Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Doing business here is not for the faint-hearted. It’s hot work, with temperatures soaring as high as 54 degrees Celsius in summer. That said, there’s plenty of opportunity for New Zealand companies as the country diversifies its interests away from oil and gas.
Download our Saudi Arabia market guide on this page, it is full of information to get you prepared before you tackle this market.
Here's a snapshot - you can find more detailed data in our guide.
|Export market ranking||NZ's 20th largest export market (20171)|
|Free trade agreements||None|
|Ease of Doing Business ranking2||92 of 190|
|Corruption Perceptions Index ranking3||57 of 180|
Getting to Saudi Arabia
There are no direct flights from New Zealand to Saudi Arabia. However, there are airlines that will take you there with one or two stops, these include Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad. The flight time with one stop is around 23 hours but it can take up to 43, depending on stopover times.
Getting visas for Saudi Arabia can be a timing consuming process and we recommend you start early and get in touch with the Saudi Arabia Consulate in Auckland for advice.
When to visit
It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with Saudi Arabia’s national holidays as some businesses may close during these times. It’s definitely best to avoid Ramadan. July and August are also best avoided due to high heat and many locals being away on holiday.
Before you go, check Safe Travel for travel advisories on Saudi Arabia.
As a country that operates under Sharia law (Muslim law), it’s important to get to grips with some of the implications of doing business in Saudi Arabia. Here are some tips to help you.
- There are five sets of prayers each day and all businesses are generally closed for 15 to 30 minutes during prayer time.
- Alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia. Under no circumstances attempt to enter with any alcohol on you. Pork / pig-related products are also illegal, so don’t bring any of these sorts of products with you.
- Men and women do not mix freely in Saudi Arabia. As a general rule men do not approach or interact with women they do not know or they have not been introduced to.
- Modesty in dress, particularly for women, is expected. An abaya (the long black robe that most Saudi women wear) is obligatory in most parts of Saudi Arabia. Men should also dress modestly (no shorts or going bare chested in public).
- The working week is from Sunday to Thursday with Friday being the Muslim holy day and Saturday being the second day of the weekend.
Download our guide for more about doing business in Saudi Arabia.
Working in-marketGetting the most out of your visit means hitting the ground running. Co-working is an excellent option if you’re staying put for more than a few days. Facilities vary, but typically you can expect a desk, and access to wifi, printer / scanner, tea / coffee and a lounge area. Some facilities may offer extended perks such as parking and on-site cafes. If you’re visiting the market solo, it also means the chance to work in the company of other like-minded business people and freelancers. Co-working spaces can be searched by city on Nomad List.
Connect with NZTE in Saudi Arabia
If you’re an NZTE customer and preparing to visit Saudi Arabia, please get in touch with your Customer Manager to discuss your plans and possible areas of assistance. If you don’t have a Customer Manager, contact our Advisor Team for more information.
New Zealand's relationship with Saudi Arabia
If you're looking for more information about our trade and diplomatic relationship with Saudi Arabia, take a look at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website. Their Saudi Arabia page is packed with information, including a list of embassies and details of recent official visits.