Going Global Live brings Middle East trade to London
London - More than 3,350 visitors attended Going Global Live in London, an event bringing together British and Middle Eastern companies looking to forge new links and expand their business.
Backed by UK Trade and Investment, a government department, more than 40 companies exhibited at the two-day event in May.
There was a focus in particular on countries from the Gulf. Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) provides companies with licences, offices, accommodation in the United Arab Emirates’ most northerly emirate. The emirate-owned free trade zone aims to encourage foreign investment in Ras Al Khaimah, which is about an hour’s drive north of Dubai and hosts more than 8,000 companies from 50 different countries.
“We are usually preferred by start-up companies that want to use the UAE as their international hub. An example is a company that uses dismantled products to create something new that can use our hub as an assembly unit,” said Gulay Avci, RAK FTZ regional manager in Turkey.
Capital International Group Dubai is a UAE business consultancy.
“Our target market is mostly European countries, especially eastern Europeans, such as Russians,” Capital International Group Dubai consultant Shafeeq Ahmed said. “However, we do have an international client base that are in real estate and service providing. We help both on-shore and off-shore companies. We help with investor visas including their family’s visas.
“We have established an office in India and Germany and would like one in London.”
Fujairah Free Zone represented the UAE’s most easterly emirate, aiming to attract foreign investment and, like other free trade zones in the country, helps foreign investors bypass local laws and retain 100% foreign ownership.
“Many of our clients just want to be in the region to test the water,” said Sharief al-Awadhi, the chief executive officer at the Fujairah Free Zone. “We aim to get more clients from food processing and manufacturing to add sustainability. They could be a branch of an existing company or we can help merge two existing companies.
“As the Expo 2020 is coming to the UAE, we are expanding our strategies to attract foreign investment. We have a strong base with petrochemical companies.”
Arabian Enterprise Incubators Saudi, which also exhibited at the event, aids foreign companies expand into Saudi Arabia, helping with visas, commercial registration and connecting to Saudi clients.
AEI Saudi said it has 190 clients from across the world. The company has strong links with British trade groups, such as UKTI, Investment Northern Ireland, Scottish Development International and the Welsh government. Other clients are from India, the United States and Europe.
“There is a perception that Saudi Arabia is too hard to deal with but, in fact, by talking to Saudis, you start to understand how Saudi Arabia works,” AEI Saudi founder Adam Hosier said. “I often hear that Saudi Arabia is very slow but, if you think about it, Saudi Arabia has gone from literally desert to a multinational country with three urban centres. Six million people live in Riyadh. They have done all of this in 100 years, so actually, Saudi Arabia does move very quickly.”
He added: “Saudi Arabia can be challenging as it seems opaque from the outside so it can seem hard to Google research who to deal with. Our local knowledge can give our clients the right contacts so when they travel to Saudi Arabia, they know who to talk to. Saudi Arabia is a very face-to-face market so you have to get into the market to understand the market.
“I would like the relationship between the West and the Arab world to be better. If we can trade together well then we can communicate with each other better too.”
Venture Alliance Consultancy (VAC) is the official and exclusive partner for the Ajman Free Zone for Europe, helping companies set up in Ajman, another UAE emirate north of Dubai. It also exhibited at the event, trying to attract British companies.
“We want to make it easier and more transparent for British companies to expand their trade into the Middle East. We are the one-stop shop for everything,” said Ria Kayani, VAC’s managing director for international business.
“Ajman is one of the fastest growing free zones. It is building its own airport this year. Ajman is probably the quickest and easiest to set up a company in. In 48 hours we can set a company up. The amount of paperwork is a lot less and there is less waiting time for approvals.”
Going Global Live returns to Olympia London November 17th- 18th. Tickets can be booked at www.goinggloballive.co.uk. For information on exhibit space, contact Simon Chicken at 0117 907 3520 or simon.chicken@prysmgroup. co.uk.