Corporate Gifts for Customers in Saudi ArabiaBack to Forum
Anonymous4 Feb 2014
hi, sorry not really a travel question more of a business culture question. Anyone have any suggestions for a gift / award which would be appropriate to give to a customer based in Saudi Arabia, (local Saudi national). A high level senior person. thanks4 Feb 2014
Something unique from your country?
E.g. From Scotland, obviously not Whisky, but maybe a very nice granite paperweight for their desk, or a piece of glassware. Maybe personalised?
I have a granite paperweight in the shape of a curling stone about the size of a tangerine which sits on my desk – it was a gift to us on a corporate event.4 Feb 2014
I would always give a Waterman fountain pen, one of the expensive Chinese lacquered ones. It was always appreciated and used. If you see a certain oil minister on TV signing a document and think what a nice pen he has – well it came from me!!!4 Feb 2014
Just a word of caution – if you or your company are British, or if your company has an office in the UK (even if you work for an office outside the UK), do be aware of the issues under the UK Bribery Act. If you or your company are American, be aware of the issues under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
This whole area is a minefield.
If you want more info, post again here and I can try to dig out some links for you.5 Feb 2014
I agree with the above. Used to live there – very tricky area but most Saudis will appreciate the thought of something personal like a pen or paperweight.
The Bribery Act is a complete minefield and it usually comes down to the circumstances or ‘proportionality’ and whether it has been declared by the giver. I don’t think either of the above would be unreasonable.5 Feb 2014
Unfortunatley, SimonS1, proportionality isn’t the only factor (in fact you could argue that in some circumstances it isn’t a factor at all), and declaration is not, in and of itself, a “get out of jail free” card (and I mean that quite literally)5 Feb 2014
I asked my DH about this – oil industry/US company – their take is if a gift can be used on your desk, or can be eaten, then it’s OK. But we are talking small, inexpensive items of course.
So I think taking this into account a nice pen, or small desk trinket would be fine.
HM the Queen exchanges gifts with her hosts on her visits. Could be loosely interpreted the same way, as aren’t her visits often seen as the pomp and ceremony advance party of trade visits? Just saying! And if its good enough for the Queen, well …. I don’t think a small gift, chosen carefully, would be awkward.5 Feb 2014
I have been to Saudi many times and I’ve done business with many elites there. I recommend you gift the guy a classy Mont Blanc pen or a Gucci wallet.
For sure it will work like magic believe or not. These are the two most common items that saudis care about and always carry with them in their thobs.5 Feb 2014
Knowing a Saudi client enjoyed a tipple, a friend of mine without thinking took 3 bottles of Chateau Margaux with him to Jeddah! He was so lucky they were only confiscated. Not to be recommended!6 Feb 2014