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October, 2016

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How To Use Social Media For Your Business In The Middle East.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

To tap into the expanding Middle East market, understanding the usage of social media in the Middle East is vital. If your business is well-established, you can build brand loyalty, address customer issues directly and earn more customers by building brand repute. For those who are starting out their business, social media acts as a great platform for building your business. Visuals like videos and images are more effective to overcome the barrier of language in the Middle East – though English is widely spoken, it is the Arabic language that takes precedence over English.

Social media usage

A high percentage of social media users in the Middle East are tech-savvy, young and proficient in English. Understandably, English is slightly more widely used compared to Arabic language. Also, over 60 percent of the users are males. Topmost topics are movies, music, community issues and sports. So if you’ve got any products related to these topics, don’t miss the opportunity to promote them. It is a great tool to use especially on a budget, just know who to target and create a plan to do so, and you will have no problems.

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According to University of Oregon’s journalism professor, Damien Radcliffe, there are 80 million Facebook or FB users. Though Egypt has the most number of FB users at 27 million but it is UAE that has the most active users, according to his 2015 report on social media usage in the Middle East. Also, FB video viewing in the region is much higher compared to others around the world except for the United States. Google data indicates that the viewing time of YouTube videos by Middle Easterners seem to be growing annually. Twitter’s Periscope, which was just introduced in early 2015 for live video streaming, is already a hit in Turkey – it has the most number of users after the US.

When it comes to messaging services, Twitter users are very active in nations like Libya and Jordan though Saudi Arabia and UAE have a higher percentage of users. Also, around 45 percent of Middle East Twitter users fall into the 18 -24 age group. WhatsApp is the primary social media network in Qatar, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, according to Qatar’s Northwestern University. It is popular as a platform for e-commerce business, discussion of everyday topics like cooking and more.

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Instagram, which is a photo-sharing platform that is owned by Facebook, has an estimate of 25 million users with Saudi Arabia leading the way at 10.7 million users according to Radcliffe’s report. TNS’ 2015 study indicates that WhatsApp is the preferred channel for 41 percent of social media users in twenty Middle East countries. Looking into the usage of social media in the Middle East helps you to decide on the best channels for promoting your business effectively based on demographics, product features and other aspects.

For information about exporting to the Middle East, or how we can help your business, please call us on +97143206673 or email us: info@gdtme.com

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Country Specific Tips for Doing Business in the Middle East.

Monday, October 10th, 2016

shutterstock_264221285Some businessmen assume that the Middle East is politically unstable and refrain from doing business there. Only specific countries like Yemen and Libya are politically unstable. United Arab Emirates or UAE is politically stable; numerous UK-based companies have invested their money here especially in Dubai.

Since Middle East has its own customs and cultures that differ from the West and other places, it only seems wise to know beforehand certain things before doing business there. Here are some country specific tips for performing business in the Middle East:

Honour and trust business culture

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According to researchers from the Kellogg School of Management, the Western business culture relies on dignity culture, which is set apart from social interactions. Westerners tend to take a business negotiation or dealing as an issue to be resolved and adopt an open, trusting and information sharing approach.

Middle Eastern business culture relies on honour and trust culture, which is inclusive of social interactions. Middle Easterners take a business dealing more personally, considering it as competition against other businessmen. Also, they only extend their trust and share more information after building a relationship with their respective business partners, which comes about after many business meetings. For example, Emiratis may ask you similar questions many times to gauge the consistency of your replies for determining whether you’re telling the truth.

While Westerners adopt a more neutral approach, Middle Easterners may resort to emotional tactics like sympathy and frustration to gain the upper hand in the negotiation. For a business meeting venue with Middle Easterners, consider selecting a crowded souk where there are many social interactions.

Business etiquette

Everyday values and life revolve around Middle East’s main religion, Islam. So don’t arrange a meeting with a Middle Easterner on a Friday, during any of the daily five prayer times or Ramadan month. Also, Middle Easterners are particular about respect especially when it comes to elderly people. Middle Eastern men normally shake hands with other men during an introduction. They may even hold hands while walking – the tip is not to pull your hand away, showing disrespect.

Business dealings

shutterstock_215168539If you’re looking for a base, Dubai, which is the Middle East’s commercial capital, is the answer. But remember if you’re a non-GCC national, your ownership of whatever company you open in UAE would be limited to 49 percent – 51 percent must be owned by a GCC national. Opening a bank account in the Middle East can be time-consuming and costly due to expenses pertaining to the bank’s anti-laundering regulations. Wire transfer, PayPal and Western Union are some great ways to bypass the bank and get money for the goods that you export from or import into Middle East.

For more information about exporting to the Middle East, or how we can help your business, please call us on +97143206673 or email us: info@gdtme.com

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How to Effectively Sell Your Products Overseas.

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

How to Effectively Sell Your Products Overseas.

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Considering the booming m-commerce and e-commerce industries, establishing your company’s website for selling your products overseas is wise. Two highly potential markets where there are huge investment opportunities are GCC and Middle East, which has over 360 million people. By 2020, around 40 percent of e-commerce growth is expected in GCC, according to Frost & Sullivan’s Sarwant Singh. Some of the possible setbacks when it comes to trading overseas are currency fluctuations, packaging differences and transportation or logistics issues.

Ways to effectively sell your products overseas.

To overcome the issue of currency fluctuations, discuss with your foreign exchange bureau or bank and set the rate for exchanging the currency when the times comes – it’s akin to a forward contract. Also, set acceptable payment terms, timeline for delivery, packaging and manufacturing processes and quote’s validity clause – doing these things ensures that you don’t mess up your pricing and lose your nett profit.

shutterstock_323328491You may have to pay import duties, export duties and local taxes when you export your products overseas. If you decide to export your products to a non-English speaking country, consider translating the language of the product instructions, labelling and packaging from English into the local language. It’s a great way to promote your products and gain the potential of more local sales.

Another key aspect to consider is product packaging colours. For example, in the Middle East, blue and green are favoured colours while red is considered evil. So choose the colours wisely to win over more customers for your business.

Another key aspect about exporting overseas is logistics. If you decide to use international shipping services like DHL and UPS for your m-commerce or e-commerce business, remember to fill in the appropriate customs declaration form. If the delivery route to your customer’s place is very difficult, you may end up paying a lot for transportation or logistics, which may mean no nett profit or even loss. So think twice before committing to any customer order.
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If your company is located in the UK, consider adding the tag or label, “Made in the UK” – many people in various parts of the world think high quality is synonymous with UK. When you set the price for your product’s overseas sale, you need consider aspects like duties, extra packaging expenses and other aforementioned items.
Resources and assistance for your export activities

For resources pertaining to effectively selling your products overseas, refer to Department for International Trade (previously called UK Trade & Investment) if your company is based in the UK. Those in the US can refer to U.S. Department of Commerce. To make life a lot easier, you can get help from a company like us here at Gdt which have over 30 years of expertise in importing and exporting activities especially in the Middle East and GCC. Gdt handles the core marketing and sales functions that a company’s export department normally does.


For more information about exporting or doing business in the Middle East or how we can help please call us +97143206673 or email: info@gdtme.com

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