6 minutes

A Comprehensive Guide to Singapore Business Setup

Singapore Business Setup

The Singapore business setup process is easy, especially when you have a company registration specialist like Premia TNC to help you. Aside from this, the government provides tax exemptions to new businesses as well as support through various schemes during the initial period.

This guide provides you with all the information needed to register a company in Singapore. In addition, our specialists are also available to provide further assistance, making the company incorporation process seamless.

Singapore Business Setup: The Perks

Singapore maintains its top ranking due to a huge number of advantages for foreign entrepreneurs and businesses. These include rapid and convenient company formation processes, a favorable tax system offering low rates and beneficial schemes, strategic location and modern infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce, excellent living standards, an open immigration policy, and a robust intellectual property regime.

Singapore Business Setup: 3 Steps to Register

1. Secure company name

Registering a company in Singapore is a straightforward process consisting of three simple steps. First, obtain approval for your company name from the ACRA, ensuring it complies with guidelines such as uniqueness, absence of trademark infringement, and appropriateness of language. Additional vetting may be necessary for certain business-related terms. Upon approval, reserve the name for up to 120 days, after which it may be released if not registered promptly.

2. Gather the documents required

Next, prepare the required documents for company registration, including the directors’ and shareholders’ identification and residential details, and signed consents from directors and the company secretary. These documents are essential for the registration process and can be prepared with the guidance of professional firms or using ACRA’s templates. Once the documents are ready, proceed to the final step.

3. Register your business

Register your business officially with ACRA, the Singapore Company Registrar, completing the process online in under an hour. However, in rare cases, further vetting by other government authorities may be required, extending the registration timeline by a few weeks. Nonetheless, the overall procedure remains efficient and accessible to both local and foreign entrepreneurs, reflecting Singapore’s favorable environment for business establishment.

incorporate in singapore

What is the Most Common Type of Business Entity in Singapore?

A Private Limited Company is the most common type of business in Singapore. The entity is limited by shares and has a separate legal entity from the shareholders. The government recognizes a Private Limited Company as a taxable entity. This means that shareholders of a Singapore limited company are not liable for losses and debts beyond their share capital amount.

Other types of business entities recognized by the government in Singapore are Sole Proprietorship, Partnership and Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).

However, before you register a company in Singapore, you need to be aware of some requirements. All companies in Singapore must abide by the Companies Act and be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

The ACRA serves as the Company Registrar responsible for supervising the process of company registration as outlined in the Companies Act, 1967.

Singapore Business Setup – Minimum Requirements

The law requires you to present the following before the registration of your Singapore company:

  • 1 shareholder 
  • 1 company secretary 
  • 1 resident director 
  • A physical registered office address in Singapore
  • An initial paid-up share capital of at least S$1
Singapore Business Setup

What is the Needed Information for your Service Provide to Incorporate a Company in Singapore?

To facilitate the registration of your Singapore Company, you need to identify the type of business entity most suitable for you. Each business structure (Sole Proprietorship, Private Limited Company, Partnership and Limited Liability Partnership) has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. After making your decision:

1. Choose your Company Name which must:

  • Be approved by ACRA before incorporating your company
  • Not be undesirable
  • Not be identical to an already existing Company Name
  • Not be similar to established trademarks

2. Present Your List of Shareholders 

A person or an entity can become a shareholder in your company. They can do this by purchasing shares from your company or subscribing to shares in the company. You need at least one individual shareholder or corporate shareholder and a maximum of 50 for a private limited entity to continue with the Singapore business setup process. A director and shareholder may also be the same person.

3. Resident Directors

A Private Limited Company in Singapore must have at least one director who must be a Singapore resident. This means that they must hold a Singapore Employment Pass or be a Singapore permanent resident or citizen. The law does not provide a limit to the number of additional directors, whether local or foreign. However, directors must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Not be bankrupt
  • Not be convicted of criminal malpractice

4. Company Secretary 

All companies must appoint a competent Company Secretary whose primary responsibility is to ensure compliance with the regulations.

5. Paid-Up Share Capital 

You need to pay a minimum of S$1 or its equivalent in other currencies as your paid-up capital for company registration. Note that Singapore does not permit “No par value” or “Bearer” shares, and the minimum issued capital is one share par value.

6. Registered Address 

Your company in Singapore must have a registered physical office address, where all official documents and notices may be sent. This is also the place to keep the various registers the law requires you to maintain. The registered address cannot be a post office box address but a physical address. In some types of businesses, you may use a residential address.

7. Governance Structure 

The structure of governance of a company is outlined in the memorandum of Association and Articles of Association. The two documents, also known as the Constitution, outline the interrelationship between the shareholders and the company.

Singapore Business Setup: Bank Account for Foreigners

Opening a business bank account in Singapore is essential for transacting with clients, partners, and government entities while safeguarding personal assets. Singapore boasts a robust banking system, offering a range of reputable banks that enhance a company’s credibility.

Some service providers may facilitate the bank account application process, starting with consultation to select the most suitable bank and understand the application requirements. Upon payment and submission of necessary documents like corporate papers, member passports, and business proofs, you are then required to manage the application submission and scheduling of bank interviews. While approval ultimately rests with the banks, successful applicants typically have their corporate accounts opened within a few months.

Once the application process concludes favorably, businesses can begin operations in Singapore with their company and bank accounts established. It’s important to note that certain business activities may necessitate additional licenses, which must be secured before commencing operations.

How long does it take to Incorporate a Company in Singapore?

Ensure that all required information and relevant identification documents are provided to prevent delays in approval and registration. In addition, there may be requests for additional documents by the compliance team to help with verification.

After all the requested KYC information has been obtained and all incorporation documents have been signed, we will be able to reserve the company name and proceed to incorporate the company within a day.

How will I know if my Company has been Incorporated?

When the registration process for your Singapore Company is complete, we will furnish the Business Profile, Certificate of Incorporation, and Constitution which are official documents from ACRA. The documents include the company registration number, date of incorporation, and company structure, among other information.

incorporate in singapore

What do I need after the Successful Registration of My Company?

In general, here’s what you need post-registration to complete the Singapore company formation process:

  • Bank Account Opening
  • Set Up Statutory Book
  • Appointment of Auditor (if applicable)
  • Apply for Licenses and Permits (if required)
  • Apply for Goods and Services Tax (if required)
  • Custom Registration (if required)
  • Set Up Accounting System
  • Hire Staff
  • Apply Employment Pass for Foreign Staff (if any)
  • Ensure awareness of deadline for Compliance Filing, for e.g. Annual Return
  • Preparation of Directors’ Resolutions (as and when required)
  • Others

How We Can Help: Our Incorporation Service

Once you are done with the Singapore incorporation process, you have various options for opening a bank account. You can open a corporate bank account at any of the international or local banks operational in Singapore.

After the company has been incorporated, the company may proceed to submit the corporate bank account application to the desired bank. The company is required to provide business supporting documents for review before the bank can accept the application and arrange a video call meeting with the company director and authorized signer.

In general, the bank may take around 3-4 weeks to review the application and further arrange the video call meeting.

If you have more questions or require further guidance, Premia TNC’s professional staff is here to help you. We want to help you get your business structure right the first time. So contact us today to get started with the Singapore business setup.

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