Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Expat Dream Merchants

One of the most common topics that one hears from Expats in Qatar is that all want to do some side business to supplement their income due to lower or none savings due to risings rents and inflation. Everyone from a Pathan to Kasargod Malbari to Lebanese expat to Delhite has a business plan which he intends to do or already done it.
I am the usual suspect when my friends have ideas and offbeat business plans mostly over Sheesha, Alcool or Tea I respect everyone's ideas, dreams and I see to it that whatever lil inputs I can give makes common sense and doesn't sound disrespectful.

I can't share the names of my friends as it could hamper their current job profiles, I shall use abbreviations like all the Gulf Newspapers.

  • S.A wants to invest in a Dairy Farm in Bangalore with 4 cows which hopes to give him income of 1 lakh per month.
  • R.L wants to buy a trailer from Jordon, its dumper from Qatar and lease it to a Qatari Const company for 2 years and get regular monthly income of 7000 Riyals after paying the EMI on the trailer loan.
  • A.Y wants to take a big loan from the Qatari Bank at a low interest rate and invest in the Indian Stock Market... Carry Trade's new avatar.
  • R.B has invested in a 3 acre farm in Coimbatore to grow vegetables & fruits and export to Kerala.
  • S.K wants to setup a MLM scheme for Laptop Computers at 500 Riyals.
  • D.K wants to start a Jatropa refining plant in India.
  • A.V has bought a small Rubber Estate to supplement his family income in Kerala
  • B.T calls up his sources in India about latest mobile prices, buy the phones in Qatar and sells it at a profit on landing, which pays for his flight tickets.
  • F.E has invested in a Taxi in Jordan giving him about 2000 Riyals per month.
  • W.D is making a e-commerce site for Qatari population.
  • JK has a Laundry Business at home which he operates after work in Doha.
  • AK wants our company to start a Driving School in Qatar as he thinks the company can make much more in doing this than selling IT solutions :)

Its seems easy for someone for think hey India this stuff is so cheap lemme try to import this and flood the Qatari market & vice versa, then the million dollar question is if it was so easy why isn't everyone doing it are you the only wise guy in town?

But then there will always be arbitrage opportunities around the world including risky things like Blood Diamonds or Blood Cocoa , what the next El Dorado will be is anyone's bet :)

As for myself I am happy doing my lil stock investments but am open to small ideas like Buying & plying 4-5 Rickshaws in Bombay, Microfinance, Investing in a T-shirt Design Co, Doing an Online Flea Market to Re-entering the commodity markets after my earliar bad experience.

So many things to do & I've not even done half the journey thanks to the the vicious cycle of money-time-opportunity.