Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.
U.S. suppliers should emphasize the competitive price, high quality and, if applicable, the new-to-market status of their products. Initial face-to-face contact with importers will significantly increase a company’s business prospects. Qatari companies distributing foreign products usually request marketing and advertising assistance from the principals to introduce a new product to the market or to improve sales of existing products.
Trade Promotion & Advertising
Many advertising practices and strategies used by U.S. companies are familiar to Qatari firms. The most common forms of advertising are media announcements, billboards, and flyers. Local distributors generally develop advertising strategies in coordination with their principals. Several private advertising firms are equipped to handle promotional activities.
Most newspapers in Qatar, including five Arabic and three English dailies, have a large readership. These include the following:
P.O. Box 3488, Doha, State of Qatar
Tel: (+974) 44557780
Fax: (+974) 44557864
P.O. Box 22345, Doha, State of Qatar,
Tel: (+974) 40002121
Fax: (+974) 40002230
P.O. Box 533, Doha, State of Qatar, Office of the Editorial President
Tel: (+974) 44466566 or 4437 1353
Fax: (+974) 4435 0476
P.O. Box 22612, Doha, State of Qatar
Tel: (+974) 4499 7333
P.O. Box 559, Doha, State of Qatar
Tel: (+974) 44627575
Fax: (+974) 44627576
P.O. Box 533, Doha, State of Qatar
Tel: (+974) 4435 0478(News) 4446 6404(Sports)
4446 6609(Advertising) 4 44411300(Home delivery)
Fax: (+974) 4435 0474(Editorial) 44418811(Advertising)
P.O. Box 3488, D-Ring Road Doha, State of Qatar
Tel: (+974) 4455 7739/41/47/48
Fax: (+974) 4455 7746
Tel: (+974) 4455 7837 or (+974) 4455 7852 or (+974) 4455 7780
Fax: (+974) 4455 7870 or (+974) 4455 7898
Tel: (+974) 4455 7837 or (+974) 4455 7780
Fax: (+974) 4455 7870 or (+974) 4455 7898
Tel: (+974) 4455 7857
Subscriptions / Home Delivery
Tel: (+974) 4455 7809/810
Fax: (+974) 4455 7819
Tel: (+974) 4455 7728/52
Fax: (+974) 4455 7758
P.O. Box 23493, Doha, State of Qatar
Tel: (+974) 4442 2077/4466 6810/ 4455 4333
Fax: (+974) 4441 6790
Al Rayyan Satellite Channel is a diversified channel operated by Al Rayyan Media and Marketing. The channel targets the Qatari audience. Al Rayyan is as a familiar news service at the national and regional levels.
General Enquiries: +974 44240515
Advertising and Marketing: +974 44240271 / +974 44243160
Fax Nos.: +974 44413311 / +974 44245794
Qatar Broadcasting Service (QBS) / Qatar News Agency
P.O. Box 1414, Doha, State of Qatar,
Tel: (+974) 4489 4444, Fax: (+974) 4487 0712
The state-owned Qatar Radio and Television Corporation operate Qatar Television (QTV) and the radio station Qatar Broadcasting Service (QBS). QTV, comprising Arabic and English channels, broadcasts pre-recorded commercials. QBS also carries advertisements.
Aljazeera Network encompasses Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel with several operational channels: Al-Jazeera Live, Al-Jazeera, and Al-Jazeera Documentary,
P.O. Box 23123, Doha, Tel: (+974) 40158585
The locally operated pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera receives some public funding but is independently owned and operated. It also broadcasts advertising for local and regional companies and products. The Al-Jazeera network of channels is carried by Qatar’s satellites, Es’hailSat 1 and 2.
Al-Jazeera is an excellent means of promotion and advertising, as it broadcasts to more than 310 million households in more than 100 countries, with extensive coverage across the Middle East and North Africa, especially. Aljazeera.net is the most visited website in the Arab world and one of top 200 most visited websites in the world.
There is a large variety of local and foreign products in the Qatari market. Local consumers are very price conscious and actively seek out sales and promotions. Local distributors of international products often engage in promotions in order to attract consumers and gain market share. U.S. firms should work closely with their local distributor in order to determine appropriate pricing strategies.
There is currently no value-added tax (VAT) or sales tax in Qatar. However, the government is considering introducing a 5% VAT at some point in the next 2-3 years.
The average importer markup on food products is 10-15%. Retail food prices are generally 25-30% above import prices.
Sales Service/Customer Support
Post-sales service and customer support is considered the responsibility of the local distributor or agent. Since a Qatari entity must obtain a license for all imports, local firms generally maintain a supply of spare parts for distributed products. Local distributors may also establish workshops for after-sales support, as appropriate. Foreign principals often provide regional and international training for technical support staff.
Local Professional Services
- Ernst & Young
Seventeen banks operate in Qatar, including 10 Qatari institutions and seven foreign bank branches. Out of the 10 Qatari banks, six are commercial institutions (Qatar National Bank, Commercial Bank of Qatar, Doha Bank, Al Ahli Bank, Al Khaliji Bank, and Qatar Development Bank, the state-run bank for small and medium sized enterprises. The other four are shariah-compliant banking institutions (Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar International Islamic Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, and Dukhan Bank). Qatari shariah-compliant banks were poised to see their market share grow further in 2021, particularly after two mergers had been approved by the regulator to create larger Islamic lenders. In 2019, the International Bank of Qatar merged with Barwa Bank in the country’s first bank consolidation, rebranded as Dukhan Bank, followed by another merger between Al Khaliji Bank Commercial and Masraf Al Rayan which has been officially approved by Qatar Central Bank in November 2021, which will bring the total number of Qatari banks to 16. Qatar National Bank represents 50% of the local banking market share.
Foreign Banks established in Qatar are licensed by Qatar Central Bank or Qatar Financial Center Regulatory Authority (QFCRA).
The seven foreign banks regulated by Qatar Central Bank include Arab Bank, Bank Saderat Iran, BNP Paribas, HSBC, Mashreq Bank, Standard Chartered, and United Bank. Although the Qatari Government permits foreign banks licensed by QFCRA to establish a physical presence and conduct most types of banking business in the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), including the provision of shariah-compliant banking services, these foreign banks are not allowed to offer stand-alone retail banking services outside the QFC.
It should be noted that while there is no restriction on the flow of capital, tightened liquidity within the local banking market exists. Bank loans are based on market terms with priority given to local organizations for the purpose of public development projects.
- Qatar National Bank
- Commercial Bank of Qatar
- Doha Bank
- Al Ahli Bank
- Al Khaliji Bank
- Qatar Development Bank
- Dukhan Bank
- Masraf Al Rayan
- Qatar International Islamic Bank
- Qatar Islamic Bank
Foreign Banks with Branches
- Arab Bank
- Bank Saderat Iran
- B.N.P. Paribas
- Mashreq Bank
- Standard Chartered Bank
- United Bank
Freight Forwarding and Courier Services
- Federal Express
- TNT Express
Major Hotel Chains in Qatar:
- Crowne Plaza
- Four Seasons Hotel Doha
- Hilton Hotel
- Grand Hyatt Doha
- Park Hyatt Doha
- InterContinental Doha
- Kempinski Residences and Suites Doha
- Kempinski Marsa Malaz at the Pearl
- La Cigale Hotel
- M Doha Hotel
- Mandarin Oriental
- Marriott Marquis City Center Hotel
- JW Marriott Hotel
- Doha Marriott Hotel (Closed for renovations until 2021)
- Millennium Hotel
- Mondrian Hotel
- Movenpick Tower Doha
- Oryx Rotana Doha
- Radisson Blu Hotel Doha
- The Ritz Carlton Doha
- The St Regis Doha
- Sealine Beach Resort
- Sharq Village & Spa Doha
- Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel
- The Torch Doha
- W Doha
- Westin Doha Hotel & Spa
- Wyndham Grand Regency Doha
- Al-Khaleej Insurance Company
- Al Koot Insurance and Reinsurance Co
- Allianz Takaful QFC
- Arabia Insurance Co
- AXA Insurance (Gulf) BSC (C)
- Capital Insurance Brokers LLC
- Ceylinco Insurance
- Doha Bank Assurance Company LLC
- Doha Insurance Co (QSC)
- General Takaful
- Libano-Suisse Insurance Company
- Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) International
- Qatar General Insurance and Re-Insurance Company
- Qatar Insurance Company
- Qatar Islamic Insurance Company
- SEIB Insurance & Reinsurance Co LLC
- Tazur Company BSC
Local Attorney List
Please refer to the U.S. Embassy in Doha for a list of local attorneys.
U.S. Embassy in Doha for a list of local attorneys
Principal Business Associations
The American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar was the first legally established foreign Chamber of Commerce in Qatar. AmCham Qatar was first launched February 2010 and is a non-profit, non-governmental, and non-political organization dedicated to fostering cooperation and understanding between Qatar and the United States through trade, commerce, and investment. Its main objectives are to:
- Promote the expansion of trade and investment between the United States and Qatar
- Serve as a forum in which American businesspeople in Qatar can identify, discuss and pursue common commercial interests
- Work with organizations in Qatar and internationally on matters of mutual interest
- Serve as a conduit of information to the governments and publics of the United States and Qatar concerning the improvement of business conditions
- Maintain relations with chambers of commerce in the United States and other chambers of commerce or commercial organizations
- Contribute to the development of a vibrant private sector in Qatar and uphold the highest standards of corporate and commercial practice.
The Qatari Businessmen Association is a prominent local business organization, formed in 2010, that leads to connect the State of Qatar’s strategic plans with the Qatari private sector leaders and activities.
The Qatar Chamber is one of the oldest chambers in the GCC countries, established in 1963. Its main role is to organize business interests and represent the Qatari private sector locally and globally, as well as support the country’s economic actors and productivity.
The U.S.-Qatar Business Council is a bilaterally focused entity that develops, supports, and advances the bilateral relationship between the United States and Qatar, with an interest in political, business, cultural, and security relations.
Contact the Commercial Section of the U.S. Embassy.