Success tips when doing business in Brunei in 2024

Brunei business facts and success tips for foreign investors

  1. Brunei authorities boast a large set of subsidies and tax-exemption schemes aimed at diversifying the economy outside of oil and gas. Our Clients are likely to benefit from such incentives by providing the authorities with a good business plan;
  2. Finding performing employees is a key challenge in Brunei. Locals often prefer less challenging but well paid public sector positions, while skilled foreigners often dismiss Brunei as a backwater country;
  3. Brunei government actively promotes entrepreneurship by organizing workshops. Such events are not only instructive but can also help our Clients to build their own network of business partners and customers;
  4. Opening a corporate bank account in Brunei may be difficult for Clients with less established businesses. In such cases, opening a bank account in Malaysia, Singapore or Hong Kong proves an excellent alternative solution;
  5. While the official language of Brunei is Bahasa Malaya, most locals are fairly fluent in English. However, many low skilled foreign workers are coming from Indonesia and do not speak English, which may prove a problem for HR management;
  6. Never ask for a business meeting with a Bruneian partner on a Friday, as it is a holy day dedicated to prayer and rest in Brunei. When setting an appointment, our Clients should be careful not to set it on prayer time;
  7. Our Clients should carefully check the background of their foreign employees. They will indeed be legally liable if their employee commits any wrongdoing;
  8. The Empire Hotel and Country Club, a palace hotel located at the outskirts of the capital city of Brunei, provides an ideal location for our Clients to organize company meetings or meet with prospective customers visiting the country.

Interesting facts about Brunei

  1. Brunei Darussalam is the smallest economy in Southeast Asia, with a GDP recorded at only US$17 billion in 2014, to be compared with US$298 billion for Singapore;
  2. While the population of the Sultanate is only 400,000, Bruneians’ average annual income of US$42,000 is the second highest in Southeast Asia, with neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia lagging behind, at US$11,000 and US$3,500;
  3. Brunei’s economy is built on oil and gas. Over 95% of the country’s exports consist of oil and gas, and pretty much everything else is imported;
  4. Since 1967, the Bruneian dollar is pegged to the Singaporean dollar. These two currencies can be used freely in each of these two countries, except for one dollar which is a note in Brunei and a coin in Singapore;
  5. Founded around the 7th century, Brunei Darussalam is one of the most ancient States in Southeast Asia. Its territory used to cover most of Borneo and Mindanao, Philippines’ southernmost island;
  6. Brunei Darussalam is a conservative Muslim country. It is not possible to find alcohol in the country and the authorities recently decided to implement Shariah, the Islamic Code;
  7. There is virtually no unemployed people in Brunei, which explains why the country receives many foreign workers from Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines;
  8. The Sultan of Brunei is one of the world’s wealthiest person and goes by the full name of Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien;
  9. Formerly used to host foreign government officials visiting Brunei, the Empire Hotel and Country Club is now a palace hotel in which our Clients may rent a room, organize company meetings, play golf and relax in a luxury setting;
  10. The capital of Brunei Bandar Seri Begawan hosts the world’s largest floating village, Kampong Ayer.

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in Brunei, please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Lisa McHugh Dolan, directly:
Consultant at HC - lisa