Cyprus - Country Commercial Guide
Selling Factors & Techniques

Identifies common practices used in selling in this market, including sales material that needs to be in the local language.

Last published date: 2022-08-09

Selling factors and techniques in Cyprus are the same as in the United States and in other Western European countries.

Trade Promotion and Advertising

Republic of Cyprus:

Besides traditional advertising on media like television and radio, direct marketing techniques that involve telephone calls to prospective customers and direct-mail to households remain popular.  Cable and satellite television are expanding their reach and offer another advertising medium.  Advertising through the internet and social media has grown significantly over the past few years as the number of Internet users in Cyprus has increased.  Several internet providers specialize in designing web pages.

More traditional advertising channels, such as billboards or the print media, are also used extensively.  General and product-specific trade shows take place year-round.  During COVID-19, trade show and exhibition organizers in the ROC reverted to hosting virtual events, but are slowly returning to physical or hybrid events.  Most newspapers are affiliated with particular political parties.  The major Greek language newspapers are Phileleftheros, Politis, Kathimerini, Alithia, and Simerini.  The major English language newspapers are In-Cyprus, Cyprus Mail, and Cyprus Financial Mirror.  All of them now have online news throughout the day on their websites, which has increased online advertising as well.  There are sector specific magazines like InBusiness and Gold that target businesspeople.  

There are numerous radio stations and seven broadband television channels:  two government-owned, three private, and three paid subscription TV channels.  There are also six local TV stations on the island.  Digital television is also present in Cyprus.  Three companies offer cable digital TV:  1) the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) through its pre-existing cable network – called MiVision – 2) NV Cable Communications Systems, a strategic collaborator of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), through the EAC’s existing fiber optics, and 3) Cablenet.  Another option for viewers is NOVA satellite that services both Greece and Cyprus.  Subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV are also increasingly used on the island. 

There are many advertising, public relations, and promotion agencies in the ROC.  Most of them partner with major agencies abroad.  Our Political/Economic Section can also assist U.S. companies with promotional events through the Single Company Promotion (SCP) service.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

There are a number of advertising agencies in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots.  Besides traditional advertising media such as television and radio, direct marketing techniques that involve direct mail to households have been used in recent years.  Cable and satellite television are widely available and offer another advertising medium.  More traditional advertising channels, such as billboards or the print media, are used extensively as are the Internet and social media.

There are numerous radio and TV stations, as well as online social media broadcasts.  Most newspapers are affiliated with particular political parties.  The major Turkish language newspapers are Kibris, Yeniduzen, Havadis, Diyalog, Avrupa, Halkin Sesi, Cyprus Today, and Kibris Postasi. 

Pricing

U.S. exporters should note that the Cyprus market is small, and most orders are for limited quantities.  The usual method of transaction is by letter of credit, with 90-day terms.  VAT is charged on most supplies of goods or services at a standard rate of 19 percent.  Certain products and services are exempted from VAT and others benefit from reduced rates of five percent and nine percent, respectively.  For more information on VAT, please visit the Ministry of Finance website.

Sales Service/Customer Support

Republic of Cyprus:

U.S. companies bidding on various projects in Cyprus should bear in mind that a local representative is usually recommended.  When evaluating tenders for service and customer support for government projects, governmental and semi-governmental organizations will take into consideration the reliability and reputation of the local agent/representative.  Cypriot companies take into consideration after-sales service, maintenance contracts, and the availability of spare parts, and it is important to demonstrate it will be possible to provide this after-sale support (where applicable).  The Political/Economic Section of U.S. Embassy in Nicosia can help. U.S. firms locate reputable local agents or perform due diligence on local companies and/or businesspeople.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

For specific information on sales services/customer support, visit the “Turkish Cypriot Investment Development Agency” or the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.

Local Professional Services

Republic of Cyprus:

The island offers a number of professional accounting, financial, consulting, advertising, public relations, and legal services.  The services sector is considered one of the major sources of income for Cyprus.  There are many professional services associations registered under the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Additional associations are registered under the Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation. U.S. companies can also find service providers listed on the Political/Economic Section webpage under Business Service Provider.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce can provide details of professional services available as well as contact information.

Principal Business Associations

Republic of Cyprus:

U.S. companies with a presence in Cyprus, or who cover the Cyprus market from abroad, may join any of the following associations:

Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI): The CCCI is the leading business association, conveying the views of the Greek Cypriot business community to the Executive and Legislative branches of the Republic of Cyprus (ROC).  Founded in 1927, it has more than 8,000 corporate members and is affiliated with more than 140 professional associations from the trade, industry, and services sectors.  The municipal chambers of Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos, and Famagusta are also members of the CCCI.

American Chamber of Commerce Cyprus (AmCham): AmCham Cyprus promotes business, economic trade, and cultural relations between the ROC and the United States.  It advocates for a business-friendly environment in the ROC with a focus on the ease and cost of doing business.  A member of the CCCI, and supported by the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus, it represents prominent U.S. companies based in the ROC.  AmCham issues position papers on economic and investment issues, organizes business events, and lobbies the government on issues critical to its members. 

Cyprus Employers’ and Industrialists’ Federation (OEV): OEV promotes the interests of its members, comprising of the largest employers and industrialists on the island.  With over 10,000 members, it advocates for a favorable business environment.  It also aims to maintain equilibrium between the business community, trade unions, and other pressure groups in the ROC’s pluralistic decision-making system.

Cyprus International Businesses Association (CIBA): Established in 1992, CIBA is a non-governmental independent association, financed by membership fees only.  It represents the interests of international businesses on the island, as well as their international shareholders, managers, and staff.  It lobbies local authorities on issues such as taxation, social insurance, and immigration, particularly in the context of the ROC’s EU membership. 

Cyprus Shipping Chamber (CSC): The CSC is the trade association of the shipping industry in the ROC.  Established in 1989, it is comprised of all major ship owning, ship management, chartering, and shipping related companies based in the ROC.  CSC member-companies and the wider shipping sector in Cyprus, collectively employ around 9,000 persons on-shore and more than 55,000 seafarers of various nationalities onboard their vessels.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO): KTTO was founded in Nicosia, Cyprus, in 1958 and represents businesses in the area administrated by Turkish Cypriots.  KTTO is recognized legally in the south because its establishment pre-dates the 1974 conflict.  Due to this unique status, KTTO assists in the implementation of the Green Line Trade Regulation and with  bicommunal business-related initiatives.  KTTO is a public law chamber and membership is obligatory for businesses in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots. 

Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry (CTCI): CTCI, established in 1977 as a non-governmental organization, works to assist the development of Turkish Cypriot industrial establishments, in order to expand the field of their activities and to increase their efficiency.  CTCI lobbies the Turkish Cypriot authorities for the development of business-related legislation, and protects the rights and interests of its members.

Turkish Cypriot Business People’s Association: IŞAD was established in 1993 and has members from all sectors of the business community.  Functioning as a think tank, IŞAD regularly expresses views both in business-economic related matters in the area administrated by Turkish Cypriots, as well as views on politics and the Cyprus Problem IŞAD regularly promotes a free-market economy and encourages transparency in governance.  

Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services

Republic of Cyprus:

The following restrictions apply to investing in the ROC:

  • Non-EU entities (persons and companies) may purchase only two real estate properties for private use (two holiday homes or a holiday home and a shop or office).  This restriction does not apply if the investment property is purchased through a domestic Cypriot company or a corporation elsewhere in the EU.  U.S. investment in such companies is welcome.
  • Non-EU entities cannot invest in the production, transfer, and provision of electrical energy.  The Council of Ministers may refuse granting a license for investment in hydrocarbons prospecting, exploration, and exploitation to a third-country national or company if that third country does not allow similar investment by Cyprus or other EU member states.  ROC hydrocarbon exploration is currently led by two U.S. companies.
  • Individual non-EU investors may not own more than five percent of a local television or radio station, and total non-EU ownership of any single local TV or radio station is restricted to a maximum of 25 percent.
  • The right to register as a building contractor in Cyprus is reserved for citizens of EU member states.  Non-EU entities are not allowed to own a majority stake in a local construction company.  Non-EU physical persons or legal entities may bid on specific construction projects but only after obtaining a special license from the Council of Ministers.
  • Non-EU entities cannot invest directly in private tertiary education institutions but may do so through ownership of Cypriot or EU companies.
  • The provision of healthcare services on the island is subject to certain restrictions, applying equally to all non-residents.
  • The Central Bank of Cyprus’s prior approval is necessary before any individual person or entity, whether Cypriot or foreign, can acquire more than 9.99 percent of a bank incorporated in Cyprus.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

There are no limitations on selling U.S. products and services in the area administrated by Turkish Cypriots.