How to do business in Singapore: A step-by-step guide

Trường Lăng

April 12, 2023


How to do business in Singapore: A step-by-step guide

Trường Lăng

April 12, 2023

The first edition of the guidebook “Doing business in Singapore” by Viettonkin Consulting provides a detailed guideline and best practices for investors on how to do business in Singapore. 

Reasons to do business in Singapore

Despite the turbulence of the global context, Singapore still proves its attractiveness in the investors eyes. According to the guidebook, the first half of 2022 saw a surging investment wave from foreign lenders pouring into the country with a reported 142 projects worth USD 8.2 billion, following 2 consecutive half-year periods in which FDI exceeded USD 9 billion. 

Foreign direct investment net inflows in Singapore from 2012 to 2021 (in million USD). Source: Statista

The impressive amount of investment capital in Singapore can be attributed to three major reasons. Singapore was the best place to do business in Asia and the second best place to do business out of 190 countries and territories around the world (World Bank, 2022). 

The Lion City state is also home to innovative technology. Singapore consistently ranked first in Asia and second in the global market for having the best IP protection (Global Competitiveness Report, 2019), with its commercialization of technology being available in online markets. 

In addition, the so-called Lion City state is especially well-positioned in the eyes of investors who are looking to capitalize on business growth and resilience of Southeast Asian markets, leading to ventures in other countries. 

Ways to do business in Singapore

Thus, to venture into Singapore, there are four basic steps. 

  • Step 1: Choose a business structure

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) licenses and regulates business entities in Singapore. Normally, 4 types of business structures that can be set up in Singapore, which are Sole-Proprietorship/Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership, and Private Limited Company. 

Detailed comparison among different forms of business are available in this guidebook. Download for further references. 

  • Step 2: Register the business on Bizlife

It cost SGD 15 (USD 10) to register the business name, then being reserved for 120 days. If the name is not incorporated within this time, it will no longer be reserved and is made available to the general public.

  • Step 3: Register a Corppass Administrator

There are two ways to obtain a Corppass Administrator, either through GoBusiness or Corppass portal. 

Tips for investors doing business in Singapore 

Upon venturing in Singapore, it is advisable for foreign investors to be aware of the general regulations, investment incentives, business etiquette and culture. 

In general, Singapore has efficient regulations and open markets. In lieu of investment law for foreign and domestic investors, investment is governed by laws of general application—for example, the common law of contract and the Singapore Companies Act-and sector-specific legislation. 

Additionally, Singapore offers various investment incentives to encourage high-quality projects. In particular, diverse tax incentivized schemes have been enacted to support investors in setting up a new business in Singapore, such as Double Tax Deduction Scheme for Internationalisation (DTDi), Venture Capital Fund Incentive, among others. 

Besides, the country has different types of financial and non-financial assistance, which facilitate the investment process and activities of foreign businesses. For example, Singapore has 15 bilateral and 12 regional free trade agreements (FTAs) currently in force. 

In terms of business etiquette and culture, there are some mindful practices that investors are advised to bear in mind. For example, Singaporeans value their time, so being punctual is the basic principle to do business with them. Or, it is advisable that investors exchange a small gift during the negotiation process, and avoid saying “No” directly. 

Download the guidebook for in-depth analysis of regulations, incentives and best practices. 

Top trending sectors in the upcoming time

According to DOS, in 2020, the Financial and Insurance services sector claimed the first spot in terms of FDI volume. Also, as cited from DOS, the Wholesale & Retail Trade had successfully made it to second place in the chart. Meanwhile, landing in third place is the Manufacturing sector 

Based on the market demands, the DOS study has identified three fastest growing FDI fields, including Transportation & Storage, Accommodation & Food Services, and Information & Communication.  

In conclusion

The guidebook “Doing business in Singapore” is the collaborative effort by top consultants from Viettonkin Consulting – a leading FDI consulting firm with more than a decade experience in thousands of investment projects in various industries within Southeast Asia. With the in-depth insights from well-informed professionals in Singapore’s markets and legal systems, the guidebook provides comprehensive information and best practices on how to do business in the Lion City state. Download the guidebook now to get the most practical intelligence that aids your investment decisions!

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