In terms of business in Asia, Singapore is often overshadowed by the more dominating presence of China, but this relatively small country actually ranks way higher for international entrepreneurs who want to stake their claim in the Asian markets. So, if you want to find out how to start a business in Singapore and what the advantages are of opening a company in the country, then just take a look at our guide below.
Business advantages in Singapore
Singapore is considered a global hub for finance, manufacturing, trade and technology and is frequently pitched high up in international rankings such as “best investment potential”, and “world’s smartest city”. It also benefits from low tax rates and the lack of red tape that helps Singapore stand out from its neighbours. The stable political and economic climate with its excellent infrastructure and well-developed financial system means you can feel reassured that your investment is safe-guarded. Singapore also offers several tax benefits that are usually not available in other countries. Here are just some of them:
- a single-tier taxation system
- no tax on overseas income
- no capital gains tax
- no dividend income tax
- no tax on assets from inheritance or gifts
- streamlined and simplified tax filing procedures
- Avoidance of Double Taxation treaties so individuals who receive income from abroad or have assets outside Singapore are not taxed by both countries.
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English is also widely spoken so, unlike other foreign countries, there is minimal language difficulties or need for translators. And there is also a well-trained and productive workforce ready for hire. The location is also excellent for trade and import/export companies – it has many neighbouring countries including Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia – and its airport and maritime ports have been ranked in recent years as some the best in the world.
How To Open a Company in Singapore
1. Company Registration
First of all, you need to register your business with ACRA which is the Singapore government’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. Unfortunately, foreign entrepreneurs can’t register a company themselves so you’ll need to have the help of a corporate services firm that act on your behalf. You don’t need a visa to incorporate a business in Singapore, but you will need a local director if you’re opening a Private Limited Company or a local manager if you are registering a Sole Proprietorship or Limited Liability Partnership who will need to be a resident of Singapore. Otherwise if you are planning to live and work in Singapore, you’ll need to get an Employment Pass or Entrepreneur Pass – both of which can be obtained through the corporate services firm.
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If you’re not sure what type of business structure you want to set up with, ACRA has a guide which compares all the different types of structures and all the requirements that go with them. Click here for the guide.
After your business has been registered, ACRA will send you a letter which acts as the official certificate of incorporation. It will include your company’s UEN – Unique Entity Number – which you will need to include on all invoices and business letters. Your business profile can also be uploaded onto ACRA’s website (which you need to pay for) if you want to have that extra stamp of authority for customers.
If you’re hiring foreign workers or you’re drafting in colleagues and their families you’ll need to consider getting employment passes or dependents passes. You are eligible to apply for a pass if you are a foreign entrepreneur, CEO or director of a company who wants to relocate to Singapore to manage the locally-incorporated business. You can then apply for worker’s passes for employees who earn a salary of at least SGD3,600 per month, who work in a managerial, executive or specialised job, and have acceptable qualifications such as a good university degree, professional qualifications or specialist skills.
Whatever your business, you can find out more information about opening a branch or company in Singapore, relocating to Singapore or registering your business in Singapore, by contacting us directly on 0033 (0)1 53 57 49 10 or emailing us from our contact page and we’ll be happy to discuss your requirements.