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Qatar: Doing business and staying in touch

Doing Business in Qatar

Politeness and patience are key ingredients for successful business interaction. A first meeting may well focus more on polite, personal questions – family, travel arrangements etc, before moving on to business matters in a second meeting.

Office Hours

Sat-Thurs 0800-1200 and 1600-1900. Government office hours are Sat-Wed 0700-1400. Some are open on Thursday mornings too.

Economy

In a world of faltering economies, Qatar has continued to prosper in recent years; in 2010 Qatar had the world's highest GDP per capita. While agriculture is limited by climate and water resources, the Qatari government has bolstered indigenous industries such as petrochemicals and refining, ammonia, fertilisers, steel, cement and commercial ship repair.

Still, it’s oil, and in particular gas reserves, which have transformed Qatar from an impoverished outcrop on the Arabian Peninsula into one of the richest countries in the world.  By 2007, it was the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas in the world. Economic growth has slowed down since the dizzy heights of 19% growth in 2010 (2012 saw it halve to 6.2%) but the country is still outstripping the US and the majority of Europe, stuck in the doldrums of the economic crisis. Qatar is a member of OPEC and the World Trade Organisation, with petroleum accounting for more than 70% of the government's revenue, 60% of GDP and the third largest proved natural gas reserves in the world.

GDP

US$165 billion (2015).

Main exports

Oil and gas.

Main imports

Consumer goods, machinery and food.

Main trading partners

Japan, South Korea, India, Singapore, UAE and China.

Keeping in Touch in Qatar

Telephone

There are no area codes.

Mobile Phone

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone operators. Mobile phone use is pretty much a national addiction; coverage is excellent.

Internet

There are plenty of internet cafes in Doha.

Media

The Qatari media industry is most famous for the TV News channel Al-Jazeera, which launched in 1996. Al-Jazeera English, a 24/7 English language news channel launched in 2006, was estimated to reach 250 million homes worldwide by 2011. Like all Qatari state media, it is owned by the government. And while there has been no censorship of the media since 1995, print and broadcast media tend to self-censor, and rarely criticise Qatar, Saudi Arabia or other Gulf allies.

The main newspapers are privately owned, but still have links to the ruling family. The main dailies are Al-Watan, Ar-Rayah and Al-Sharq, while the main English language newspapers are Gulf Times, The Peninsula and Qatar Tribune. As the expat population of Doha has grown, listings magazines have been launched, including Time Out Doha and Qatar Happening, both free. These are the best places for cultural listings and what’s going on in the city.

Unlike most countries, print media in Qatar is expanding. Oryx Advertising is a major magazine publisher, with titles including Qatar Today and Qatar Al Youm, monthly business magazines (in English and Arabic respectively). It also publishes Women Today, the only magazine for working women and GLAM, a fashion magazine.

The Qatar Broadcasting Service is the state-run radio station, offering programmes in Arabic, English, French and Urdu. The BBC World Service can be received on FM in Doha.

Post

Airmail to Europe takes up to one week.

Post Office hours

Sun-Thurs 0700-2000, Sat 0800-1100 and 1700-1900.

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