Business opportunity in Singapore

Singapore is one of the 'Four Asian Tigers' which has emerged as a rapidly growing sound economy in South-east Asia. In its report, the World Bank rated Singapore as the third best country for doing business and trade. Singapore was also ranked first for being the least bureaucratic and corruption-free place for doing business in Asia. The booming manufacturing and high technology sectors of this tiny island nation defy its size thanks mainly to its industrious population and its strategic location on major sea routes. No wonder, international trade associations are on the rise in Singapore.

After separation from Malaysia in 1965, the country was faced with a plethora of economic challenges such as lack of physical and natural resources and humble domestic market. But the government adopted a pro-foreign investment and export-oriented policy that in combination with state-directed investments in strategic government corporations proved a big success. The economy grew at an average of 8% from 1960 to 1999. The global recession in 2008-09 did slow the growth rate but to a moderate 6% in Q4.

Some of the factors that are responsible for the environment so conducive for business in Singapore are highly skilled workforce, favorable tax regime, fair laws and regulations and valuable resources. Singapore has attracted business from around 3,000 multinational companies

largely from US, Europe and Japan which account for around two-thirds of manufacturing production, although some services sectors are still governed by the state-linked corporations. New and exciting employment opportunities are being created to reconstruct Singapore into a knowledge-based economy. Thus, at present Singapore's business sector is a thriving industry and is attracting people from around the globe. Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry is also doing a great job for the overall economic planning and development of the country.

Biotechnology is one sector in which Singapore has carved its own niche. The country is aggressively promoting biotechnology industry by investing millions of dollars for infrastructural development, research and development and recruiting best international scientists. Prominent pharmaceuticals companies, like GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co. and Pfizer have set up units in the island nation. Pharmaceuticals account for around 16% of Singapore's manufacturing output.

The growing economy of India, especially the IT sector, is becoming a booming source of foreign direct investment for Singapore. Although US has no plans to offer bilateral aid to Singapore, it appears keen to improve trade as it signed important US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement in 2002.

According to the annual reports of World Bank, Singapore is the top country where professionals can think of running a successful business. A recent interview with BBC News pointed out that the country is an efficient platform from where both export and import transactions can be executed. Additionally, Singapore also makes a good choice for minority shareholders and investors.

Eligibility Criteria for starting a business set-up in Singapore

  • For starting a business in Singapore you need to provide your Standard Subject Identification Code (SSIC code),
  • local address and
  • get it registered with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
  • You need to also obtain working capital in the form of loans, savings, government capital or investors so as to set up a business.
  • Setting up your accounting system and creating a new bank account exclusively for your business is of utmost importance.
  • Besides, you need to gain familiarity with your tax obligations prior to setting up your business.
  • You cannot come up with your personal business structure in Singapore unless you have applied for the relevant permits and licenses.
  • The license and permits you apply for usually depends on your activity and industry type.
Some of the licenses you can apply for include:

1. Business activity licenses and permits
2. Compulsory licenses
3. Occupational licenses for professional services

Requirements for†starting a business set-up

† Before you set up a business in Singapore, you need to consider the following points:
  • When you are planning to set up a business, you need to first determine whether it is a private limited company, limited liability partnership, partnership or sole proprietorship enterprise.
  • You need to provide complete details of the business premise you are choosing. It can be anything starting from commercial premise to government managed premise and home office.
  • Make sure to research your market trends, size, competitors, market need and above all target customers prior to setting up your business.
  • Chalk out your financial plan and set your business plan prior to making a move.
  • You need to choose a unique name for your business. Make sure that the name you choose is relevant to the venture you are opting for. †

Facilities provided to start business in Singapore by Government and other resources

Singapore makes a mark as far as smooth running bureaucracy is concerned which in turn is of real help for those interested in initiating a business here. Some of the government bodies that will help you come up with your own business set up are as follows:
  • Economic Development Board: It offers complete investor support to budding business professionals.
  • Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board: It helps businesses in management development, financing, as well as in getting access to their desired markets.
  • International Enterprise Singapore: It helps foreign businesses strengthen their base in Singapore and tie-up knots with Singaporean organizations.

How Singapore is best place for doing business

With a strong influence in investment and trade, Singapore can be considered as one of the competitive countries and the easiest place to execute a business. By setting up an international headquarter at Singapore; you can get access to various free trade agreements as well as investment guarantee agreements.

What are the regulatory bodies related to business in Singapore?

The regulatory body that will help get your business registered usually differs depending on your business type. For instance, you can contact the Monetary Authority of Singapore, if you are planning to set up a banking, finance or insurance venture. Similarly, you can contact the Attorney-Generalís Chambers if you are interested in a legal set up. For other industry set up, the International Enterprise Singapore will come to your aid.

Last Updated On: 16th July 2012

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