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Do I need a local business partner in the Middle East?


It really depends, the rules vary from country to country and from sector to sector.

So, for example, in Saudi Arabia, you are allowed to have a 100% foreign owned company in most sectors. Just up the road in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), however, the rules are completely different. There, if you are going to do business in the domestic economy, you will need a local business partner who owns 51% of your business. The exception in the UAE is if you set up in a Free Trade Zone and if you do that, then you will be exempt from that local partner requirement.

Author: Cynthia Dearin

Cynthia Dearin is an international business strategist, advisor, keynote speaker and author of Amazon best-seller Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires: Your Guide to Business Culture in the Middle East and North Africa. With 18 years of international experience, as an Australian diplomat and management consultant, she is the Founder and Managing Director of Dearin Associates and the International Business Accelerator that helps clients to access opportunities in fast-growing international markets around the world.

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