To say that business is booming in Dubai, would be the understatement of the century. However, before you uproot your life and company and head for this gorgeous country, there are a few things you should know about doing business in the glittering city of Dubai.
Dubai has and will continue to embrace western visitors and business partners, however, it is expected that you have at least a rudimentary understanding of the culture. This is an Islamic country, which means holidays will differ and there is an expected dress code for both female and male business partners.
- Handshakes between opposite sex may be forbidden to some so wait for a hand to be offered.
- During Ramadan, businesses close at 1pm until sundown
- Common Arabic greetings such as as-salaamu aleikum- Peace be upon you
Religions of all types are allowed in Dubai, however, it is important to remember the majority are Islamic and even the laws of the country are based on this faith. Certain things are banned in the country, for example:
- Public displays of affection
- Alcohol during religious holidays
- Criticizing Islam
- Friday is the Day of Prayer and rest (no meetings or work)
You should also know that all members of the faith adhere to the five prayer times daily.
Foreigners are not expected to participate in the various Islam activities but when it comes to hiring locally or setting up business meetings, you will need to keep these things in mind.
Word of Mouth
The city may be ultra modern but there is still a strong element of word of mouth. This means you want to get your name out there but ensure it is positive. Interactions are usually much more productive in person, which means emails and phone conversations will not get you far. Networking in Dubai is definitely hands on, so get out there, have drinks and make sure you stay in contact.
At the end of the day, the word for business in Dubai is respect. Take the time to learn as much as you can about the country and its inhabitants while operating with strong personal commitment. This means if you make an appointment, keep it and be on time. When you are hosting the appointment, offer refreshments or set it up at a popular restaurant or hotel. In all ways, show your potential business partners the utmost respect and you will go much further doing business in Dubai.