Setting up in Kazakhstan – what all businesses need to know

Posted on: 01/09/2014 in: Opportunities for SMEs, Recent Developments

Business people shake hands on KZ flag

Last month’s Somerset Chamber of Commerce magazine picked up on research by the British Chambers of Commerce which identified Kazakhstan as one of the countries perceived as providing the greatest opportunities for growth in the next five years.

Perhaps you’ve picked up on that message too? Maybe you’re keen to move into this market, but no doubt without putting lots of cash at risk.

Whether you’re thinking from your own perspective as an entrepreneur, or weighing the issues up with support from your board of directors, here are some of the key questions you should be asking.

  • How will you identify and contact potential customers, partners and distributors?
  • How will you obtain sales leads and opportunities?
  • How will you ensure you pre-qualify for tender opportunities, or better still, obtain direct sales?
  • How will you address the practicalities of language, business etiquette and culture?
  • Where will you obtain advice, and who will you trust to understand and protect your interests?

If you’re thinking of taking things a step further and registering a local branch or setting up a local company to ensure you have a real presence in country:

  • How will you identify and select a local partner?
  • How will you protect your investments, assets and people?
  • How will you obtain visas, work permits, licences and other operational requirements?
  • How will you get money out of Kazakhstan, and what taxes will apply?
  • How will you ensure that management / overhead costs are allowed against local taxes?

It’s more crucial than ever that your investment is of demonstrable benefit to the local economy. As with other countries in the region, the government are increasingly promoting the importance of “local content”. So you’ll need to understand:

  • What constitutes “local content” in relation to business ownership, staffing, purchasing and manufacturing.
  • How can you maximise local content while bringing in outside investment, assets and people.

If you’re already doing business in Kazakhstan, why not share your experiences with us via twitter.

Alternatively, if you’re just starting out in Kazakhstan, let us know if you are looking for opportunities, local delivery partners or professional tax advice. We’ll be happy to talk to you.