Kazakhstan - Country Commercial Guide
Market Entry Strategy
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The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on travel around the world, and Kazakhstan is no exception. Please consult the Business Travel section later in this report for the latest information on visiting the country. For those unable to visit in person, the Commercial Section at the U.S. Mission to Kazakhstan is positioned to help companies with virtual introductions to prospective partners and potential buyers in Kazakhstan. While face-to-face meetings are key to developing strong business relationships, virtual introductions can go a long way to positioning your company for success in the market. The Commercial Section can also assist firms to conduct due diligence on prospective partners. Firms can contact office.almaty@trade.gov for questions on services available to U.S. companies.

U.S. firms that meet one or more of the following criteria will have an edge in the Kazakhstani market:

  • Export sales and emerging markets are an important part of your business;
  • Your firm has experience in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Russia, Belarus or Ukraine;
  • You are willing to invest your time, effort, and resources for the long term;
  • You work with local partners to develop opportunities in foreign markets.

Most exporters find using local distributors or product representatives an easy first step for entering the Kazakhstani market. A local distributor is typically responsible for handling customs clearance, dealing with established wholesalers/retailers, marketing the product directly to major corporations or the government, distribution, and handling after-sales service, if required. It is not uncommon to partner with a firm that is involved in several unrelated sectors. Other useful advice includes:

  • performing detailed market research to identify specific sector opportunities;
  • conducting appropriate due diligence on potential partners;
  • being cautious of exclusive distribution agreements with local partners. Keep in mind that Kazakhstan has a small population spread over a large landmass, and your distribution channels should be able to represent your needs countrywide;
  • maintaining a long-term timeframe to implement plans and achieve positive results. Don’t expect this to be an inexpensive market that can be entered quickly;
  • supporting your local partner, as appropriate;
  • assisting your buyers to obtain financing;
  • translating sales and marketing materials into the Russian and Kazakh languages; localized websites can also help reach potential partners/buyers in the market;
  • consulting attorneys to draw up appropriate contracts and agreements and considering managing dispute settlement and/or arbitration in third countries.