International Business : Saudi Arabia Facts

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Saudi Arabia - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette

Welcome to our guide to Saudi Arabia. This is useful for anyone researching Saudi Arab culture, customs, manners, etiquette, values and wanting to understand the people better. You may be going to Saudi Arabia on business, for a visit or even hosting Saudi colleagues or clients in your own country. Remember this is only a very basic level introduction and is not meant to stereotype all Saudis you may meet!

Facts and Statistics

Location: The Middle East, bordering Iraq 814 km, Jordan 744 km, Kuwait 222 km, Oman 676 km, Qatar 60 km, UAE 457 km, Yemen 1,458 km

Capital: Riyadh

Climate: harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes

Population: 25,795,938 including 5,576,076 non-nationals (July 2004 est.)

Ethnic Make-up: Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%

Religions: Muslim 100%

Government: monarchy

Language in Saudi Arabia

Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia, but English is widely spoken. It is used in business and is a compulsory second language in schools. Among the non-Saudi population, many people speak Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, and other Asian languages such as Farsi and Turkish.

Arabic is spoken by almost 200 million people in more than 22 countries. It is the language of the Qur'an, the Holy Book of Islam, and of Arab poetry and literature. While spoken Arabic varies from country to country, classical Arabic has remained unchanged for centuries. In Saudi, there are differences between the dialects spoken in urban areas and those spoken in rural areas.

Saudi Society & Culture


Islam is practised by all Saudis and governs their personal, political, economic and legal lives. Islam was born in Saudi Arabia and thus is visited by millions of Muslims every year. The Prophet Muhammad is seen as the last of God's emissaries (following in the footsteps of Jesus, Moses, Abraham, etc) to bring revelation to mankind. He was distinguished with...