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Setting up a business in Saudi Arabia

The MENA region is home to a vast and varied economy, estimated to be worth over USD 3tr as of last year.

Within this region is an equally diverse set of countries, each home to its own business practices, incorporation processes, and thriving industries. The largest of these, worth around USD 700bn , is Saudi Arabia. As a result, it attracts entrepreneurs from the world over, looking to gain a foothold in its large and growing economy.

This vast economy is made up by a wide range of sectors and subsectors. Outside of oil and fuels, Saudi Arabia’s largest industries include machinery, dairy products, and pharmaceuticals.

So, whatever industry you are in, there’s almost certainly a market for it in Saudi Arabia. And with the help of Creative Zone, your business could be up and running in no time at all.

In this article, we are going to look at:

  • The benefits of setting up a business in Saudi Arabia
  • The top business sectors in Saudi Arabia
  • Steps to start a business in Saudi Arabia
  • Cost of opening a business in Saudi Arabia

Benefits of setting up a business in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is a far more open and welcoming business environment than many people may believe. The Kingdom recently ranked 62 out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index , putting it ahead of others in the region such as Qatar and Oman – and ahead of other large and prestigious business hubs such as India and Luxembourg.

The Saudi Tax system is also favourable to overseas investors, with minimal liability for income and sales tax. The country’s commitment to moving away from an oil-reliant economy also means much greater support and resources available for businesses in other sectors.

Finally, Saudi Arabia benefits from a low crime rate, and high standards of education and healthcare, making it a great base for expatriates.

Top business sectors in Saudi Arabia
Unsurprisingly, the largest industry in Saudi Arabia is oil and mineral fuels, accounting for around 80% of the country’s exports. This is followed by a range of plastics, metals, and organic and inorganic chemicals.

Beyond these is a wide range of sizeable industries, encompassing everything from foodstuffs, paints and dyes, electricals, auto parts, glassware, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and much more.

Steps to start a business in Saudi Arabia

The first thing to do before navigating the Saudi Arabia company formation process is book in for a free consultation with Creative Zone. We will help you gain a complete understanding of the company formation process and the country’s business customs.

After your consultation, we will guide you through the following company incorporation process:

Step 1 – Choose your industry and business structure

Firstly, you will need to outline the industry you wish to work in, and the activities that you intend to undertake. This will determine whether it is best to setup in mainland Saudi or in a free economic zone. It will also dictate the type of license and legal entity that you require.

At this stage, you will also need to gain approval from the Saudi Ministry of Commerce. As part of this process, you will need to prove that you have the funds and capability to invest in the country.

Step 2 – Trade name registration

Next you will need to choose and register your company name. There are a couple of additional factors to keep in mind here. Most importantly, your name cannot be too similar to any competitors, and it must not be offensive or blasphemous.

Step 3 – Submit application and supporting documents

At this stage, you can apply for your license to trade in Saudi Arabia. As well as a completed application form and initial business plan, you will also need to present all or some of the following documents:

  • Proof of ID and address for directors and shareholders
  • Passport copies for shareholders and directors
  • Copy of trade name confirmation
  • Memorandum of Association (MOA)
  • Articles of Association (AOA)
  • Bank reference letter

You will also need a business visa to live, work, and reside in Saudi Arabia. Again, Creative Zone can manage this process for you.

What is the cost of opening a business in Saudi Arabia?

Without knowing the details of your business, it is very difficult to estimate a cost for setting up in Saudi Arabia.

There are many outside factors that may influence price, including location, company size, industry, and more.

For a full breakdown of the costs involved, arrange a free consultation with Creative Zone.

Start your business in Saudi Arabia with Creative Zone

All businesses require a license to trade in Saudi Arabia. And while the steps required of overseas investors are not too complicated, a certain amount of prior knowledge is required. Specifically, it’s vital to ensure that your applications for your business/visa/ license are all completely free from mistakes.

This can be somewhat stressful, so as we have advised throughout this article, the fast-track to getting up and running is through working with a company formation specialist.

Here at Creative Zone, we offer you the best solutions to start your company in Saudi Arabia. You get fast, reliable and unbiased advice on your unique business setup requirements. We can help you choose the right kind of license for your business activity and take you through the entire process from start to finish.

You can let us deal with the hassle of registering a company while you focus on your business. And working with us means you get the best budget friendly and cost-effective solution to help make your business dream a reality.

Over 10 years, Creative Zone has helped more than 36,000 entrepreneurs set up their businesses. Whether it be a mainland business setup, offshore company setup, free zone company setup, or issuing of trade licenses and any related activity for registering a company, Creative Zone is your one-stop-shop.

Our customer-first focus and our staff who speak 22 languages mean you get a tailored package to suit your specific needs. We have worked with clients from around the world, setting them up in over 200 different business activities.

Let Creative Zone make your journey into business ownership quick and hassle-free.


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