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Business Opportunities – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017


  • Capital: Riyadh
  • Population 28.2 million
  • Area 2.24 million sq km (864,869 sq miles)
  • Major language Arabic
  • Major religion Islam
  • Currency Riyal


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the main players in the Arab world.


Its strategic importance is built on its geographical size (twice that of France and Germany combined), its prestige as the custodian of Islam’s two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina,  and its status as a major oil producer, with c. 16% of the world’s known oil reserves.


The Head of state is prime minister King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud who acceded to the Saudi throne, at the age of 79, on the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah in January 2015.  He was Governor of Riyadh Province for 48 years before becoming Defence Minister in 2011 and Crown Prince a year later.


The Saudi population is very youthful, with almost 60% percent of the country’s citizens under the age of 30.


Saudi Arabia has the highest per-capita YouTube use of any country in the world. It is reportedly home to more than 40% of all active Twitter users in the Arab region.




The economy is struggling right now in KSA across pretty much all sectors.


Saudi consumers are getting squeezed by the Government’s plan to rein in its spending and reduce the country’s dependence on energy exports after a two-year oil price slump.  Subsidies for gasoline, electricity and water have been slashed, alongside public sector salaries (a major event in a country where the state sector employs around two-thirds of working nationals).


The low oil revenues of the past two years have also forced the government to take the axe to its spending programme. That has had a big impact on the construction sector in particular, which relies on state-funded projects for much of its work, but other sectors have also been affected.


Saudi Arabia is encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. Over 6 million foreign workers play an important role in the Saudi economy, particularly in the oil and service sectors; at the same time, however, Riyadh is struggling to reduce unemployment among its own nationals.

Historically, Saudi Arabia has focused diversification efforts on power generation, telecommunications, natural gas exploration, and petrochemical sectors. More recently, however, the government has approached investors about expanding the role of the private sector in the healthcare, education and tourism industries.



Doing Business in Saudi Arabia with GDT


GDT has been operating in the Kingdom for over 25 years and whilst there is no doubt that conditions in KSA right now are tough, we remain well placed to help our clients identify new business opportunities.


GDT operates across many commercial sectors from automotive, to construction and beyond and our breadth of knowledge and years of experience means that we can identify opportunities for delivering business growth even in the most challenging conditions.

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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.


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.


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:

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