Communication improvement needed for business boom in Iran

Tehran, Iran, Nov. 28

By Mehdi Sepahvand – Trend:

Foreign investors coming to Iran face many challenges in a country that has been closed to international businesses for many years due to sanctions, says Siamak Goudarzi, founder of Open Iran Group, which helps foreign companies end up with successful investments in Iran.

There is a lack of awareness about the business culture in Iran, how things are done, the pace, the most effective ways, etc., Dr. Goudarzi told Trend November 28.

“Companies also need to have access to reliable information in a simple language. Much information we find on many websites that are supposed to serve foreign investors is translated word by word, and is not in simple English.”

“Foreign companies are also complaining that email communication in Iran is not as they are used to, even coming up with accounts that they sometimes do not get responses at all,” he said, adding many of these small issues matter to international companies.

Asked what kinds of investors are visiting Iran to start a business, the international business law expert classified them in three categories: not interested, looking with a possibility to invest, and those who already decided and are now looking for hot deals.

On the most sought-after sectors, he said, "We have seen interest in the energy sector, of course oil and gas is awaiting the big companies to step in, and interests in the tourism industry, health, renewable energy, transportation, ICT, water and waste water, and also retail. There is interest from the construction business sector for road and urban development as well."

On efforts by the Iranian government to help foreign investment, he said, "The government is doing all it can to facilitate foreign investment, but it is starting from the point of a country beginning to come out of many years of sanctions. There is always one step to go back before taking couple of steps forward and this is partly due to the unsteady international political climate."

He also commented on Iran’s post-sanctions retail market and said, "Shopping malls are being built, with a lot of none registered brand names on the top of shops, waiting that those brands will finally step in formally. We have seen few major brands already retailing in Iran. Not many big brands have started yet, some are still waiting.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Goudarzi commented on how foreign investment can be facilitated in Iran, and announced the formation of a data center for foreign investors.

“By experience, we know what types of services, advice and assistance international companies require, and for this reason we have created the first knowledge and service center in Iran that can meet all those needs.”

Goudarzi's team has connected many foreign businesses with Iranian counterparts, such as in Heavy Iran 2016, with heavy transport international companies, Focus Iran 2016 on September 26-27 that brought together over 200 companies together in many fields, especially finance, as well as Renpower Iran 2016 that took place in November at the Ministry of Energy, an event that gathered many big names in the energy industry.

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