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Starting a Business in Singapore

Singapore is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Its people and surroundings are an interesting mix of the new and old cultures. You get the best of both worlds. Additionally, because of its special geographic position and importance in Southeast Asia, Singapore plays an important role in international trade. In fact, a recent report by World Bank ranked Singapore as the best city in the world to start a business.

How to Establish and Register Your Company

For foreigners wishing to start a business form partnerships in Singapore, the process and steps are quite easy and stress free than the case in most other countries (international).

Starting a Business in Singapore

 

Why Choose Singapore to Start Your Business?

Here are some concrete reasons as to why Singapore is one of the premier business centers in the Asia region:

1. Strategic Location
2. Flexible Immigration Laws
3. Minimal Bureaucracy
4. Favorable Tax Rates
5. Skilled Human Resources
6. Protection of Intellectual Property Rights
7. Higher Quality of Life

Why You Should Start Your Business in Singapore

 

 

General Information About Forming A Company

Though it does not seem to be difficult to form a private limited company, many times, the application fails simply because requirements are not met and guidelines are not adhered to. This is partly due to the inability of business owners to understand the requirements and procedures of company formation.

In order for applicants not be charged with failure to comply with the processes, here are some more information and detailed tips for company incorporation.

  • Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is the national regulator of business entities and public accountants in Singapore. Generally, its role is to achieve synergies between the monitoring of corporate compliance with disclosure requirements and regulation of public accountants and finance performing statutory audit. Since there are many cultures living together in Singapore as mentioned earlier, it limits the company name that cannot be something that is vulgar or offensive to any of them. This important step needs to be sorted out before the start of the registration process from the registrar.
  • However, in Singapore, a foreigner is not allowed to register a company by himself. The policy is, at least that one officer – namely the company director – should be a local resident. A resident is defined as someone who is a Singapore citizen or who holds valid residency passes such as Permanent Residency or other legal passes like Entrepass, Employment Pass or Dependent Pass. It is free to nominate as many directors as you like.Additionally, at least one shareholder is required. The person holding the positions of shareholder and director can be the same and the shareholder does not need to be a local. There are also other shareholding requirements to be met. Another thing to be aware of is that a valid local Singapore address which cannot be a PO Box is mandatory. Otherwise, it may get stuck when proceeding with the incorporation process.Business entrepreneurs frequently need to travel. The Singapore’s pro-business policies let investors as well as entrepreneurs running companies within the nation to enter and exit relatively easy from the country via special passes and visas. If applications are submitted online, foreigners from India and China can get approval within 1 day. For foreign nationals from other countries, you may want to visit to the ICA website where it is stated about the visa details. You can also get details about other exemptions and updated regulations.
  • Once the company is established, the owner has to open a corporate bank account which can be with any of the local or international banks in Singapore. In essence, it is important to ensure that proper documents are submitted in keeping with the requirements. It is also required to appoint at least one local company secretary for the company to handle ongoing statutory compliance matters under the section of The Singapore Companies Act. This is an important position and does not just include filing and typing out notes.
  • Banking Facilities

    In addition to setting up a business in company, you may also like to open up a personal bank account. This certainly helps with official payments. Setting aside work money from personal money is extremely crucial when “working out tax” time comes along. In order to open up a bank account, you must bring along passports and personal signatures of al directors, secretaries, and staffs that needs to access the account. Although the form could be complex, but the staff behind the counter are usually helpful.

  • You can find the general requirements and procedures needed for incorporating a Singapore Company below to get more information: Company Incorporation Requirements and Company Secretary Requirements. If you have not known the licenses required for different industries, you can read up on Singapore business licenses and how to apply them.

Singapore – Lucrative Place for Expats

Singapore is considered to be the best country for expat entrepreneurs. Recently, a study revealed that 7 out of 10 expat entrepreneurs are definitely receiving a lot from their startup in Singapore. They say that one of the benefits of starting up a business in Singapore is the ability (time / investment / stock) to grow very fast. Thus, it is obvious that initial capital laid out would definitely receive returns.

So, if you’re thinking about starting up a business in Singapore, the first place you should check out is the primary Singapore government (trade / tax) website.

Entrepreneurs wishing to register their company/companies in Singapore need not be Singaporeans themselves. The solution would be to send an application to receive an Employment Pass if they wish to be actively involved in running their business in Singapore on a daily basis. There are multiple agents and consultants who can provide more information on this endeavor.

Strategic Location

  • With Singapore located right in the heart of Asia, its position offers unlimited commercial business potential for start ups. This in essence and virtual means that business people setting up their operations and processes in Singapore have to meet an open market of more than 4 billion people living in Asia, including those living in aggressive economies such as Hong Kong, China and India.
  • The transport structures to the outside world are also very much developed. Projects such as the Port of Singapore and the Changi international airport have helped to set Singapore as a transportation hub. Thus, Singapore is consistently ranked as the best in the world for over twenty years.

Flexible Immigration Laws

  • Immigration laws and terms are most flexible in Singapore and obtaining a visa, popularly known as an entrepass into Singapore is not as cumbersome as in most other countries. This makes Singapore a global choice of many investors, shareholders and expat workers around the world.
  • If as an entrepreneur, you wish to relocate to Singapore, the government has made the necessary permits easy to obtain. The governance of such laws is straightforward and easy to follow. The support of the government in this sense means that foreign investors have relatively nothing to worry about when conducting their business in Singapore.

Minimal Bureaucracy

  • From the immigration laws to business registration policies, Singapore remains one of the very least bureaucratic countries in Asia. In fact, it only takes 3 days to fully register a business in Singapore, get it incorporated and start trading! These events do give Singapore an edge over other countries globally.
  • The government of Singapore is also largely pro-business, a fact that is seen in the country’s flexible immigration laws. Getting a work pass for a foreigner into the country is as easy as getting an incorporation license for your business.
  • This all-time low level of bureaucracy has made Singapore a favorite of many investors from different nationalities thereby making the city-state of Singapore a melting-pot for people of different cultures.
  • One benefit for foreigners who want to register companies in Singapore is that they do not physically need to be in Singapore to do so. It is also common that the owner of the foreign organization does not hold an employment pass or entrepass. This occurs because he or she will not be operating business on-site. Instead, it is allowed for the owner to move around via holding a visitor visa if only going to be in Singapore on a few occasions for business meetings. Thus it means you need to appoint a qualifying local director once registered.

Favorable Tax Rates

  • Singapore remains one of the Asian countries in the region with the most favorable tax rates and tax incentives that attract and keep diverse global investments. The corporate tax rate in the city-state is a lowly 17%. This low taxation rate has made Singapore consistently listed as the number one destination for global investors and business executives and facilitated competitive business practices which are a pillar to successful economic development. This means that business owners have consistent reserved funding due to such low rates.
  • The tax rates which have been falling over the years have accelerated the economic development of Singapore, and led the World bank to rate it as the world’s number one country with ease of doing business activity. The government has also been able to provide tax payers with numerous incentives, programmes, rebates and schemes which greatly help their tax payments.

Skilled Human Resources

  • Singapore has some of the very best and highly skilled pool of human resource anywhere in the world. This is in line with the government’s high quality education and certification system. Singapore students and graduates from local schools are among the brightest in the world. This assures potential investors and individuals that in no way will their business ever suffer from lack of a workforce. The government has also emphasized on continuous training of employees to ensure that there is constant output of skilled workers. On top of that, hiring talents is a breeze because of the relatively comparable pay.
  • For investors wishing to invest in Business Process Outsourcing, the skilled workforce of Singapore gives them a necessary incentive and consultation to invest in call centers and other BPO-related ventures in the country. This attraction to investors and the skilled human resource ensures that jobs are readily available in the country. Such a venture has certainly clicked with certain parties and enhances Singapore’s image as a skilled employee hub.

Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

  • Singapore is marketing itself as the next Silicon Valley, and as such the protection of intellectual property rights and privacy is held very seriously. Not only can IP holders register their patents in the country, but Singapore is also a signatory to most Intellectual property patents including the Agreement on Trade-related aspects of IP rights and World Intellectual Property Organization. The technology contained within the country will thus be secure. These reports are a good omen towards Singapore being at the forefront of intellectual property protection both in the region and worldwide.

Higher Quality of Life

  • Many people who relocate to Singapore do so together with their families. This is essentially because the country offers the best living conditions with potentially higher income levels and relatively moderate costs of living. With such activities as an extensive healthcare system, banking facilities, good internet structure, developed transport, food, supply of goods and other high quality products as well as the communication industry and other social amenities, Singapore not only offers the best place to do business but also to develop the social life. There is a high level of customers-orientated standards which continue to entrance guests from all over the world.
87 comments
Benoy says:

I am planning to open a company in Singapore. Now I am running a BPO company in India,I have one office in US also. Can you please send me expenses detail and also include your fee.
Thank you

Paul Hype Page says:

Dear Benoy,

Thank you for getting in touch. One of our Corporate Specialists will be in touch and email you with the details you need. In the meantime, should you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at paulhypepage@php-cpa.com.sg

Best Regards,
Paul

Nora Ingram says:

Hi,
I would like to set up a business in Singapore. I have a few questions regarding registering business in Singapore for a foreigner.
1. Do you have to have a street address to register a business? For example: Resident address or PO Box address (local).
2. Do you have to have a bank account in Singapore? What is the minimum required for deposit to open a business account?
3. Once you have the business registration, do you have to apply working visa in Singapore?
4. Does having connections such as family help in the business application?
I was once Singaporean but because of marriage and benefits for school in US I decided to give up my citizenship since Singapore does not allow dual citizenship. Now graduated with bachelor and running a business I want to see what Singapore could offer me. .
Thank you in advance for the information.
Nora Ingram

Paul Hype Page says:

Dear Nora,

Yes, you will need a registered address for a Singapore company (no PO Boxes, though) and you will need to have a company bank account in Singapore with the required capital. If you plan to relocate to Singapore to run your business, you will need a working visa. We’d recommend our all-in-one Incorporation with Employment Pass package.

Do drop us an email at paulhypepage@php-cpa.com.sg when you’re ready to set up your business, we look forward to working with you.

Cheers,
Paul

Kongal says:

Hi,
I’m from Myanmar and a director of a limited company. I want to extend such a trading company in Singapore. Please send me detail expenses of a trading company and about your consultant fees and expenses.

Thanks,
Ko

Paul Hype Page says:

Dear Kongal,

Thank you for your interest. Our all-in-one Incorporation with Employment Pass solution will be a good fit for what you need. My colleague will email you regarding the information about incorporating in Singapore. Do contact us at paulhypepage@php-cpa.com.sg, we look forward to helping you set up your company.

Cheers,
Paul

Walter says:

Hi

I have a Singapore Personal Employment Pass (expiring end of April 2018). I just opened a PLLC (professional limited liability company) in US. I would like to open a company in Singapore. Should this be a ‘branch office’ of US firm or a new company (not sure which – LLC or Sole) with the same name? My company is primarily consulting work for the data center infrastructure business (design/build).

Thank you

Paul Hype Page says:

Dear Walter,

The best option would be to open a private limited company here in Singapore. We would suggest our all-in-one Incorporation with Employment Pass package as the best solution if you’re looking to establish operations here in Singapore.

Do drop us an email at paulhypepage@php-cpa.com.sg and let’s talk more.

Cheers,
Paul

Mohammad Saidul Islam says:

Dear Sir,
Good day.
Would like to set up a small business in singapore. I have been working as a Supervisor in MARINE section under work permit since 2006.
please advice me what is the minimum capital required & also procedure to open a small business here in Singapore. ?
Best Regards ,
Saidul

Paul Hype Page says:

Dear Saidul,

The minimum capital is a mere SGD$1. The best solution for your situation would be our Incorporation with Employment Pass solution. We can assist you from setting up your company to applying work passes as well as registered office address and work space so you are ready to start your business at ease Do give us a call to arrange for a meeting.

Hoping to work with you soon!

Cheers,
Paul

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