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Why You Should Consider Doing Business in Singapore

Singapore is one of the most desirable places in the world to set up global business operations today. It offers significant competitive advantages in finance, company formation, infrastructure, and global connectivity.

Singapore hosts thousands of top international brands in different industries, including technology, finance, oil, gas, aviation, shipping, and logistics.

Legal Business Entities in Singapore

Singapore is very flexible regarding the type of business structures that can be registered. The entities allowed are;

#1 Sole proprietorship

This is a one-person business. The business is not separate from the owner, meaning the owner takes all the profits and bears all losses.

#2 Partnerships

2-20 people own this business. The business is governed by a partnership deed regarding the sharing of profits, losses, and liabilities. The owners are not separate entities from the business, so they bear all liabilities.

#3 Limited Partnerships

A limited partnership has a general partner who is responsible for day to day running of the business. There is also a limited partner who is not in management and is limited in liability, as defined in the partnership deed.

#4 Limited Liability Partnership

An LLP's partnership deed outlines the capital contribution and liability extent of each partner. The extent of one partner's liability does not extend to that of the other partners.

#5 Local Private Limited Liability Company

This business is owned by up to 50 shareholders, including foreigners. The liability of the shareholders is to the extent of their shareholding value. The business is a separate entity from the shareholders. It can sue and be sued in court. A local private limited liability company cannot have corporate shareholders.

#6 Local Public Limited Liability Company

This business is owned by more than 50 shareholders and can issue shares to the public, including foreigners and corporations. The shareholders' liability is to the extent of their shareholding. The business is a separate entity from the shareholders. Public LLCs must be registered by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

#7 Company Limited by Guarantee

This entity is allowed for non-profit organizations. Trustees guarantee the liabilities of the entity.

#8 Foreign Company

Foreign registered companies are allowed to operate in Singapore, but ACRA must register them. They can sue or be sued in Singaporean courts.

#9 Non-Trading Representative Office

Singaporean laws allow establishing this type of short-term entity to prospect for investments, market exploration, and research. It is not allowed to raise funds.

Ease of Company Formation in Singapore

Singapore first topped the Word Bank Ease of Doing Business Index in 2012. Since then, it has remained in the top five most friendly places in the world for starting and running a business. In 2020, it was ranked number two.

It is also one of the most friendly countries for starting a business, ranking number four in 2020. Company registration in Singapore takes 2.5 days for a private limited company. All documentation is done online.

Singapore is one of the friendliest countries for foreign investors. Foreigners can own 100% ownership in a private limited company. Foreigners are not required to be physically present in Singapore to open a business. They can use a filing agent for the process.

A filing agent is a firm made up of lawyers, accountants or auditors, who facilitate a business entity registration. They prepare the required documentation and interact with ACRA on behalf of the client.

Steps in Setting Up a Company in Singapore

It is easy to set up a private limited company in Singapore through a filing agent. Everything is done on BizFile+, which is ACRA's online portal. You can follow and check the company registration progress online.

#1 Submit the preferred name to BizFile+ for search and approval

#2 Get the documentation ready. This will provide details on;

  • Type of business entity
  • Particulars of the directors, company secretary (can be a filing agent), and key personnel
  • Number of shares and major shareholders with over 25% shareholding
  • Registered address
  • Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association
  • Financial year beginning and end

#3 Submit the documentation of BizFile+. If the documentation is in the correct order, the Company Certificate and Company Registration Number are out in 2.5 days. The company seal and stamp are also approved.

#4 After the registration, the company is required to;

  • Appoint an auditor within six months of the registration
  • Hold an Annual General Meeting within a calendar year of registration
  • File annual and tax returns within a month of the AGM

Why Register a Company in Singapore?

Any global investor looking to invest should have Singapore as the number one choice for the following reasons;

Robust Economy

Singapore's economy has been performing strongly in the last 20 years, even during global economic slowdowns. While it has no mineral wealth, Singapore has a strong service sector supporting natural resources extraction industries like oil and gas. For example, Singapore is the largest exporter of oil rig equipment.

The economy has a robust services sector that generates 70% of the country's GDP. Singapore appreciates this by inviting even more services business in the country. Consultancies are allowed to operate from residential addresses.

Excellent Human Resources

Singapore's education system is one of the best in the world. Singapore's secondary school students are consistently ranked top five in Maths, Sciences, and Reading competition. In 2019, they were ranked number two in the world.

The National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University were ranked 11th and 12th, respectively, in the QS World University Rankings. These educational institutions produce some of the most talented professionals in engineering and computing. Singapore Management University has ranked the top 100 universities for finance, economics, and law.

Most people in Singapore speak, read, and write English at a professional proficiency level. Singaporeans have strong working ethics and focus on achieving results. Recruiting top talent from other countries is allowed as well as long as the business can prove their need. The immigration laws are flexible to allow foreigners to work in the country.

Global Connectivity

Singapore is one of the most connected places in the world for both passenger and cargo transport. All major airlines fly to Singapore. The national airline, Singapore Airlines, flies to over 130 cities in the world on five continents.

Singapore is a significant shipping center, having developed as a shipping port. All major shipping lines have offices and logistics centers in Singapore. It makes Singapore one of the easiest places to get goods in and out.

Singapore ranks among the top three countries in internet speeds. In 2020, it ranks second with average internet speeds of 70.82 MB/s. This is speedy enough to download a 2-hrs movie in approximately 10 minutes.

Startups can easily set up space in one of the co-working spaces in the city. Singapore is flexible about physical offices; a business can use a filing agent's address as the official office for correspondence purposes. Consultants and professional services like lawyers, accountants, and auditors can operate from their residencies.

Singapore remains one of the most attractive investment decisions for investments in any industry. This robust South East Asian country offers advantages that few other countries can offer for established global brands and fresh startups.