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How do you find a Local Partner in Qatar



It was time. And he was ready. Ronald had done his research about the Qatari market at length. He knew he could make his mark in the economic sector. But then came the hiccup - he needed help to navigate through bureaucratic hassles before he could set up shop. But finding a trustworthy partner for business is no easy feat. With its diverse resources coupled with recent legal liberalisation, economic diversification and a burgeoning economy, Qatar is a hub that can breathe life into any investor's dream. With developments being clocked in almost every fortnight, the country promises economic stability that rides on a fast-growing and modern economy.

The step before the leap

Before you dip your toes into doing business in a new country, a thorough understanding of the region and its nuances is a must. A viable business plan which highlights the current market conditions, including competition and forecast results. Do your homework and research extensively in the sector you aim to operate within. But what is crucial to starting a business in Qatar is the presence of a local partner. The law requires that you have a local partner who holds the majority interest. This allows them the right to control the business in all sense of the term. The local partner, be it a company or an individual, does have to contribute to the start-up investment and participate actively.

Choose your mould

There are mainly three different types of companies that are allowed in Qatar:

1. The Limited Liability Company

2. Branch office

3. Trade Representative Office.

In the case of the Limited Liability Company (LLC), a minimum capital of QR 200,000 was required, however, the law has been changed to ensure that a potential investor can start without massive capital influx. The presence of a Qatari partner is mandatory and he or she will own 51% of the company’s shares, without involving any state-owned company. Banking, insurance or other investment-related activities cannot be undertaken by an LLC. The company will have to pay taxes, based on its profits during the fiscal year.

When operating in Qatar as a branch office, you can maintain 100 per cent foreign ownership of your company, There is no need for a Qatari partner when setting up a branch office. Another key advantage of operating as a branch office is that there are no share capital requirements. They are bound by a few rules, though. A branch office can only perform activities that are specified in the contract, which is signed by the respective party at the time of registration. The branch office cannot tender for any public or private contracts. Another main consideration to keep in mind when operating as a branch office is that branch offices are fully taxable unless given a special exemption.

A trade representative office serves to promote foreign products in the Qatari market. This type of company establishment allows full

ownership, however, the company is not allowed to trade in products and services in Qatar. A trade representative office may have contact with potential clients or exporters to acquaint them with their foreign establishment. There are no share capital requirements for a Trade Representative Office and they can act as a liaison between foreign offices and Qatar to understand the market better.

A trustworthy local partner

The most preferred type of company for foreign investors is the Limited Liability Company. The main challenges facing foreign investors include sourcing the right local partner and overcoming the bureaucratic process, which involves incorporation and other licences. Certain sectors have to procure special licences, especially those in health care, education and engineering. That is where we step in as local partners.

We at BBMS, provide solutions to all your hassles. Once we are on board, we take care of all the hurdles. Our experts will guide you through the registration complexities and will ensure that your interests are protected. This applies whether you are opening a modest shop or a major enterprise. Our uniqueness is that the operational control will lie with you, with the local partner not contributing financially or in the day-to-day running. Beginning an enterprise is no cakewalk. The rules and regulations are not easy to get around, especially when the official language used is Arabic.

With over eight years of experience in helping companies set up in Qatar, BBMS is a prominent company formation expert that caters to the SME market place. We are currently partnered with over 80 companies and continue to help them with their needs.

Are you looking for a stress-free way to start your company in Qatar and do you need professional assistance to help you in the process. If your answer to both these questions is “yes”, then reach out to us at info@bbms.qa or call us at +974 4012 0333 and we would be happy to help you make your business idea a reality.


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