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All about business in Singapore in 10 minutes

Briefly about Singapore

  • Singapore is among the most competitive economies in the world: it is known for its strong economic performance as well as business and government performance. Investors from all over the world continue to show confidence in Singapore, and it is one of the top three countries in terms of foreign direct investment inflows year after year.
  • You can register a company with Russian directors/shareholders and apply for an account in the Singapore payment system after registration.
  • With its strong manufacturing base, Singapore continues to diversify its economy and transform itself into an innovation-driven digital economy.
  • The government regularly allocates billions of dollars to research and development, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other innovative areas. This reinforces Singapore's position as a global business hub with a strong digital economy and multiple sustainability solutions.
  • Singapore has strong business, cultural and linguistic ties with emerging markets in Southeast Asia, home to more than 660 million people, 70% of whom are under the age of 40. ASEAN is one of the world's largest undeveloped economies.
  • Singapore has the world's 2nd largest transport connectivity and is strategically located along major trade, shipping and air routes.
  • Consistently ranked as the best airport in the world, Changi Airport serves more than 100 airlines with flights to 300 cities worldwide.
  • It takes four to six hours to reach the key business hubs of Hong Kong, China or any destination in Southeast Asia. Singapore is also connected with more than 600 ports worldwide, with 200 shipping lanes passing through it, and more than 130,000 ships call at the city-state's port every year.
  • Some 46% of the world's top 100 companies have chosen Singapore to establish their regional headquarters. And when it comes to the technology sector, 59% of technology multinationals established their regional headquarters in Singapore.
  • About 15% of the more than 4,000 technology startups in Singapore are international rising stars.
  • Although Singapore is known for its high cost of living, it often ranks first in Asia for quality of life, thanks to its high level of security, political and economic stability, climate, efficient public transportation system, and overall quality of life. I elaborate on this in my video Why Singapore is the best country in the world.
  • Singapore's education system is also praised as one of the best in the world. There are more than 60 international schools and 368 local schools, giving choice to entrepreneurs who move here with their families.
The main advantages of Singapore
  • If you summarize all of the above, the main advantages of Singapore for business include:
  • Ease of setting up and running a business
  • The highest legal protection, including protection of intellectual property
  • High business reputation of the country in the world
  • Low taxes
  • High level of cell phone and Internet penetration
  • Stable rules and regulations
  • Easy access to investment
  • Government support for business
  • Well developed financial and technical infrastructure
  • Multicultural, cosmopolitan society.

Singapore's main disadvantages
  • High cost of living
  • Small domestic market
  • Difficulty in opening bank accounts for foreigners
  • Difficulty in obtaining work visas and citizenship.

Key Sectors in Singapore
  • Primarily Services (accounts for 70.95% of GDP):
  • Professional Services
  • Financial services
  • Information and communication technology.

Second place goes to Industry, including Construction (24.37% of GDP):
  • Electronics and high-precision engineering
  • Chemicals
  • Biomedical sciences
  • Semiconductors
  • Aerospace.

Fast Growing Sectors
  • And here are the sectors to focus on for companies who want to enter the market in Singapore, as these areas have the greatest support from the state:
  • Agri-food
  • Fintech
  • Future mobility and transportation
  • Sustainability

Registering a company in Singapore
Singapore is one of the top three countries in the world year after year for ease of doing business.
You have a variety of legal forms to choose from, including Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership, Company, Variable Capital Company (VCC).

In addition to registering a legal entity in Singapore, you can also take advantage of the transfer registration options or as lawyers call it, redomiciliation, to open a branch or representative office of a foreign company in Singapore.

For 90% of foreigners the best form would be Company, namely its sub-form as Private Limited Company, which is suitable for any activity and gives you the maximum opportunities in terms of immigration, hiring employees, protection of intellectual property and access to capital.

Company registration usually takes 1 business day and most issues in Singapore can be resolved online.

If you want to learn more on all the issues of starting a business in Singapore and registering a company - we have a video for you: All Questions on Business in Singapore and Company Registration in Singapore from A to Z, which details all the practical aspects associated with registering a company, opening bank accounts, obtaining long-term visas and other issues.
Singapore's tax system
One of the competitive advantages of Singapore is its simple tax system. Singapore has a one-tier tax system in which only the company pays tax on its income, and all dividends are exempt from further taxation.

  • The key factors on taxation in Singapore:
  • Corporate tax of 17% (before deductions and tax breaks)
  • Personal tax from 0 to 24%
  • VAT 7% (from Jan 1, 2023 will be 8%)
  • 80 Double Tax Treaties
  • Double taxation relief
  • No tax on dividends
  • No capital gains tax

If you are interested to learn in detail about corporate and personal taxes in Singapore, we have for you in-depth video on this topic: Corporate Income Taxes in Singapore and Personal Taxes in Singapore from A to Z.