How can London exporters succeed in the Middle East?

May 19, 2018 · Guest post from Richie Santosdiaz, independent international trade expert

Screen shot 2018 05 19 at 14.17.26

Richie Santosdiaz interviews Joe Hepworth, CEO for the British Centres for Business based in Dubai.

The Middle East, in particular, the Gulf, proves to be one of interest and opportunity for many British exporters. From the strong historical ties to the current and future opportunities, such as with Dubai Expo 2020, there definitely is much focus in this part of the world from the UK and beyond.

For instance, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the UK’s largest export market in the Middle East and the 13th biggest globally. The UK exported £9.8 billion of goods and services in 2016, which was a 37% increase since 2009. Also, Saudi Arabia is the UK’s largest trading partner in the Middle East. The UK exported around £7 billion goods and services in 2014, while goods exports were 4.17 billion the same year. There are over 6,000 UK firms actively exporting goods to Saudi Arabia. There are various sectors penetrating the market and one of which is tech.

One of those successes has been the UK technology company Dyson, who launched its first flagship Dyson Demo store in the Middle East and Africa in Dubai Mall. Dyson Ltd is a British technology company. In 1978, founder and inventor James Dyson became frustrated with his vacuum cleaner's diminishing performance; he eventually invented the world’s first bagless vacuum cleaner. Today, Dyson technology is sold in 75 markets globally and over the past four years, Dyson revenue has more than doubled; by 2020, the company aims to hire another 3,000 engineers globally.

How exactly can a UK exporter, particular London based tech companies, new to (or even experienced but further looking to penetrate) the Middle East market expand into the market, especially given limited resources? The UK government has the Department for International Trade, whose aim is to help UK governments succeed internationally with their various regional offices throughout the UK, as well presences globally mainly based in the UK embassies and consulates.

The Middle East presents an interesting opportunity for UK exporters, in particular, the UAE. This includes the likes of upcoming opportunities – notably Dubai Expo 2020 as well as ongoing changes in the region like Saudi Vision 2030. Given both the opportunities as well as unfamiliarity of the market for most Brits, the UK also has other forms of support. Specifically, some might have heard of the British Centres for Business that is based in Dubai.

The British Centres for Business, or BCB, is a business-to-business professional services company established with the mandate to provide operational support and market entry services in the UAE to British companies. They work alongside the British government to deliver on-demand trade services, providing practical assistance, guidance and orientation for UK exporters and, through their incubators in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, direct market - entry support.

The British Centres for Business in Dubai is a member of the Overseas Business Network Initiative, which was created by the British Chambers of Commerce and now known as the Department for International Trade, working together to create an international business network, providing practical support for UK exporters.

For more information, see Richie's full interview with Joe Hepworth here.

For more information and support on doing business in the Middle East:

- Contact Joe Hepworth and his team at the British Centres for Business (BCB) for market entry support to help you get underway in the UAE.

- You can also contact a local Department for International Trade (DIT) trade adviser in the UK with respect to exporting in general.

- More information about Doing Business in the UAE.

- Check out The Institute of Export & International Trade’s Doing Business guide for the UAE.

This article was originally on Open To Export – Modified to include a tech component for London-based tech, urban, life sciences and creative exporters who are interested in expanding to the Gulf region, in particular, the UAE.

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