18th November 2018
Following Gateway's recent participation in the Going Global exhibition & conference in London, British companies looking beyond Europe and Brexit can easily prepare to expand to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Here are our four tips, based upon the interactions we had at the conference.
1. Market Research
Doing business in Abu Dhabi is very different to the UK. It's essential to understand the market entry routes; laws; competition; demand for your product/service; pricing structure; culture; special approvals; typical payment process. Your product/service may need adaptation to fit into the local market. If you aren't appointing a distributor, you will likely require a commercial license (Trade Licence) to operate. If you are intending to work in the UAE, send over staff or appoint expats locally, it will be necessary to supply visas and health insurance to your employees.
2. Start building a network of contacts
Success in Abu Dhabi is often down to 'Who You Know'. When researching the market, identify the companies that you would like to work with and start to make connections via LinkedIn. If possible, attend exhibitions and conferences to start building your brand awareness. Connect with the local trade advisors at the Department for International Trade. Join the British Business Group in Abu Dhabi as an associate member for access to over 300 members who are on-the-ground in Abu Dhabi and can share their knowledge and experience of living and working in the Capital.
3. Visit the UAE
There is only so much research you will be able to do from your desk. If you are emailing prospects in the UAE to start building relationships, this will only get you so far. In particular, if your target market is Emirati businesses or government entities, then face-to-face meetings will be essential. It should be noted that meetings are often arranged at the last minute, so being easily available will be helpful. Business in Abu Dhabi is very much relational prior to transactional so expect numerous meetings, often over coffee, to build trust and respect before getting to discussing contracts and collaborative opportunities. Not only will you need to prove your capability, you will need to show your commitment to doing business in Abu Dhabi with regular visits and at some point by establishing a commercial presence and setting up a business there in order to commence work. Gateway Group can help you with setting up your business in Abu Dhabi at that time.
4. Identify opportunities for your product or service
Before establishing your business in Abu dhabi, its essential to identify opportunities in order not to waste your investment too early. This can be done in a number of ways, e.g. attending conferences and exhibitions; regularly reading the local newspapers such as the Khaleej Times; engaging a local specialist to do business development on your behalf; monitoring the websites of prospective clients for tender opportunities; and, collaborating with similar entities to your own. It's worth noting, to participate in many tenders there will be a requirement to have an Abu Dhabi commercial licence - Gateway Group can arrange this for you.
Written by Jenny Hunt, Founding Partner & CEO Gateway Group of Companies
Gateway Group helps great companies to setup and succeed in Abu Dhabi
Gateway Group are experts in Abu Dhabi company formation. We use our on the ground knowledge and experience, as well as our large network of connections to help companies with their market entry. We have a proven track record of speedy, hassle free business setups for government entities, royal family, multinationals and SMEs. To find out Gateway can help your British business to expand to Abu Dhabi, email us: Info@GatewayToAbuDhabi.com
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By providing bespoke business setup, corporate local sponsorship, and visa processing in Abu Dhabi, award-winning Gateway Group uses its on-the-ground experience and knowledge to help companies make informed decisions that are right for their business and in line with their goals.
For assistance with your Abu Dhabi business set up, visa processing and ongoing Trade License renewals, Email us: Info@GatewayToAbuDhabi.com