Brunei Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022


  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public Holidays


According to allunitconverters, the Sultanate of Brunei is a country of 450,000 people. population whose reality derives from three basic paradigms (i) the central unquestioned role of the monarch (ii) strict (but not extremist) Islam and (iii) wealth and high standards from oil extraction and export. Any business negotiations must therefore respect the mentioned parameters. From a broader point of view, it is possible to apply in the country similar experiences from negotiations in neighboring countries, especially Malaysia and parts of Indonesia, whose cultural and social customs are similar, or the most similar.


In personal dealings, it is necessary to respect the restrictions and customs related to the Islamic religion and other cultural and social customs – for example, the perception of the left hand as “unclean” and for that reason not giving the left hand to another person or using it for food. Brunei may surprise many with the relatively emancipated position of women who behave in a modern way, drive cars, do not necessarily go veiled in private and hold some more important (but not high) public positions. Despite this fact, it is necessary to keep in mind the relevant specifics of the position of women stemming from culture and religion and refrain from direct or even more personal contacts on the part of men, whether physical or verbal.

Business meeting

In the case of a possible business meeting with Bruneians, it can be assumed that it will be a businessman familiar with international customs, possibly educated abroad. For the initial meeting, the most likely and most appropriate neutral environment is, for example, an international hotel, and the basic parameters of the meeting do not necessarily differ significantly from the international standard. The absence of alcohol is self-evident, and in the case of food, other restrictions must be taken into account on the part of the partner (halal, ban on pork, etc.). The participation of women is not excluded, however, a man should lead the negotiations on the part of the foreign partner. When choosing clothes, women should exclude bold or revealing elements and choose rather long, covering clothes. Due to the tropical climate, social etiquette allows men to put away their jackets and move around in only a shirt and tie or a local batik shirt.

  • Programingplease: Yearbook 2010 of nation Brunei, including population, politics, and abbreviations.


Rather, it can be assumed that in practice the partner you will meet will speak English. Otherwise, it would be possible to expect that the partner will provide the interpretation of the meeting. Especially in the opening meetings, it is necessary to avoid sensitive topics, especially those connected with religion or the person of the monarch, unless you are absolutely sure of the context and meaning of your speech. In particular, attempts at satire or vulgar expressions are not appropriate. This does not preclude, in specific cases, the later setting of communication in a much more open and emancipated spirit, especially in private. Communication channels are similar to those in other countries of the region. Far more popular than e-mail is communication through applications such as WA etc.


Before visiting this specific country, it is certainly advisable to prepare well, to study its realities and history. Regarding cultural and social customs, the similarity with neighboring Malaysia or Indonesia will probably provide the best clues and information about the Sultanate of Brunei. The day is divided into several parts between prayers. The first prayer is every morning before five o’clock. Bruneians have to be washed and dressed by that time, so the day for them starts already in the early hours of the morning. Further prayers take place at noon around twelve o’clock, another between three and four o’clock in the afternoon and continue with evening prayers around six and seven o’clock. During the prayer, the work is interrupted.

Public Holidays

An overview of public holidays in 2022 can be found here.

Usual working hours in companies are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

Usual working hours in state offices are from 7:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

Sales hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week.

Brunei Culture of Business