards is common, and it’s advisable that one side should be printed in Arabic.
4. Cultural Awareness
When an expat dips his or her toe into Qatar, it is expected that they learn about the land’s culture and customs, at least to a basic degree. Many Arab customs such as dress code and greetings should be properly embraced to avoid disappointing Qataris.
Business attire for men is typically a suit, while women are expected to cover their elbows and knees. Expatriates are also expected to treat women with the utmost respect. For example, as a man, shaking a woman’s hand is vetoed unless she offers to do so.
We hope this info has helped you. If you are currently planning to look for a job, feel free to comment on the article or browse through www.qatarliving.com/jobs.
Cover image - cudoo.com; inline image 1 - welcomeqatar.com, 2 - Getty Images, 3 - abudhabiculture.com, 4 - expatwoman.com.
haha why so serious kamran? take it easy; here, have some qahwa :-)
THIS IS NOT A GUIDE TO START A BUSINESS IN QATAR ... This is just the information how to stay in Qatar and interact with Qataris. Either you change the topic title or input the right information .. what and where to go and how to start a business in Qatar ...
ok; that's the soft bit of it done; now, for a part two where you go through the actual process of setting up a business in qatar; you know, the practical bits like the minimum capital investment one would need or a short guide through the various ministries and administrative procedures and licenses and what not. Best of luck if you do decide to take up that challenging part two :-)