Entering the Market in Bahrain
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Entering the Market
Bahrain has enhanced its reputation on the world stage as a centre for glitz, glamour and excitement. With over 8 million tourist visitors per year, the sunny Persian Gulf 36 island archipelago is associated with a liberal permissiveness that extends to its business culture. With Jenson Button owning a property in the country and Michael Jackson a notorious former resident, the Middle East kingdom is a popular destination with the jet set. Setting up a business in Bahrain gives you also access to that.
With 4000 years of architectural cultural heritage existing alongside spectacular modern buildings and developments that have even seen islanders reclaiming the surrounding sea, Bahrains sense of ambition and 'can do' attitude won't let small obstacles like the sea stand its way.
Why Expand to Bahrain?
Perhaps the biggest selling points for companies expanding a business in Bahrain are the attractive taxation and trade incentives. Recognising 40 years ago the need to diversify beyond oil and gas, the country has made no attempts to hide its intention to attract foreign investment, with banking and financial services, education, healthcare and construction all offering opportunities. Although unemployment is high, with the kingdom pursuing a policy of privatisation on its ports, airport services, transport and utilities, the incentives for investors are huge. Licensing a business in Bahrain is also an option. Geographically located between the major markets of the Middle East, with the 25km King Fahd causeway linking it to the gulfs biggest market, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain is a gateway to the region and boasts the most educated and skilled workforce in the area. The policy of openness also extends to foreign exchange control and trade, with no barriers, and the state enjoys a historically stable economy and strong trade with the UK, with the export of British goods rising 28% over the past few years. Starting a business in Bahrain may be your way out of recession.
Main Industrial Sectors/Growth Sectors
The key industries where UK companies will find investment opportunities expanding a business in Bahrain are:
- Financial services
With financial services making up over 27% of the economy, Bahrain is a centre for banking in the gulf. With a skilled banking workforce and decades of experience, particularly in Islamic banking, the well-regulated industry is prominent in the market.
- Education and training
With Bahrain keen to invest in its population through education and training and the high regard with which UK services are held, opportunities for expansion exist throughout the economy.
- High value manufacturing
With the Bahrain International Investment Park established to offer tax and trade incentives to businesses investing in manufacturing, the kingdom has a thriving market with over 80 companies securing approval to trade in the park.
UK expertise in healthcare is a valued commodity in Bahrain, with the development of standards of care a priority to the Bahraini government. It probably the best sector if you are registering a business in Bahrain.
- Business Services and IT
Like education, UK consultancy knowledge has a strong reputation and IT is a growth market, as the kingdom continues to invest in technologies to complement its oil industry.
- Construction and Infrastructure
With an already strong infrastructure in place, Bahrain is looking to enhance its status as a business centre for trade in the gulf. With plans for airport expansion and a new bridge to Qatar already in place, the government continues to invest in new construction. Incorporating a business in Bahrain in this sector may be your ace up your sleeve.
Challenges foreign companies face
Although the country maintains a reputation as a liberal and open society, it is still an Islamic state and when expanding a business in Bahrain remember that customs need to be respected. During Ramadan it is forbidden to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours and it is important to be mindful of social etiquette, particularly in meetings. However, with low corruption and crime and a strong infrastructure, Bahrain is free of many of the pitfalls faced when investing in foreign economies.
Organisations that can assist with Entering the Market
Simplified Global Payroll Managing payroll in multiple countries is complicated with different systems, deadlines, and languages in each country, lack of reporting, and constantly changing laws and regulations. Trying to manage global payroll via fax and email with excel spreadsheets leads to data security issues, fines, and penalties for non-compliance. Blue Marble has solved global payroll challenges with cloud-based technology, customized aggregated monthly reporting, and a hybrid service model in 150+ countries around the world.
PEO Worldwide is an international PEO offering employer of record, payroll, employee benefits management, HR and compliance services throughout the world.
When expanding your business to Bahrain, donít forget to protect your brand. We provide Trademark Registration Services in Bahrain and in all the Middle East.
Need to register a company or setting up a company?
Sovereign offers a range of advisory and support services to assist companies of all sizes to establish successful business operations in foreign markets.
Do you need advice from an expert in your field, on the ground? Need help finding the best route to market for your product or service?