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Doing Business In Singapore

In the midst of a global downturn that brought some of the largest, most powerful countries to their knees, Asia shined on as a bright investment spot in a discouraging world market. In an increasingly globalized world, Asia is becoming more accessible and thus, more desirable to entrepreneurs in need of a stable environment to invest in.

While China tends to get the majority of attention, recent governmental deflationary measures have their economy growing at its slowest rate since the early 2000’s. The more prudent investors are realizing the greater advantage lies in the rapidly growing, investor-friendly environment found in Singapore.

business in Singapore


Globalisation means business is being done at all hours of the day, and a Singapore company is especially advantageous due to its geographical position.  Singapore’s location allows it easy access to the Asian Pacific region and other rapidly expanding economies like Hong Kong and Vietnam. What is more, Singapore is in a unique time zone that allows business day contact with the EU, the Middle East and the US.

Company Formation

There are several things that need to be considered when registering a Singapore company. Singapore company formation can be a complicated process with several steps required.  For these reasons, entrepreneurs tend to seek the advice of an experienced corporate service company.  A professional advisor is generally required to determine the optimal corporate structure to meet specific business objectives.

In the case of entrepreneurs outside of Singapore, the company service provider may be necessary to manage the company registration process and to take care of the business in the director’s absence. If an entrepreneur has undertaken reasonably comprehensive research and come up with a business plan, the corporate service provider can manage every other aspect of incorporation.

As is the case in all incorporation, due diligence is required to complete Singapore company registration. This usually includes details of resident director/s, your company’s address (which your corporate service provider can assist with), and any relevant financial details like projected expenses and annual revenues for the newly incorporated company.

Work visas

If workers are going to be brought in to run the company, work visas will be required for any foreign employee. Using a corporate service provider really becomes necessary when considering that the Singapore company act requires all companies to have a resident director. Corporate service providers can often handle this requirement for you.

But besides the legal processes of setting the company up, an experienced service provider can give insights into other aspects about doing business in Singapore, or whatever jurisdiction you are starting up in.  This may be related to the culture, common employment practices, lifestyle aspects, travelling in the region and more.

Asian business cultures

Learning Asian business culture practices should be a given.  Simple practices like making time at start of meetings to properly greet senior members of the potential business partner, exchange business cards correctly, read the business card etc.  This shows respect to the people you are meeting and can help you with the correct pronunciation of names, learn job title, recognise seniority, for example.

The entire process of doing business in Singapore, and Asia, can seem overwhelming but the rewards are clear.  Singapore has consistently ranked highly by every metric important to investors and the economic growth rate has been among the best in the region lately.  If you’re looking for an environment with phenomenal infrastructure and a government creating pro-business incentives at every opportunity, doing business in Singapore can be a rewarding endeavour.

Have you done business in Singapore or considering it?

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Images:  ”Cityscape at Marina Bay Business District – Singapore /

Aidan has more than 16 years of international business experience in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Aidan is a Chartered Accountant from Ireland who has lived in Singapore for many years. Prior to heading Healy Consultants, he worked with Credit Suisse Group and Ernst & Young.

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  • Aidian: I will show this post to a friend who has been living in Singapore for a long time.

  • As a Singaporean your post filled me with pride to see that gorgeous skyline and the picture made me incredibly homesick!

    Its a no brainer – the city state is superior on every competitive metric in the business world. Singapore straddles east and western cultures successfully being such a historically globalized trading centre for the region and the world.
    As a Singaporean-Irish person I can testify that The city state is filled with people with a strong work ethic, pragamatism and the general can do attitude. A working culture that believes in constant search for productivity and new solutions unfettered by colonial hangover.

    There is a dark side in terms of someof its cultural, artistic and political contexts but as a business hub its world class.

  • sajitkumar

    Sajitkumar T K Vasudevan, 48, resident of Taman Nusa Indah Johor
    Bahru lost his job as production executive at Premier Vegetable Oil
    Pasir Gudang when his management discovered (after he was employed and
    not during the interview) that he was being treated for depression at
    the Permai Hospital.

    Unable to make regular payments on his housing loan, he is now
    hounded by the bank and faces legal action for defaulting on his loan.

    A clinically depressed Sajitkumar declared well by hospital.

    In 2010, Sajit had taken a RM 195,000 housing loan from Ambank.

    The following year, Sajit was given to key to the street when his
    company discovered he was suffering from depression and had not
    truthfully declared his depressive condition when he applied for that

    His application for SOCSO insurance was rejected.

    His appeal to The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) turned to naught.

    Earlier in 2007, he had withdrawn RM 30,000 from his EPF savings due to his sickness.

    This time when he applied to withdraw his savings, it was rejected.

    This is due the fact that Hospital Permai declared him not ill (tidak mengidap keilatan).

    Sajit’s troubles escalated last year when he was unable to service the loan for four months.

    As a result, the interest rate for his loan was increased from 4.9% to 9.1 %.

    When Citizen Journalists Malaysia (CJMY) contacted AmBank, Liaison
    and Collection officer Hamidah Abd Rahman explained that the bank had
    clear rules about loan defaulters.

    After four months of non-servicing of the loan, legal action would be instituted.

    Sajit had appealed for leniency but the bank was unwavering.

    By hook or by crook, he had to settle the outstanding loan and
    thereafter, service his loan for six months without fail before the bank
    could consider his case.

    In his jobless state, he is unable to find RM 3,000 per month to service the loan.

    Hamidah advised Sajit and all those in the same dilemma to seek the
    assistance of AKPK (Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit), the Credit
    Counselling and Debt Management Agency set up by Bank Negara which
    helps individuals manage their financial situation.

    Sajitkumar is now at the end of his tether. In anguish, he laments, “There is no justice in this world.”

    Sajit feels the society is pushing him against the wall. “People who
    are depressed are in a very unfortunate position because the public do
    not understand their complex illness.

    “A seriously depressed person can be driven to suicide.

    “They need encouragement and support,” he said.

    In addition, without financial assistance forthcoming, he may be
    driven to seeking for ”help” from Ah Longs and this could be the long,
    lonely road to his destruction.

    The World Health Organisation warns that mental illness will be
    second to HIV/AIDS in the burden it places on the world by the end of
    this decade.

    Records indicate that 9% of Malaysians suffer from major depression.
    Similar to global data, depression is the fourth most disabling disease
    in Malaysia, ranking third for women and 10th for men.

    Sajitkumar is now at the end of his tether. In anguish, he laments, “There is no justice in this world.”

    Johor Bahru

  • nice information .you know a lot of abou Asia!

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