Foreigners can register a company and own 100% of its shareholding.
- You will need to engage a registered filing agent (such as a law firm, accounting firm or corporate secretarial firm) to submit the application in BizFile+ on your behalf.
- One of the directors/authorised representatives/general partners/managers must be a local resident.
Agents usually provide services, such as:
- Registration of company;
- Provision of Company Secretary;
- Provision of local nominee director;
- Filing Annual Returns with ACRA;
- Maintaining and updating of information with ACRA; etc.
Foreign entrepreneurs or existing Dependant Pass (DP) holders who wish to start a business in Singapore will need to consider:
- Setting up a company with an Employment Pass (EP) or
- Applying for an Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass)
2021 Business opportunities in Singapore
Truth is, business anywhere is hard but having the right infrastructure, a supportive community, good financial, tax framework and planning definitely helps. Singapore having all of that is already a strong attraction to foreign investors.
Highlighting some business opportunities:
The tech industry is a given and Singapore is no exception. If you’re founding a startup, launchpads, accelerators, incubators, sandboxes, mentorship, venture capitalists- you name it, we have it. Read on about all things Startup Singapore.
Some popular businesses in consulting, lifestyle and services include home tutoring services, digital marketing, copywriting, cleaning service, and babysitting service.
Anything import-export, trading, shipping, logistics and supply chain management, Singapore is the “port of call” for you. Our dominance in the region is thanks to the elaborate infrastructure. we have in place, results in detailed and comprehensive procedures for businesses. To mention notable benefits, our network of over 50 comprehensive Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements, many free trade agreements and the Investment Guarantee Agreements.
If you have assets, ideas or innovations to protect, Singapore’s strict enforcement of its strong intellectual property laws would be beneficial to you. Not to mention under the Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence patent scheme, what would usually take 2 to 4 years for others to procure, Singapore can do 3 months.
We have a whole article on business opportunities in Singapore.
How to choose company type according to business needs
We’ll focus on the whys here and leave the elaboration in our article comparing different types on company structure.
First, let’s establish that a private company limited by shares is the way to go. If this is your first business, you can get straight to incorporation. We go into the comparison of sole proprietorship, partnerships and other; and talk about the steps to registering your company.
A quick overview on the requirements:
|Subsidiaries (Foreign Subsidiary Incorporation in Singapore)||Want a separate legal entity because they are venturing into new industries or markets, and would like to keep legal liabilities separate.|
Wholly owned (100%) subsidiaries also allow HQ to keep the ratio of their shareholdings fixed. For example, Shareholder A of 50% and Shareholder B of 50% in HQ will have the same ratio in the subsidiary.
|Related companies||Enjoy flexibility in their structure. Shareholders and directors in the Singapore related company can be exactly the same as the main company. Whenever a need arises and they would like to have new shareholders or investors, onboarding is simple.|
|Representative office (Foreign Representative Office)||Have little to no clients in the new market. Invoicing is still done by parent company. Once they have more clients, they can decide on setting up a more permanent establishment.|
|Branch (Foreign Branch Incorporation)||Would not like to have a separate legal entity due to commercial or tax purposes. For example, a company might want to retain their tax residency status at the overseas HQ jurisdiction. Having a permanent establishment in Singapore through a subsidiary or another set up might complicate that.|
|Re-domiciliation (Foreign company Re-domiciliation to Singapore)||Are larger in size (50 employees, S$10 million in total assets or annual revenue) and want to protect all their assets, branding and history, bringing it with them to make Singapore their new HQ.|
Getting the right visa to run your business in Singapore
Next to setting up your company, you need to get the right visa to live in Singapore and run your business.
Employment Pass (EP) vs EntrePass
There will always be a debate over an EP or EntrePass for foreign business owners. We are advocates of the Employment Pass. Why?
1. Higher application success rate
A qualified individual for EP should have a tertiary or degree certification and a minimum monthly salary of S$4,500 (in accordance to their resume). An EntrePass candidate is intended for serial entrepreneurs, high-calibre innovators or experienced investors whose business in Singapore that is venture-backed or owns innovative technologies. In comparison, the EntrePass is daunting.
2. EP is family friendly
If you’re bringing spouse or kids in, they can apply for dependent passes attached to your EP. The qualifying salary for the EP holder is S$6,000. However, if you’re on an EntrePass, you need a total annual business spending of S$100,000 and meet local employment requirements.
3. No specific requirement for renewal
The renewal of an EP is subjective by nature. The Ministry Of Manpower (MOM) looks at the company’s need for the EP holder and their capabilities of engaging him/her for another period. The EntrePass is has a progressive renewal criteria framework. By the 2nd year, you should plan to hire at least 3 full-time employees (FTE) or 1 local professional, manager or executive (PME). Your total annual business spending by then must be at least S$100,000.