Corporate & Commercial


Doing Business in Singapore

When deciding to run a business in Singapore, the are a few things which have to be considered. This includes:

  1. What would the business vehicle be?
  2. Who would be running the business?
  3. Am I an owner or do I want to run the business?
  4. Do I want to limit the potential liabilities that may arise from running this business?
  5. What are the running and yearly compliance costs that I am comfortable with?
We can help you address these concers and possible issues when you decide to run or open a business. As a general guideline, the tables below provide a comparative chart on business vehicles that locals and foreign investors may wish to consider.

An Overview on the Type of Business Entities

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Some Examples of Business Vehicles

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Foreigners and their Business Vehicles

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Government Approvals

Setting up certain businesses in Singapore sometimes requires government approval. Some examples are stated below:

  1. Insurance Brokers: require a licence in certain circumstances specified in Insurance Act Cap 142; require the approval of MAS if the work ‘insurance’ is used in the name of the company.
  2. Investment Advisers: require a licence under the Securities Industry Act Cap 289.
  3. Singapore Companies (owned and controlled by Singaporeans used for ownership of certain classes of residential property): M&AA cannot be changed without the permission of the Controller of Housing under the Residential Property Act.
  4. Tour Agencies: require approval from Singapore Tourism Board.
  5. Private Schools: require approval from Ministry of Education.
  6. Audit, Accounting, Tax and GST practices: require approval from Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore.
  7. Banks, merchant banks, finance companies, and insurance companies require governmental approval.

Practical Issues

Time and Money

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Name of Company

No Chinese characters are allowed in a business name but Hanyu Pinyin is accepted.
All names chosen are subject to the approval of ACRA.

Requirements of Registered Office

Registered office is not the place of doing business, however it:

  1. cannot be a PO Box number;
  2. cannot be the a HDB flat unless the business fall under a scheme for entrepreneurs.