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Qatar: Franchise Opportunities and Arabic Translation

Qatar’s  population and economy have been growing rapidly leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. One of the most popular and easiest ways to capitalize on this growth is through franchise opportunities. In this blog, I will cover information about Qatar’s languages, cultures, industries and franchise opportunities.

Country Stats

  • Population: approximately 2.74 million (2019). 350,000 of whom are Qatari nationals.
  • Largest cities: Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Over 90% of the country’s population lives in Doha. After Doha, Ar Rayyan, Umm Salal Muhammad, Al Wakrah, Al Khawr are some of the next largest cities.
  • Religion: the state religion of Qatar is Islam. The population is 68% Muslim, 14% Christian, 14% Hindu and 4% other.
  • Government type: Qatar is an absolute monarchy ruled by the Al Thani royal family. The current Emir of Qatar is Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who serves as head of state.
  • Top industries: natural gas, crude oil, steel and finance.
  • GDP: $367 billion (2018).
  • Currency: Qatari Riyal.
  • Transparency index: 33 out of 180 markets with a score of 62 out of 100, according to Transparency International.

Languages and Cultures

Qatar has a large expatriate population from all over the world resulting in many spoken languages. Some of the most widely spoken languages include English, Arabic, Hindi, Nepali, Tagalog, Sinhalese, Swahili, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Russian, Chinese and Portuguese.

When it comes to franchising in Qatar, it is important to consider localizing your content into Arabic and English. There are several laws in place which stipulate that Arabic should be used as follows:

  • Company names should always have an Arabic version.
  • Retail outlets should always have at least one Arabic speaker.
  • Menus, signs, invoices, advertisements and general information should be written in Arabic.
  • Business meetings and documents should be primarily conducted and written in Arabic when dealing with governmental institutions.

The above examples generally can, and do, include an English version due to most expatriates in Qatar being English-speaking.

Franchise Opportunities

With the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, there are many opportunities for expansion in the country and region in general. Franchising has become a very popular way for international companies to benefit from global expansion, primarily due to minimal risk and capital investment required.

Fast food outlets account for almost 40% of the GCC’s ever-expanding franchise market. This is closely followed by the retail sector. Other sectors with franchising opportunities include tourism, healthcare, education and transportation.

Many of these international franchises are more profitable in the MENA region than in their country of origin.

Some of the top international franchises in Qatar include McDonald’s, Costa, Subway, Pizza Hut and Starbucks. With the increasing popularity in health and fitness within the country, the health and wellness sector is also likely to grow within the coming years.