WTC Leeuwarden webinar series - Promising city: Riyadh


Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia. Currently there are almost 33 million inhabitants in Saudi Arabia, of which 5 million in the capital Riyadh. The country is the biggest exporter of oil in the world, which comes with a large network of pipelines connecting oil and gas fields, refineries and ports which are a very important for the local economy.

Saudi Arabia strives for a more diversified economy, this goal is linked to the “Vision 2030” project. In 2016, the vision has been introduced. The vision is to build around three primary themes: a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation. Tourism, entertainment, construction and healthcare are industries which are big investment projects. According to Hasan El Kojo – director of World Trade Center Saudi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is striving to become a vibrant society, with a thriving economy and ambitious nation with being transparent, increasing employability and local and international partnerships.

Francois-Xavier Depireux , CEO of LD Export gave an insight with his experience about doing business in Riyadh and Saudi Arabia. Here some practical tips:

  • Use your title, during meetings the opposite party will make sure that you are talking to the right people. If you are a general manager, the general manager from the organisation will be there as well.
  • Be on time!
  • When you have dinner, don’t insist to pay, keep in mind that you are the guest.

Know a few Arabic words. When entering a business meeting you can greet your business partner with ‘’Habibi’’ this will give a be introduction to connect with the business partner. Inshallah is a word which is very often used. Trust is also a very important factor while doing business. They want to get to know you. Therefor the first 10-15 minutes of the meeting you will talk about other things then business. Another influence for trust is visiting the business partner regularly. While having the meeting you can talk about culture and tradition, your family, local cuisine and your own life in Europe (they love Europe). Subjects you should avoid conflicts in Arab countries, politics, terrorism, private life, countries leaders and values of the Islam.

The key to become successful in Saudi Arabia, is giving the full package. Make sure that the team is ready, that all the information is up to date. When you want to show your product or company, make it hard copy or physical. Don’t refer to your website or Google.

Another important example is the phases of negotiation. The Arab do not take the first offer. While negotiating keep the European identity. While negotiating, be patience, it can take a while for the offer has been finalized. For the Dutch entrepreneurs the use of WhatsApp instead of Email for doing business is not very regular, in Saudi Arabia it is. They use WhatsApp for everything.

Want to know more about doing business in Riyadh? Then take a look at the webinar or contact us.

Want to know more about using the word inshallah? Francois-Xavier Depireux wrote an article about it. Click here.


  • Introduction by Mr. Evert Jan Schouwstra, WTC Leeuwarden
  • Presenting the region by video
  • Presentation about the region
  • Opportunities for dutch companies
  • Cultural differences
  • Q&A

Webinar and presentations

Download presentation(s) & recording webinar | RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA

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