How to setup a business in Singapore


Since 2006 the World Bank awards Singapore as the world’s easiest place to do business. The sole English speaking country in the region, with sound financial system and stable political environment, Singapore offers an excellent springboard to jump-start or expand your business in Asia.  Many companies chose to locate their headquarters in Singapore because of the low corporate tax rates, availability of funding, talented workforce, flexible immigration policies, advanced infrastructure, low crime rate, etc. So, how to setup a business in Singapore?

First, choose one of the five following business structures: Sole-Proprietor, Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Limited Partnership (LP), and Company. Most companies register as private limited liability. A private limited company in Singapore is a separate legal entity, and shareholders are not liable for the company’s debts beyond the amount of share capital they have contributed.

Second, fulfill eligibility requirements. A company must has at least one director who is above 18 and be a Singapore Citizen, Permanent Resident, Employment Pass holder or Dependant Pass holder. Furthermore, a local manager needs to be appointed if none of the owners is a Singapore Resident.

Third, it is important to check the availability of your proposed business name by searching ACRA’s online directory. Then, decide on a business location. Businesses that do not require a physical premise can use a virtual address, which is offered by many professional service providers.

Once the above preparatory steps have been completed, registration with the ACRA can be done online. Singaporeans must log into BizFile+ using their identification number and SingPass. It is mandatory for a foreigner to engage a professional firm to register a business in Singapore.

After successful registration, you can open a corporate bank account in any of the major banks in Singapore. Many of the banks in Singapore require physical presence of the company principals as part of the account opening procedure.

As most other jurisdictions, Singapore has a set regulatory compliance requirements for starting and operating a company. Therefore, entrepreneurs are advised to engage the services of a professional firm like Salina Consultants to evaluate the market readiness, help them set the right strategy to enter Singapore, and then eventually expand in Asia.