Business Incorporation
in Singapore

admin July 9, 2012

Definition: What Is Company Incorporation in Singapore?

Incorporating a company in Singapore is a tremendous experience of fulfilling a business idea in a winning legal entity and getting it registered with a business-friendly and the least corrupt authority in a single day. Opening a company in Singapore became the choice for hundreds of foreign businesses and individuals who value advanced protection and support of the government, growing innovative tendency, effective legislation, and low taxes. Setting up a company in Singapore, you win even more through the advantageous location that simplifies access to all Asian countries, various business entities that allow fulfilling even the most audacious business ideas, westernised atmosphere with principally English-speaking and highly educated manpower, and the hard-working and low-crime society. For years, Singapore has been acclaimed by the World Bank for its smart and high-end technologies that facilitate and streamline running a business. If you are seeking for a cost-beneficial and sound place for growing your new business, Singapore is the perfect ground to start up!

Can foreigner open company in Singapore?

You may be surprised, but for your question “Who can set up a company in Singapore?” the answer would be “Everybody”! Every person having as little as 1 SGD can register a company in Singapore without any red tape hassles and even a hint about corruption. Probably the most famous feature of incorporating a company in Singapore is the fast procedure that takes only a single day. Such efficiency, however, implies a substantial assessment which means that a serious groundwork and strategizing must forego registering a company in Singapore. Foreigners should enlist professional Singapore company incorporation services in order to work out the best legal entity for the future company and the staff relocation that will provide the maximum benefits for the business. Please, feel free to reach out for a piece of advice after reading this Singapore company incorporation guide.     Business incorporation in Singapore

Benefits and Features of Opening Company in Singapore

  • Starting a company in Singapore is available for everybody (adult person of any nationality) having at least 1 SGD for the paid-up capital.
  • Main document you must provide for incorporation in Singapore is the Memorandum and Articles of Association that describes the future company’s name, its paid-up capital, liabilities (whether they are limited or not), and some other details.
  • Setting up a Singapore offshore company usually takes a day or two depending on how well you have prepared (paperwork and other requirements).
  • There are many legal entities available for any business situation: company (Private Limited), Sole Proprietorship, Subsidiary, Limited Liability Partnership, Branch Office, and Representative Office. They all have different tax schemes, liabilities and requirements concerning yearly filing; that is why it is so important to make a well-considered choice of the legal entity to equip your new Singaporean company with maximum benefits.
  • Foreigners have no need in shifting to SG for taking part in the new company registration in Singapore and even for running the company afterwards: entrusting company registration agents in Singapore with your case, you can track the procedure from abroad using your computer. After your company is registered, you can run it also from abroad and use regular visas for short business visits.
  • There are two visas available for the relocation of executives and staff: the Employment Pass and the EntrePass. The EP is granted on terms of being hired by the company on an acceptable salary while the latter implies some entrepreneurial criteria: getting sponsored by the venture capitalists/angel investors for at least 100,000 SGD, providing a distinguished business plan, and the paid-up capital containing no less than 50,000 SGD.

Advantages of Setting up Company in Singapore

  • Singapore has one of the planet’s lowest corporate taxes – 17%. New companies (Private Limited or Subsidiary) can reduce it even more using governmental tax incentives: minus 100% of tax for the first earned 100,000 SGD and minus 50% for the next earned 200,000 SGD. After the revenue was taxed on the company level, the members can get their dividends tax-free as in Singapore: no capital gain tax is applied. The personal income tax is also one of the lowest on the planet: it starts from 0% and reaches 20% for incomes over 320,000 SGD.
  • Such company types as the Branch, the Representative Office, Sole Proprietorship, and Limited Liability Partnership aren’t subject to the corporate tax.
  • Singapore has signed agreements for avoiding double taxations: your income is taxed only once – abroad or in Singapore – depending on where it was earned.
  • Being one of the largest Asia-Pacific hubs, Singapore is a comfortable firing pad for reaching other Asian countries.
  • In Singapore, you can have a premium protection of your intellectual property.
  • Government makes significant tax discounts if you invest in your company innovating.
  • City-state is home to high-end infrastructure, one of the world’s busiest maritime ports and the planet’s most praised airport – the Changi Airport.
  • Singapore has a stable political climate, advanced business culture and remarkably low crime rates.
  • If you are seeking for a highly motivated and perfectly educated labour power, you will find it in Singapore.

Disadvantages of Company Registration in Singapore

It is hard to find any reason why you shouldn’t set up your firm in Singapore. Honest and serious entrepreneurs usually face advantages, not disadvantages. There are still a couple of points you should reckon with:
  • Singapore sets high standards for doing business; companies are subjects to stricter local regulations. For example, for some business entities (Private Limited company, Subsidiary, and Branch) you will have to file your audited accounts and your tax returns yearly.
  • For some types of companies, the government insists on appointing local executives: 1 Singaporean director for the Private Limited or the Subsidiary and 2 Singaporean agents for the Branch Office.
  • To protect your business from possible risks, it is recommended to set up a company in Singapore using the limited liability entity (for example, members of the Private Limited company have liabilities that are limited with the paid-up capital they formed in the beginning). Nevertheless, in cases of fraud or any unlawful actions, the limited liability entity won’t help the director to abscond from his responsibilities.
  • Singapore protects transparency in doing business, and, therefore, higher disclosure standards are applied to the companies. The company’s activity will be scrutinized for hidden motives or secret interests.
  • To get your firm would up in Singapore, you will have to undergo certain legal procedures.

Company Registration Singapore Requirements

Every type of company formation in Singapore has its own special set of requirements, but general criteria for Singapore company registration (Private Limited company) are:
  • Founder shouldn’t be younger than 18.
  • The maximum number of members (shareholders) your company can include is 50 (20 for the Exempt Private Company).
  • There are no “nationality” restrictions and the maximum limit for the paid up capital. The minimum amount is only 1 SGD.
  • For incorporation of company in Singapore, you need to suggest a unique name for it that doesn’t copy the name of any Singaporean existing company or sound vulgar.
  • New company in Singapore must be registered at a real Singaporean address where its office is located.
  • At least one of the firm’s directors must be chosen among the local manpower (the citizens or the permanent residents). It doesn’t mean your firm will be in the hands of a stranger; the real director will make all crucial decisions. However, functions of the real director who stays abroad will be a little bit limited. To take full charge of the company, the foreigner must relocate to Singapore using a suitable working pass.
  • Certain niches of economy (for example, the financial sector) might need a special approval from the authorities for the company Singapore registration in this niche. You should clarify the exact requirements for your type of business with our incorporation specialists.
  • Company which major part of shares is concentrated in the hands of another corporate body (foreign company) or which annual sales turnover is more than 5,000,000 SGD and the number of shareholders is more than 20 must file its audited accounts annually.

How to Register Own Company in Singapore: the Best Company Setting up Scheme

The procedure to set up a company in Singapore is similar for all business entities. Thanks to advanced technologies, incorporation of business in Singapore is a matter of a single day. But despite such velocity, foreigners who are new to Singapore incorporation requirements should take a couple of conditions into account. Firstly, to set up a company in Singapore, they must enlist professional company registration consultants who know all angles and trends of incorporating in Singapore and are able to develop custom solutions to meet special needs of every business. And secondly, there is a huge groundwork that must be done prior to the registration procedure.
  • Name check. The company’s name has different requirements for different business legal entities: in some cases (Branch or Representative Office) it must copy the overseas parent company’s name, but in all cases, the suggested name must be unique in Singapore and non-vulgar. We will be able to find a custom solution for your particular business situation and get the chosen name reserved for the required time.
  • Getting the local registration (address of your business premises).
  • Getting governmental approval (for certain business sectors).
  • Appointing mandatory local staff (secretary, director, or agents).
  • Preparing the set of required papers according to the government’s standards. Please, take into account that certified copies you are going to submit must be endorsed and professionally translated into English (if needed).
Making these steps to set up a company in Singapore alone without getting qualified advice can be challenging for a foreigner. Any mistake can not only detain your Singapore company registration but also cause unwanted consequences. We encourage you to enlist an expert incorporation team for a diligent business assessment and assistance in paperwork and all above-mentioned pre-registration milestones. After we work out the most winning incorporation scheme and prepare the paperwork for it, we will shoulder the registrar procedure until you get your company’s registration number (your main incorporation document). After finalizing your Singapore company formation, we will happily offer you our post-incorporation services (such as consulting, getting necessary licensing, making a local bank account, working out the comfort relocation of staff and executives and handling the submission of work visa applications) to help you launch your new company and adjust to Singapore’s administrative surroundings. If you decide to entrust us with your business idea, we need up to 7-10 days to get your firm fully set up in Singapore. You don’t have to arrive in Singapore to participate in the registration procedure: you can track your company incorporation in Singapore from your foreign office (or home) using your computer.

Why Use Help of Professional Agents/Consultants for Company Incorporation?

Incorporation in Singapore is praised as one of the world’s fastest, easiest and the most transparent, and it is really so if you know the requirements. For foreigners who aren’t aware of the paperwork trends and criteria, getting a company incorporated in Singapore can be challenging and more time-consuming without a professional mediator. A lack of expert advice can also result in understrategized choice of the legal entity that can badly impact your company’s tax mode, liabilities, and relationship with investors and banks. It is crucial to start your business incorporation in Singapore from the competent assessment of your business idea and expectations. After the assessment, we will be able to develop custom-made solutions to address your particular case and equip your new company with the best benefits. Relying on our Singapore company registration services, you save lots of your time and energy which you can invest in implementing your business idea while we take care of its outer “paper” form and the smooth registration!

Get FREE Company Formation Assessment Today!

Undergoing an early and competent assessment according to the latest Singapore business requirements gives you a confident head start in your Singapore offshore company incorporation. Leveraging our expertise, you will get assistance in choosing the most winning for you legal form of the company and a reliable custom-made advice for as sound and smooth starting up as it can be.

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Different Types of Entities Available for Foreign Businesses / Individuals
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Singapore Private Limited Company
This is a Limited Liability Company whose shares are owned by a foreign individual privately or partially with a corporate shareholder.
Branch Office
This is a type of legal entity that is an extension of its parent company.
Representative Office
This is a temporary kind of arrangement for a foreign company to engage in market research and other non-core activities that aren’t aimed at generating revenue.
Subsidiary Company
The Singapore Subsidiary Company is a private limited company with the parent company as the shareholder. The Subsidiary is not an extension of its overseas parent company.


Your services have been excellent and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking you for all your support and co-operation in obtaining the passes, without which I would have struggled to get the passes myself.
Moira Bell, Shipping Company (Singapore)

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