20 things to know before setting up a business in Singapore

Singapore and Hong Kong are the top countries for doing business in Asia and ranked second in the world as surveyed by the World Bank. You might also know Singapore as the world’s most open economy, a ranking by the Economist Intelligence Unit that we held on for 7 years. 

Starting a business in Singapore very easy – even if you’re a foreigner! Here are 20 things to know about how easy it is to start a business in Singapore.

The Singapore Tax System

  1. Singapore’s tax system is one of the world’s simplest and most rational
  2. Singapore levies no tax on capital gains or on dividends received from businesses
  3. New firms receive significant tax breaks during their first 3 years reducing their tax rate to 0% for first S$100k of income
  4. The corporate tax rate is capped at 17%
  5. Singapore has an extensive network of Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with over 50 countries

Migration Matters

  1. Singapore makes it easy for a foreign professional to obtain and maintain work visas or permanent residence (PR) status
  2. Nearly a third of the country’s workforce is from abroad
  3. There are multiple visa options for foreigners interested to find work or set up business in Singapore


  1. Entrepreneurs can find a sense of community in co-living spaces, such as hmlet
  2. There are many options and guides to find rental accommodation in Singapore
  3. Relocation is an easy matter as there are various relocation companies to assist you with the move

Company Matters

  1. Singapore allows a foreigner to own 100% of the stock of a Singapore incorporated company
  2. At least one director must be a local resident director. This includes EP holders, who may be foreigners
  3. There are no restrictions on the amount of capital that you can bring from your home country to invest in your Singapore company
  4. Singapore does not impose any restrictions on the movement of foreign currency into or out of the country, including repatriation of profits
  5. Singapore has ranked number one on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business survey
  6. It takes less than a day to incorporate a new company in most cases
  7. The annual compliance requirements are simple and devoid of unnecessary or complicated paperwork

Grants and Incentives

  1. The Singapore government provides many grants, tax incentives and in-kind assistance schemes to startups, local or foreign
  2. Singapore is now the premier venue in Asia for most venture funds

Bonus! World Rankings

Still not convinced? Here are 5 more things to know about the global rankings that Singapore has received.

  1. Singapore is Asia’s best city on Mercer’s 2014 survey on the Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings
  2. Transparency International has consistently ranked Singapore in the top 10 countries of the world for its low corruption
  3. Singapore’s Changi airport has been consistently ranked as the best airport in the world for many years.
  4. Of the 76 OECD countries, Singapore is ranked at the top for mathematics and science education in high schools
  5. In its 2015 report, BERI ranked Singapore first out of 50 major investment destinations of the World


These are just some of the key factors that make Singapore such an attractive place to incorporate and operate a business for both local and foreign entrepreneurs. Numerous organizations has tracked the business friendliness of countries and have consistently ranked Singapore very highly for the ease with which a new business can be started in the country. If you do set up a business in Singapore, we warmly welcome you to our garden city and hope you enjoy your stay here!

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