This article throws some light on the scope of franchising in Qatar.
Qatar is a country in theMiddle East that has a significant and interesting market with the largest per capita GDP in the world. This market is undoubtedly lucrative for those wanting to invest in business opportunities. With regard to franchising, Qatar is not a five-outlet development plan as perceived by everybody. It has a larger scope of development. This article throws some light on the scope of franchising in Qatar.
Qatar has about 3 million local population and the rest is ex-pat population. The GDP from the oil gas and hydrocarbon industry alone is 180 billion dollars. Shortly, Qatar also plans to hold the African Football Tournament. Tourism is growing in the country and there have been international campaigns to promote tourism. There are over 2 million tourists each year. Qatar is developing and it is a family-oriented country. About 94% of the nationalities stay in Qatar. There is a wide scope for development in franchising because of the growing markets in the country.
The diplomatic relationship between the countries began in the year 1973. The trade has grown from 8.5 billion dollars to 12.12 billion dollars within 2 years. India’s exports also jumped over 100% in a year. Over 7,00,000 of the population in Qatar is Indian and there are significant Indian companies and businessmen successfully operating here.
Qatar is placed 3rd in the GCC region and is the 71st of the 132 countries on the 2019 international franchise attractiveness index.
The government has been developing and promoting franchising in many ways. The key shopping areas are connected to newly set metro and train lines. The supply chain has also developed tremendously in 4 years and has achieved self-sufficiency in key areas. Qatar telecommunication allows the hosting of the latest technology solutions including 5G network capabilities.
Real estate, especially in commercial space in the retail market, is in abundance. Retail space growth has also doubled in the last 3 years and is to grow to 50% more by 2021. A vast majority of mainstream franchise brands are operating successfully as well as expanding.
The main areas of franchising that are witnessing growth presently are service-oriented industries, online education, entertainment, family-oriented businesses, fitness, delivery platforms, and online sales.
Though there has been development in the franchising industry in Qatar, there are few challenges one needs to know about before entering the market.
1. Supply chain - Although the supply chain in Qatar has improved as compared to the past, there are some aspects in the area that are challenging.
2. Operational expenses - The operational costs in Qatar are very similar to those in Singapore. Rent is expensive and considered to be a big expense.
3. Lack of qualified talent - The franchise industry here is not mature and therefore the company entering this market should consider getting their own qualified and experienced management.
4. Franchise ecosystem - The franchising industry being new does not have any clear laws. It is treated as a normal commercial project which can be an issue to the investors.
5. Trademark registration and IP protection - Though there have been improvements in the area, there are some points that need progression. To deal with the trademark and IP issues, the government had passed a Cyberlaw, 2014 which states infringing the laws could lead to imprisonment and a fine. There is a cyber-security department where complaints could be raised and resolved with ease. Yet, get your trademark registered with GCC before entering, since there are 3 expedites in the process here in Qatar. Also, the investment in GCC has become smarter and realistic. Unless otherwise offers to buy or sell a franchise are valid, it might not work. The selection is a big process now.
The government has been supporting entrepreneurs and has also given aids for rent and salary during Covid. The government has taken measures to help SME promotion. To support the franchise industry, the Qatar Development Bank has set up a franchise development program where a 50% subsidy is given at the cost of FTP if the business is scalable and franchise-ready.
If there is a great idea for the local markets, good quality product or service then it is the right time to enter the market to get the first-mover advantage. You get the authority and there is demand and spending parity in Qatar. Where the market is mature, the plan is well laid but there are issues like penetration and saturation. In Qatar, it is easy to identify and relate to the brand through word of mouth. The quality of the product works best to form a customer base.
In all, Qatar has a developing franchise industry with a market that is stable, safe and family-oriented. With newer grown airlines, ports, free zones, and also the upcoming Olympics and football events it holds large business opportunities.
Edited By: Vaishnavi Gupta