Czech business in Saudi Arabia: A story to be told
Dr. Martin Vrba, MBA, Managing Partner of, G5 Plus, s. r. o. and President of the Czech-Saudi Chamber of Commerce, is one of those who have already had a direct and long-standing experience of Saudi-Arabian business. “When we came to Saudi Arabia years ago, we felt as we had landed on Mars. No doors opened for a long time. We needed stronger personal relations. Trust is a very strong word there. When you help someone, you quickly gain trust.” Mgr. Lucie Karalová, a nurse that took care of the most demanding patients, has a similar testimony.“The beginning in January 2009 was very difficult, it was a culture shock. I found out later that it is a wonderful country full of culture, traditions, splendid landscapes and deserts. I plan to come back.”
Ing. Zbyněk Frolík, a founder and co-owner of Linet Group, has a rich experience with penetration to foreign markets. “Linet has been in Saudi Arabia since 2003. Since the beginning we have known that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a key market and will play this role. From a business point of view, it is one of the most demanding markets. As Czechs, we did not have an ideal position. Nowadays, we supply to hospitals managed by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health,” said the representative of one of the most long-term successful Czech exporters. He reminded that since 2010 Linet has been operating in the US where the company doubled its turnover during the first year. Frolík confirms that the key to the business success in the Arabian Peninsula lies in building a long-term trust.
Jakub Koudela, Head of Trade Office of Merko CZ a.s., which is a renown producer of batching plants, and Vice-President of the Czech-Saudi Chamber of Commerce, said that after the outbreak of financial crisis the managers were looking for new export and sales opportunities and he retrospectively appraised the decision to choose the Saudi Arabian market as strategic. According to him, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia significantly invests in the development and building industry. Merko will be one of the suppliers for the underground that is to be built in the capital city of Riyadh. Another project will be construction of the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah on the Red Sea shoreline. Koudela also relies on the construction of railways. “The study shows that about 10 thousand kilometres of railways will be built in the Arabian Peninsula during the following 30 years.”