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Business Culture

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Business Culture https://www.visitdubai.com/en/business-in-dubai/grow-your-business/setting-up/business-culture 20170813T105127:636382182874673007 20171225T193647:636498274079541537 Setting Up Dubai is an international business hub and doing business here is much like anywhere else. Like any cultural environment, gestures towards the local culture are appreciated. Showing respect to Arab clients is essential. Although Arabic is the official language in Dubai, English is widely used in business. However, business cards, as well as brochures and presentation material, should be printed in English and Arabic. Seeking an Arab viewpoint before printing business collateral is advised. Doing business in Dubai is much like anywhere else.

Business Etiquette


Dubai is an international business hub and doing business here is much like anywhere else. Like any cultural environment, gestures towards the local culture are appreciated. Showing respect to Arab clients is essential.


Although Arabic is the official language in Dubai, English is widely used in business. However, business cards, as well as brochures and presentation material, should be printed in English and Arabic. Seeking an Arab viewpoint before printing business collateral is advised.


When attending a meeting, dress conservatively. Despite the heat, men should wear a suit and tie. Women should ensure business clothing covers shoulders, arms and legs. Tight trousers and low-cut tops are out, while skirts or dresses extending below the knee are sensible. A good dose of common sense goes a long way when deciding on a business wardrobe.


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Meetings may not always begin in as timely a fashion as elsewhere, but it’s always good to turn up promptly with a good supply of patience and humour. Avoid scheduling meetings during prayer times. Hospitality is a prized tradition in Dubai, so you will likely be offered Arabic coffee and dates, chocolates and other refreshments. Indulge and show appreciation and ensure you always offer refreshments if the meeting is held in your own offices.


Once a meeting gets underway, it’s important to greet the most senior person first and work your way around the room from there. Once regular business is established, it is important to spend time chatting to your clients about their families and their activities – relationship building is key.


Ramadan Business Etiquette


Things change somewhat during the Holy Month of Ramadan. You should show even more respect and demonstrate patience, especially as Muslims will be fasting. During Ramadan, the working day is around two hours shorter, with most of the work taking place in the early hours of the morning or much later in the evening after the day’s fast is broken (at sunset). An invite for your host to join you for an Iftar (the meal that breaks the fast) is always welcomed.


Greet your hosts with “Ramadan Kareem” during the Holy Month and do not expect to eat or drink in front of them until the day’s fast is broken. Don’t be surprised if you’re invited to an evening business meeting during Ramadan – it is recommended to go out of your way to accept and attend.


Building a Network


Dubai is a networking hub. There are business clubs serving most specific nationalities and professional disciplines. The emirate is abuzz year-round with conferences addressing the pressing issues of a variety of sectors. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce facilitates the creation of business groups in the emirate. To date, there are 13 registered business groups representing key operating sectors and 38 business councils for nationality groupings. Lists and contact details for all are available via The Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

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English Dubai Corporation of Tourism & Commerce Marketing

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