information for global expats

Business Groups, Associations and Networking for Expats in Saudi Arabia

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: December 2015

No business is an island, and networking is an essential part of Saudi business culture. There are numerous networking groups, clubs and professional associations dedicated to business and individual professions. You can find out more about them in Saudi business magazines and journals, and on websites such as that of the local chamber of commerce, International Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia and Council of Saudi Chambers.

Typically, you will have to sign up to the business group to become a member and pay an annual membership fee. In return, you will gain access to the group's networking events, publications, online resources and consultation services. There is detailed information on how to become a member, along with various types of membership and the respective fees on the group’s website. Most of these groups have regional and local branches.

Among the major business groups and networks are:

  • Dallah Albaraka – multi-sector group; healthcare, food and financial services
  • Al-Murjan Group – leading association in investment and development.
  • Al-Turki – oil industry, infrastructure and ICT

There are many more available on the Saudi Net site.

There are no networks specifically dedicated to women in business in Saudi Arabia, as women are not allowed to do business. There are, however, numerous professional networks and associations dedicated to individual professions, such as the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association.

As elsewhere in the world, online networking sites have also become very popular among professionals in Saudi Arabia. These networks enable companies and individuals to create online profiles and join interest groups. They can be useful tools for self-promotion, recruitment and making new contacts in your field. The most widely used networking site among professionals in Saudi Arabia is the global networking site LinkedIn.

Expat business people may also be interested in the country-specific business groups in Saudi Arabia. A good starting point is to approach the respective country's Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia. Most Chambers run clubs both for business people from a particular country and Saudi businessmenwho want to do business with that country. These clubs offer consultation services and organise networking events for their members. For other expat groups in Saudi Arabia, see Expat Groups in Saudi Arabia.




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