Saudi Arabia


Country Fact Sheet: Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is located in the heart of the Middle East between the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, bordering Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia is about 1/5 the size of the US and covers an area of 2,149,690 sq. kilometers.  The total population is 26.94 million and is growing at a rate of 1.51% with 82.3% living in urban areas.  The capital of Riyadh has a population of 4.3 million with other main cities including Jeddah (3.4 mil) and Makkah (1.6 mil). The people are governed by a monarchy and are 100% Muslim. The official language is Arabic and the local currency is the Saudi Riyal which is pegged at a fixed rate of 3.75 SAR to the US dollar. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s leading producer’s of oil and natural gas and holds more than 20% of the world’s proven reserves.

Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy where 90% of its exports and 45% of its GDP come from the petroleum sector.  In order to ensure future economic growth and lessen the dependence on oil exports, the Saudi Arabian government is encouraging private sector growth in new industries and also has recently joined the WTO to encourage foreign investment.  Saudi Arabia’s main trade partners include the US, Japan, China, South Korea, Germany, Taiwan, Singapore, Italy, and UK. Its primary imports are machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, motor vehicles, and textiles. Exports are dominated by petroleum and petroleum products. Saudi Arabia’s GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) is $921.7 billion and is growing at a real rate of 6.8% with an inflation rate of 4%. Saudi Arabia ranked 22 out of 185 countries in the World Bank Group’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking.  Click here to search for Businesses Franchising Internationally  

Demographic Data   Economic Data    Cultural & Other Data   
Area (sq. km.)   2,149,690  GDP (PPP, $bn)   921.7  Capital   Riyadh 
Population (million)   26.94  GDP Real Growth (%)   6.8  Other Large Cities   Jeddah 
Population Growth       (%)   1.51  PerCap GDP ($)   31,800  Primary Language   Arabic 
Population Under     15yrs (%)   28.2  Prime Lending               Rate (%)   6.8  Urbanization   82.3 
Population below poverty line (%)   NA  Inflation Rate%   4  Urban Growth        2.38 
Agricultural Workers    (% of population)   6.7  Unemployment%   10.6  Literacy  (population %)   86.6 
Industrial Workers     (% of population)   21.4  Foreign          Direct     Investment ($bn)   221.2  Education spending              % of GDP   5.6 
Service Workers        (% of population)   71.9  Debt-External ($bn)   134  CPI Score           (1-100)*   44 
Labor Force (mil)   8.012  Exports ($bn)   395  Corporate Income Tax %   20 
      Imports ($bn)   136.8  Ease of Doing Business Ranking **   22 




Franchising Laws Overview 

Disclosure laws:

  • None.

Relationship laws & registration laws: 

  • Franchise agreements may be subject to the Commercial Agency Regulations (the "Agency Law"), which requires registration, and regulates the parties’ relationship.


Click the links below for articles with more information on Franchising in Saudi Arabia

Taking Your Brand to the Middle East 

Building Goodwill and U.S. Brand Awareness in the Middle East 

Expanding Your Brand in the Middle East: A Fresh Perspective (2012) 

Doing Business in Saudi Arabia (2010)

US Commercial Service Market Report - Saudi Arabia (2009)

Franchising’s Appeal: Market Growth in Saudi Arabia (2008)

Franchising Industry Expected to Expand in Middle East  (2008)

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to Host First Franchise Expo and Conference  (2008)

Franchising in the Middle East, Dubai, and Beyond (2007)


* CPI Score is published by Transparency International and relates to the perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and country analysts and ranges between 100 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt).  

**Ease of Doing Business Ranking is determined by the World Bank Group and is ranked out of a possible 185 countries.  

Most recent statistics have been taken from the CIA World Factbook unless noted otherwise. 

International Franchising Opportunities

After you have finished researching the international markets, learning international expansion strategies and best practices, and understanding the basics of international franchising law, IFA provides numerous opportunities for franchising internationally.

Click here to search for Businesses Franchising Internationally  


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