Investment Opportunities Abound in Singapore Markets
Singapore is fast becoming a major business mecca. With an open-door policy on immigration, relatively low tax rates, free trade agreements, Investment Guarantee Agreements and business-friendly policies dominating the marketplace, Singapore is gaining ground as the place to be for entrepreneurs. It currently ranks among the top locations in Asia for starting a business.
The amenities available in Singapore are also attractive to enterprising individuals. Banking is modern, as are the office buildings that are springing up. There is also plenty of culture, along with plentiful opportunities for mingling socially, making Singapore more of a draw for foreign investors who wish to immigrate with their families.
Eliminate Confusion with Good Preparation
Although it’s relatively simple to start a new business enterprise in Singapore, if you haven’t taken the right steps to prepare yourself, you’re going to get frustrated and confused. Read on for pointers on which applications to use, how to get your applications started and the beginning steps to getting your business going in Singapore.
Familiarizing Yourself with the Country is Important
Singapore is very culturally and ethnically diverse. It is important to educate yourself about these various cultures if you want to have a successful business in the country. Ensure that you understand at least a large swath of the culture around you. There are several sites online that offer information on how investment is carried out in Singapore that make this step fairly simple.
Understanding the culture and the country will help you lay a sturdy foundation for your new business. While you are researching these other topics, take a little time to get acquainted with the regulations that exist for the type of business you want to have. Do a little market research. Starting a business in any country requires planning, research and hard work. Think of it as your learning curve. It’ll help a lot in the long run.
Take the time to build a great business network prior to trying to launch your business, too. Your contacts can help you in many ways, including walking you through some of the steps of registering your business and offering consultation about running a business in Singapore.
Understand the Steps Regarding Immigration
You’ve done your research and decided that you definitely want to make the investment to start a business in Singapore. Now you’ll need to make your way through the process of obtaining all the relevant visas (immigration passes) that will allow you to enter the country to begin and maintain your business.
The entrepass is a popular option allowing a registered business owner to live in Singapore along with their family. Individuals who may travel into and out of the country on a regular basis may need a multiple journey visa. It is also advised that individuals who hire employees from their own country to consider obtaining Employment Passes or Work Permits for those employees.
Define the Legal Form For Your Business
Singapore law allows for several different business types. These usually follow some classification based on the limitations implied, whether they are a private or public entity or their management structure as in partnerships and limited partnerships.
Businesses may be limited by shares or guarantees, or they may function without those types of limits. Private businesses have restrictions placed on their shares prohibiting the transfer of shares between shareholders. They cannot have more than fifty shareholders. Public businesses do not have this type of restriction. Shares may be sold, transferred, exchanged and advertised as needed or desired.
Most business entities in Singapore operate under the banner of Private Limited Companies (PLCs) and the focus here will be on this type of business.
The government agency tasked with oversight of new business registrations in Singapore is ACRA, or the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. ACRA has specific rules that must be followed when registering or incorporating a business and it is important to make sure you understand them.
- At least one director of the business MUST reside in Singapore.
- A physical address in Singapore is required; post office (P.O.) box addresses are not allowed.
- The business must possess a minimum of S$1 in paid up capital.
- The secretary for the company has to be a natural citizen of Singapore.
- Passports, special Director’s resolution certificate of incorporation and identification documents will be required of the director or shareholders for the business.
- A functioning bank account must be held that is registered to the business you are starting.
After gathering all of the above, you’ll then need to fill out the Online Bizfile for your business and take care of the licensing and registry fees. This is typically carried out by a professional firm which you hire to complete the process of incorporating the business. This can be accomplished by your certified public accountant, in most cases, for a small fee.
ACRA carries a mandate from the government to ensure compliance by businesses with regard to disclosure requirements. The entity is also tasked with the regulation of statutory audits being carried out by public accountants.
Fees for business registration by a foreigner in Singapore are typically in the range of S$300 to S$1,200. A further fee of S$15 is assessed for each additional name that may be registered with the original business.
Additional steps must be taken to register with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) when the business exceeds certain benchmarks.
Getting Through the Process
There are many positives about starting a business in Singapore. Doing your research and understanding the laws will make the process simpler and less frustrating. It’s important to undertake your own education on these matters and to take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about the country, the culture, the regulations and the kind of business form you’ll take. It will take more time at the outset, but will make starting and running your business much easier over the long run.