These are the important things every investor should be knowing when planning to do business in Bahrain. In this list you will find all the essential points you need to be an informed decision maker when choosing a new jurisdiction for business. Here is 12 things every businessperson needs to know.
Bahrain is a small island country located in the Arabian Gulf with Qatar to the South East and Saudi Arabia to the West.
#2 Business environment
Bahrain has great business opportunities as it is a major financial center and business hub in the Middle East. Bahrain is also very globally-oriented, making it the most welcoming country in the region to do business for foreign investors and workers.
Given its humble population of only 1,378,000, Bahrain’s GDP in 2016 amounted to US$31.823 billion. It is a high-income country with GDP per capita of US$24,119.
#4 Popular industries
Main industries in Bahrain are petroleum refining, aluminum smelting, cement production, financial services and tourism.
#5 Doing business rankings
The Bahrain government continuously puts much efforts to facilitate business growth and reduce red tape. In 2017, the country ranks 63 on the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, up 3 positions from its 2016 ranking.
#6 Corporate tax
There is no company tax, sales tax, withholding tax and VAT tax in Bahrain, except for the oil industry.
#7 Legal landscape
Unlike U.A.E., companies in Bahrain can be 100% foreign owned except for certain business sectors.
#8 Company registration in Bahrain
The most common type of business entity is a limited liability company (LLC), also known as a WLL. A LLC requires at least 2 directors and 2 shareholders. Although there is no requirement on the nationality of the directors and shareholders, it is mandatory to appoint at least one manager, who ordinarily resides in Bahrain.
As a Muslim country, the legal system in Bahrain is based on Sharia Law, with several components of the British civil law, due to its past relationship with Britain. There are also patent and intellectual property law to protect businesses.
#10 Business culture
Bahrain is a hospitable country and its business culture is largely similar to other countries in the Middle East.
Business in Bahrain progresses at a much slower pace comparing to Western countries. During meetings, Bahraini generally spend a lot of time talking about general issues such as personal health and family. No major decision is expected to be made after the first or second meeting, before you have earned their trust.
In any context, you should always greet the seniors first. It is also customary to stand up when a senior person joins the meeting. In addition, it is important to only use your right hand to shake hands with Bahraini. Do not shake hands with a woman without her permission, because not all of them are comfortable shaking hands with a man she does not know.
Lastly, although English is widely spoken in Bahrain, it is wise and beneficial to learn some simple Arabic greetings and responses. Using them at the right moments, and you will earn people’s respects.
If you have an exciting business venture and wish to establish its presence in Bahrain, do not hesitate to contact Healy Consultants. We are experts in business formation and support services in Bahrain since 2003.