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Explore the opportunities of doing business in Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a high-income country. It has a large population, significant purchasing power and a growing reputation as an important destination for many foreign brands and companies in many different sectors.

Large-scale projects

Saudi Arabia is carrying out several large-scale projects, including a high-tech city called Neom and a megacity for culture, sports and entertainment in Qiddiya. There are also development projects on the Red Sea coast including hotels, high-end residential properties and a luxury tourist and wellbeing resort called Amaala.

Strong UK trade links

Saudi Arabia is one of the UK’s most important trading partners. The UK exported £6 billion worth of goods and services to Saudi Arabia in 2018 (ONS, 2019). British companies present in the market include Shell, GlaxoSmithKline, BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and Unilever.

Population growth

Saudi Arabia has a fast-growing population, with approximately 39% under the age of 25 (General Authority of Statistics, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2018). The young consumer market are early adopters of technology.

Ease of doing business
out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)


Saudi riyal

Business language

Arabic, English

GDP per capita


UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth


(IMF, 2019)

Time zone

GMT +3

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Saudi Arabia have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.


There are significant opportunities in Saudi Arabia’s energy market for UK businesses, especially in oil and natural gas.

Red Sea natural gas

Saudi Aramco is exploiting natural gas reserves off the Red Sea coast to support increased domestic demand. This will involve using deep water technologies for drilling below 1,000 metres. This offers opportunities for UK engineering and service companies with experience in deep water regions, such as the North Sea.


Demand for UK expertise

Saudi Arabia needs UK capability to deliver its energy objectives. There is demand for areas of UK expertise, such as project management, innovation and the ability to operate some of the harshest environments globally.


Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in the public education sector, particularly in further education and vocational training. The country is intending to build 2,500 new schools to serve 1 million new school places by 2030 (SAGIA, 2019).

Secondary Educatiom

There is demand to improve education across primary and secondary schools, higher education, capacity building, professional accreditation and qualifications. There are opportunities for UK businesses to provide services in teacher training and development, curriculum development, early year’s development and special educational needs (SEN).

Vocational Training

There are opportunities in vocational training across other sectors, including: helping Saudi Aramco create academies for marine and aviation training, up-scaling expertise on oil exploration, logistics management and training in hospitality and tourism.

Marine training and accreditation

UK businesses that can offer marine training or International Maritime Organization (IMO) accreditation will find demand for their services in Saudi Arabia.


From 2017 – 2021, Saudi Arabia will spend $180 billion on healthcare to meet demand and tackle the Kingdom’s public health challenges (Invest Saudi, 2019).

Private sector participation opportunities

There are opportunities for UK companies in the development and provision of healthcare services, through private sector investment, operations and management in primary, extended and home care, new medical cities, hospital commissioning, laboratories, radiology and rehabilitation.

Education and training in healthcare

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Digital health opportunities

There are opportunities for UK businesses in designing and constructing smart hospitals and health centres and providing information and communications technology (ICT).

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