Basics of business culture in Kuwait

When you have business relations around the globe, it is good to learn about the various business etiquettes. Each country has its own way of nurturing particular business culture. Learning about the business habits of other nations leads to stronger and more stable cooperation. Local customs regarding clothes, tardiness, and language may help us have a better understanding of people and build stronger business ties. With a view of establishing good relations, a top-class moving company Easy Move Kuwait offers a short guide through the business culture in Kuwait. Learning about the local business customs will help you improve your trading and negotiation skills.

Basics of business culture in Kuwait

Kuwait is one of the richest countries in the world, which makes it an ideal country for business transactions. It has one of the highest incomes per capita in the world. The country owes its wealth to large oil reserves that attract investors and businessmen from all around the globe. Also, Kuwait is a safe haven located in an unstable region, so the visitors feel comfortable traveling there. In order for international visitors to make successful deals, they should be aware of the local customs. By conveying their respect toward local business habits, foreign partners may leave a good impression on their hosts.

buildings in Kuwait
Learn about business customs in Kuwait and enhance your negotiation and trading skills

Closing a deal is never an easy process, but all available resources can be used to achieve this goal. The more you learn about someone’s business etiquette and try to heed it, the more successful your business will be. This is beneficial if you wish to cooperate with successful businesses such as cargo companies in Kuwait. Some of the key points to keep the focus on are as follows:

  • language
  • attire
  • the importance of religion
  • meeting customs


The official language in Kuwait is Arabic. However, English is used in communication with international partners. Learning some of the basic words in Arabic would help you better connect with your business counterparts. However, all official documents and contracts are written in Arabic, but you may also provide an English translation.


When doing business in Kuwait avoid casual clothing. Dress up in a suit and tie and put on smart shoes. Your hands should be covered from the elbow up, and legs from the knees down. Hijab and abaya are not mandatory for foreign female partners, but they also should not be wearing revealing clothes.

a man in a suit standing against the wall
If you want to adapt to the business culture in Kuwait, avoid casual clothing

The importance of religion

Islam is the official religion in Kuwait and foreign partners should be aware of some of the religious customs. Muslims pray five times a day and it is advisable to avoid scheduling meetings in times of prayer. Moreover, be aware that working days are Sunday through Thursday, rather than Monday to Friday. Also, keep in mind that Ramadan is an important part of the year, and avoid booking important meetings during that time. Also, some businesses work at a reduced capacity during the month of Ramadan. Familiarizing yourself with Islamic practices will help you have a better understanding of your business partners. This is especially important if you deal with large companies such as heavy equipment movers.

Meeting customs

Meetings usually start late with small talk as an inevitable introduction. Getting straight down to business is not customary. Informal chat before serious work is desirable in the local business relations. You should also avoid commenting on tardiness. One of the things to keep in mind is how to greet your business partner. A simple handshake would suffice. With women, you should wait until she extends her hand for a handshake. Note that you should use titles to address your partners, rather than being on a first-name basis. Another important thing is the length of the meetings. According to the local practice, meetings should not last longer than an hour. Also, make sure to offer your Kuwaiti partners coffee during a meeting. Apart from religion, tradition is also very important when it comes to business matters in Kuwait.

Other business-related behavior

Many customs that may not seem important for business relations, actually have a big impact on your business interactions if you are not familiar with them. For instance, alcohol is strictly forbidden in Kuwait. It is vital to have this in mind especially if you attend business dinners and parties. Whether you are doing business with small start-ups or large companies such as logistics in Kuwait, always bear local customs in mind. When inviting your partners from Kuwait to dinner, make sure you inform them a couple of days in advance.

two men shaking hands
Handshake is an appropriate way of greeting your business partners in Kuwait

Socializing is an integral part of business meetings. As a conversation starter, you can talk about business or family. Avoid sensitive topics such as religion or politics. Handing out business cards is also advisable, especially if they are bilingual. Distribute them to all your business partners, handing them over with your right hand. As for gifts, they are desirable, yet not mandatory. Bear in mind that decision-making and negotiations can take a long time, as Kuwaiti businessmen take things slowly and do not operate on a whim.

Once you learn all the key features of the business culture in Kuwait, your social skills, as well as business relations, will improve to a great extent. Your business partners will notice the effort you put in learning about their culture and will appreciate it very much. Patience is the key. Be more laid back and less strict when it comes to meeting hours, and you will adapt very quickly and be able to negotiate better. Also, be mindful of working days, avoid scheduling meetings on Friday, learn about religious holidays, eating and drinking habits, and always show respect towards your partners. Your Kuwaiti business partners will be generous and hospitable hosts, as well as excellent negotiators and businessmen.