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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Brunei

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Brunei: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Brunei

Suits for men and modest attire for women are recommended. In general, men and women do not shake hands with each other. Do not point with your index finger (use your right thumb). Gifts should be presented with the right hand. When sitting down, do not point the soles of your feet towards anyone.

Office Hours

Mon-Thurs 0800-1700, Sat 0800-1200.

Government office hours: Mon-Thurs and Sat 0745-1215 and 1330-1630. Shortened office hours operate during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Economy

Brunei's economy is based on offshore oil and natural gas deposits and investments. Brunei's small population enjoys a very high standard of living and receives free health care and education (through until university). Unemployment is 3.7%, inflation is 2.7%.

The economy has grown slowly in recent years due to reduced oil and gas production. Risk also stems from volatility in oil prices. The government is making efforts to reduce dependence on oil and gas in order to ensure that current standards of living remain sustainable.

GDP

US$11.9 billion (2010).

Main exports

Crude oil, natural gas and petroleum products.

Main imports

Chemicals, food, machinery and transport equipment and manufactured goods.

Main trading partners

Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore, Australia

Keeping in Touch in Brunei

Telephone

Coin- and card-operated public telephones are available at post offices and in major shopping areas. Telephone cards are sold at post offices and some shops. Reasonably priced international calls can be made from mobile phones with local SIM cards, public phones and internet cafes.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with many international mobile phone companies. Local SIM cards can be purchased from Brunei's two mobile phone operators, DST Communications (www.dst-group.com) and b.mobile (www.bmobile.com.bn). There is good mobile phone coverage in the main cities and towns.

Internet

Internet cafes are available in Bandar Seri Begawan. Most hotels have internet computers or Wi-Fi.

Media

Brunei's media are neither diverse nor free. The privately-owned press is either owned or controlled by the sultan's family, or exercises self-censorship on political and religious matters. A press law provides prison terms of up to three years for reporting "false news". The main English-language newspaper is the Borneo Bulletin (www.borneobulletin.com.bn). All local broadcast media are operated by government-controlled Radio Television Brunei (www.rtb.gov.bn) Foreign TV stations are available via a cable network. Access to the internet is said to be unrestricted.

Post

Postal services (www.post.gov.bn) are efficient and reliable. Airmail letters to Europe take two to five days. Courier companies include DHL (www.dhl.com.bn).

Post Office hours

Mon-Thu & Sat 0800-1630, Fri 0800-1100 & 1400-1600