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Mauve’s Guide to Doing Business in GCC Countries

Thinking of expanding your business into GCC countries? We make it simple.

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Are you thinking of expanding your business into Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or the United Arab Emirates? According to the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2020  study, in 2019, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations implemented thirty -five new reforms to make doing business in these countries easier, create jobs and support private enterprises. The GCC region’s ease of doing business score rose by 2.9 points. So, there has never been a better time to join these fast-growing economies.

When deciding to expand your business into new territory, there are many factors to take into consideration.

Here is our guide to doing business in GCC nations.

Top three considerations:

1. Which country will best suit your business?

While GCC nations are united based on their common outlooks, and similar cultural and political identities, laws, customs and key factors for doing business differ considerably from country to country. For example, Bahrain currently tops the list in terms of implementing business-related reform, bringing in an additional bankruptcy law, strengthening minority shareholder rights, and smoothing out the process of obtaining building permits, which takes a third less time than among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) economies.

If your business is dedicated to sustainability, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain all have net-zero carbon emission goals. Sustainability is a key aim of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Qatar’s National Vision 2030 and the UAE’s Energy Strategy 2050, while Oman and Kuwait recognised and adopted the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in 2015.

2. What is the infrastructure availability?

Having an in-depth understanding of a country’s infrastructure is key to establishing whether it is the right place to take your business and send your employees. You need to know things like how efficient the public transport system is, and what the housing situation is like.

Throughout GCC countries, infrastructure investment is accelerating, with many countries investing heavily in transport, education and healthcare, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. In 2021, Bahrain announced over twenty-two strategic infrastructure projects worth over $30 million.

While Kuwait is a strictly Muslim nation and things like alcohol and pork are illegal, the country is home to a significant expat infrastructure which includes international schools and newspapers, English-language TV and the availability of groceries from around the world.

3. What is the quality of life?

When considering setting up your business in a new country, it’s important to take into account the quality of life that will be available to you and your employees when working there.

The quality of life in many GCC countries is excellent. For example, in 2016, the UAE introduced its first Minister for Happiness and Wellbeing, while Bahrain ranks 1st in the Middle East and North Africa for feeling at home, finding friends, and personal happiness, and Oman’s low crime rates and lack of extreme weather makes one of the safest countries in the world.

The Expat Insider 2021 Regional Review showed the UAE ranking highly in terms of quality of life and joins Oman and Qatar ranking highly in safety and security. Qatar also shines in the Health & Well-Being subcategory, where it ranked by far the highest in the GCC region.

Expand into GCC countries with Mauve Group

An Employer of Record solution helps you explore the prospect of global business expansion before you fully commit. It’s the perfect solution for small businesses with limited experience of moving into overseas markets.

You can explore new markets and opportunities without setting up a local business entity, while taking care of payroll, compliance, and other essential employment processes. Mauve’s Employer of Record is designed to streamline the global expansion process for small businesses.

Looking to establish your own entity in a GCC country or elsewhere? Our team of experienced local experts can help you set up your business wherever you like through our Global Business Expansion solutions.

Get in touch to find out how we can help your SME go global.