Doug Barry of the U.S. Commercial Service has another market brief for our blog readership. In this brief, he interviews Amer Kayani, who is a Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia. The interview covers the potential of emerging markets, with a primary focus on Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Mr. Kayani clears up some misconceptions some may have regarding Saudi business sentiments towards U.S. investors and businesspeople.
As for business opportunity, Mr. Ayani cites the fact that 50% of the Saudi population is under 18 years old, and that it has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. Saudi women visit malls four times a week, on average, and spend nearly $6 billion on clothes a year. Moving up from retail, there are also contracts available for larger infrastructure projects. Mr. Ayani claims that the Saudi government doled out about $140 billion in infrastructure-related contracts. The difficulty lies in finding a local Saudi business partner who understands the market niche the prospective entrepreneur is trying to occupy. The service at the embassy can set up American companies with a Saudi counterpart. So in essence, the opportunity is there, it's just a matter of logistics which the U.S. Commercial Service can help with.
Check out the audio version of the interview, or read the transcript!