International Marketing Success: What You Need to Know First

international marketing success

International marketing success relies on knowing how to do marketing the right way and how to adapt your marketing efforts to the country or countries you think offer the greatest opportunities for your business. International marketing means more than simply sending your products overseas and hoping for success. In fact, the common refrain in international marketing is :

Think global, act local

This means you must adapt those elements necessary to the local market while keeping constant elements that aren’t critical for international marketing success as a means to keep down costs. For instance, Coca-Cola uses a global brand that evokes certain emotions and attitudes around the world rather than maintaining different brand names in different global regions. The company adapts the product itself to suit local tastes such that Coke isn’t a monolithic worldwide brand. If you ever visited the headquarters in Atlanta, you enjoyed the opportunity of tasting variations created for different regions such as less sugary flavors in Europe and fruit additives in parts of the East.

Thus, achieving international marketing success means developing a deep understanding of various aspects of the region or country of interest that includes:

  • legal environment
  • religious and cultural environment
  • infrastructure
  • business environment
  • and more

For today’s demonstration of international marketing success, we use the example of Saudi Arabia because it’s growing affluence and taste for western products represent an opportunity worth considering.

Doing business in Saudi Arabia

international marketing success
Photo by Abdulrhman Alkhnaifer on Unsplash

Saudi Arabia is one of the most important countries in the Middle East for businesses. However, the tax system is somewhat complex so it’s important to understand the rules and regulations that apply. This blog post provides a comprehensive guide to Saudi Arabia’s tax system for businesses. We cover corporate income tax, value-added tax (VAT), and other applicable taxes. We also discuss common exemptions and deductions available under Saudi Arabian law.

Saudi Arabia has a territorial tax system. This means businesses are only taxed on income derived from Saudi Arabian sources. Therefore, foreign-source income is generally not subject to taxation in Saudi Arabia. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For instance, foreign companies providing services in Saudi Arabia may be subject to a branch profits tax.

Corporate income tax

The corporate income tax rate in Saudi Arabia is 20%. This rate applies to both local and foreign companies. Companies must file their annual tax return by the end of March each year. The tax year in Saudi Arabia runs from January 1st to December 31st.

Value-Added Tax (VAT)

Saudi Arabia introduced VAT on January 1, 2018. The standard VAT rate is 5%. However, a few items, such as food and medical supplies, are subject to a 0% rate. VAT is levied on the supply of goods and services in Saudi Arabia. It is also levied on imports into the country. Businesses must register for VAT if their annual taxable turnover exceeds SAR 375,000.

Other applicable taxes

Businesses may be subject to a few other taxes in Saudi Arabia. These include:

  • Capital gains tax: A capital gains tax is imposed on the sale of shares or other securities. The rate is 10%
  • Property tax: Property tax is levied on real estate located in Saudi Arabia. The rate varies depending on the municipality but is typically around 2%.
  • Withholding tax: A withholding tax is imposed on certain payments made to non-residents, such as dividends, interest, and royalties. The rate is 5%.

Businesses may be subject to a few other taxes in Saudi Arabia. However, the ones listed above are the most common.

Exemptions and deductions

Certain businesses may be eligible for exemptions or deductions from their taxes. The most common exemption is for newly established companies. Companies that have been in business for less than two years can apply for an exemption from corporate income tax. Other exemptions may be available for certain businesses, such as agriculture or mining. Deductions are also available for certain expenses, such as research and development costs.

Economic free zones

The Saudi Arabian government works to attract foreign investment and make the country more business-friendly. The establishment of economic free zones is one example of this. Businesses considering expanding into Saudi Arabia should consider setting up shops in one of these zones. Saudi Arabia has established several economic free zones. These zones offer preferential tax treatment to businesses. The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) is the most well-known free zone. Businesses in SAGIA are eligible for a corporate income tax holiday of up to 15 years. They are also exempt from VAT and customs duties.

What are the requirements?

To set up a business in Saudi Arabia, businesses must first obtain a commercial registration. This can be done online through the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) website. After registering, businesses must obtain the appropriate licenses and permits from the relevant government agencies.  These requirements vary depending on the type of business.

Businesses must also comply with Saudi Arabia’s labor laws. These laws mandate certain employee benefits, such as paid leave and health insurance. Businesses must also create a Saudization plan to employ foreign workers. This plan outlines how the business will eventually train Saudi nationals to fill the positions currently occupied by foreigners.

How to set up a business there?

The first step is registering the business with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA). This can be done online through their website. After registering, businesses must obtain the appropriate licenses and permits from the relevant government agencies.  These requirements vary depending on the type of business.

Businesses must also comply with Saudi Arabia’s labor laws. These laws mandate certain employee benefits, such as paid leave and health insurance. Businesses must also create a Saudization plan to employ foreign workers. This plan outlines how the business will eventually train Saudi nationals to fill the positions currently occupied by foreigners.

After registering the business and obtaining the necessary licenses and permits, businesses can start operating in Saudi Arabia. They should make sure to stay compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. Businesses should also consider opening shops in one of Saudi Arabia’s economic free zones. These zones offer preferential tax treatment and other benefits that can help businesses thrive. Doing business in Saudi Arabia can be a challenge, but it can also be rewarding. Businesses that are prepared and have a good understanding of the country’s laws and customs can be successful.

Hire local professionals

International marketing success
Photo by M Zaedm on Unsplash

It is advisable to hire local professionals for a Saudi Arabian business. They can help with registration and ensure that the business complies with all relevant laws and regulations. Local professionals can also be a valuable source of information and advice on doing business in Saudi Arabia.

Businesses that expand into Saudi Arabia should consider working with a professional services firm. These firms have experience helping businesses navigate the complexities of business in Saudi Arabia. They can provide valuable assistance with everything from registration to compliance. If you are interested in working in other countries in the Middle East, you should consult some Creation BC Tax consultants in Dubai & UAE.

Summary

Saudi Arabia’s tax system is complex. However, there are a few key things to remember. First, Saudi Arabia has a territorial tax system, so businesses are only taxed on income from Saudi Arabian sources. Second, the corporate income tax rate is 20%. Third, VAT was introduced in 2018 at a rate of 5%. Fourth, other applicable taxes include capital gains tax, property tax, and withholding tax. Fifth, businesses may be eligible for exemptions or deductions from their taxes. Finally, the tax year in Saudi Arabia runs from January 1st to December 31st.

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