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Doing Business in Singapore

Singapore’s strategic location, robust economy, and pro-business environment make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and investors. Known for its transparency, low tax regime, and skilled workforce, the nation offers a stable and conducive atmosphere for business growth and innovation. Doing business in Singapore presents opportunities in various sectors, from technology to manufacturing services.

Singapore Business Guides

Statistics about the Economy of Singapore

Singapore’s economy consistently ranks among the most open and competitive globally. It has exhibited steady growth in recent years, with a GDP of around $372 billion in 2020. The nation hosts numerous multinational companies, fostering a business environment that embraces globalization, technology, and skills development, indicative of its robust economic indicators and low unemployment rates.

  • Singapore’s economy relies highly on trade, with exports accounting for over 100% of GDP.

  • The services sector dominates the economy, contributing over 70% of GDP.

  • The financial services industry is a significant pillar of the economy, accounting for over 12% of GDP.

  • Singapore has a highly skilled workforce, with a literacy rate of over 99%.

  • The government has invested heavily in infrastructure and technology, making Singapore a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Key Economic Markers

These are some key indicators based on information from the Ministry of Trade and Information (MTI).

StatisticLatest Data
GDP Growth2.8% (4Q 2023, YoY)
Unemployment Rate2.2% (December 2023)
Inflation Rate3.6% (Nov 2023, YoY)
Trade Balance$21.4 billion (Nov 2023)
Current Account Balance$50.7 billion (Q3 2023)
Government Debt123% of GDP (2022)
CurrencySingapore Dollar (SGD)
Exchange Rate (SGD/USD)1.38
Foreign Direct Investment$107.4 billion (2022)
Top Trading PartnersMainland China, Malaysia, United States, Taiwan, European Union

Why Companies Should Consider Doing Business in Singapore

Singapore, often referred to as the “Lion City,” has emerged as a prime destination for businesses looking to expand or establish their presence in Asia. This section outlines the compelling reasons why businesses should seriously consider Singapore as their next business destination.

graphic showing four benefits of doing business in singapore

Strategic Location and Connectivity

Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore’s strategic location provides easy access to a vast and growing market. The city-state serves as a gateway to Asia, offering exceptional connectivity through its world-class Changi Airport and busy seaports. Businesses operating in Singapore can effortlessly reach out to the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Political Stability and Business-Friendly Environment

Singapore boasts a stable political climate and a pro-business government that is consistently ranked as one of the most business-friendly in the world. Its transparent and efficient legal system, strong intellectual property protection, and minimal corruption make it an attractive destination for investors and entrepreneurs.

Robust Infrastructure and Innovation

Singapore’s infrastructure is second to none. The city is known for its modern transportation networks, state-of-the-art telecommunications, and world-class facilities. Additionally, Singapore is committed to innovation and research, with numerous research institutes, technology parks, and incentives for research and development activities.

Ease of Doing Business

Singapore continually ranks at the top of global ease-of-doing-business indices. The government has streamlined administrative procedures, reducing bureaucracy and red tape. Setting up a business, obtaining permits, and navigating regulations are remarkably efficient processes in Singapore.

Access to Skilled Workforce

Singapore is renowned for its well-educated and highly skilled workforce. The country’s emphasis on education and vocational training ensures that businesses can readily find talent across various industries. Moreover, Singapore attracts a diverse pool of global professionals and expatriates.

Multilingual and Multicultural Society

Singapore’s multiculturalism is one of its strengths. English is one of the official languages, making it a natural choice for international business. Additionally, the city-state’s cultural diversity enables businesses to tap into a wide range of markets and customer bases.

Tax Advantages

Singapore’s tax regime is among the most attractive globally. The country has low corporate tax rates, no capital gains tax, and double taxation treaties with numerous countries. Additionally, the government offers various tax incentives and grants to support specific industries and activities.

Financial Hub and Access to Capital

Singapore is a global financial hub with a stable and sophisticated banking sector. Businesses in Singapore have access to a wide range of financing options, including venture capital, private equity, and an established stock exchange. The city’s financial ecosystem supports businesses at every stage of development.

Quality of Life

Singapore offers an excellent quality of life, with a safe environment, world-class healthcare, and top-tier education. The city’s clean streets, green spaces, and vibrant cultural scene make it an attractive destination for expatriates and their families.

International Trade Agreements

Singapore has a network of free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries around the world, providing businesses with preferential access to key markets. Its FTA with the European Union (EU) and participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) further enhance its global trade credentials.

Singapore stands out as a highly attractive destination for businesses due to its strategic location, stability, business-friendly environment, exceptional infrastructure, skilled workforce, tax advantages, and access to global markets. Whether you are a startup, multinational corporation, or an entrepreneur seeking growth opportunities, Singapore offers a conducive environment for success and growth in the heart of Asia.

Business Culture in Singapore

The business culture in Singapore is formal and hierarchical, emphasizing group harmony and consensus. Meetings start on time, and punctuality is appreciated. While English is the primary medium of business communication, understanding the multi-cultural workforce and respecting different cultures and traditions can be a bonus in building prosperous business relationships.

Doing business in Singapore entails understanding these key points on culture:

  • Business culture in Singapore emphasizes punctuality and professionalism in all interactions.

  • Respect for hierarchy and seniority is prevalent, with deference shown to senior members within organizations.

  • Singaporeans value harmony and avoid confrontation, preferring indirect communication styles to maintain positive relationships.

  • The exchange of business cards is a common practice, and it’s respectful to receive and offer cards with both hands.

  • Relationships are essential, and building trust through personal connections is often a precursor to successful business dealings.

  • Meetings are well-structured, efficient, and focused on achieving clear objectives.

  • Dress code in the business environment tends to be formal, with suits and conservative attire expected.

  • Work ethic is strong, with a dedication to long hours and a commitment to achieving excellence.

  • Gift-giving is generally discouraged in business relationships to maintain transparency and integrity.

  • Singaporeans often adhere to a results-oriented approach, valuing outcomes and performance above all else.

Networking in Singapore

Networking is a pivotal part of Singapore’s business ecosystem. Various organizations and business chambers hold networking sessions that help in connecting with industry peers, understanding market trends, and identifying business opportunities. Leveraging these platforms can significantly benefit businesses looking to expand their footprints in the Singapore market.

How to Hire in Singapore

Singapore has a robust talent pool, both local and international. When hiring employees in Singapore, organizations must comply with the Employment Act and other relevant labor laws. Employment Pass or S-Pass needs to be secured for foreign hires, which is facilitated by the Ministry of Manpower. It is recommended to utilize local recruitment agencies to find suitable candidates that align with the company’s requirements.

Introduce the Employer of Record and PEO Solution

For businesses exploring a hassle-free entry into the Singapore market, utilizing a Singapore Employer of Record (EOR) or Professional Employer Organization (PEO) solutions can be a strategic move. These organizations can handle employment compliances, payroll, and other administrative tasks, allowing businesses to focus on core activities without establishing a formal entity in the initial phases.

Foreign employers in Singapore should consider hiring through a Singapore EOR or Singapore PEO for several compelling reasons:

  • Compliance with Local Regulations: Singapore has strict labor laws and regulations. EORs ensure that employment contracts, tax withholdings (including corporate income tax for the business, and compliance with double taxation agreements), and benefit contributions are in full compliance with local laws, minimizing the risk of legal issues. Tax exemption matters can also be handled.

  • Faster Market Entry: Using an EOR streamlines the hiring process, allowing foreign employers to enter the Singaporean market quickly without the need to establish a legal entity, which can be time-consuming and costly.

  • Expertise in Local Employment Laws: EORs are well-versed in Singapore’s complex labor laws, ensuring that employers adhere to statutory requirements related to employment, taxes, and benefits.

  • Risk Mitigation: EORs assume the legal responsibility of the employer, reducing the foreign employer’s exposure to employment-related risks such as disputes, terminations, and compliance issues.

  • Cost Efficiency: Hiring through an EOR can be more cost-effective than establishing and maintaining a legal entity, as it eliminates overhead costs related to office space, administrative staff, and legal compliance.

  • Access to Local Talent: EORs often have established networks in Singapore, making it easier to find and attract top local talent for specific roles.

  • Flexibility: EOR arrangements are flexible, allowing foreign employers to scale their workforce up or down quickly in response to market demands without long-term commitments.

  • Focus on Core Business: Outsourcing employment-related tasks to an EOR enables foreign employers to concentrate on their core business activities, reducing administrative burdens.

  • Employee Benefits Administration: EORs can manage employee benefits packages, ensuring that employees receive competitive compensation and benefits in line with local market standards.

  • Risk Management: EORs handle employee onboarding, payroll processing, and terminations, reducing the administrative burden on foreign employers and minimizing the risk of costly errors.

How to Get a Work Visa

Securing a work visa in Singapore involves a streamlined process. Depending on the nature of the job and the applicant’s qualifications, different passes such as Employment Pass, S Pass, or Work Permit can be applied for. The employer generally facilitates this process, liaising with the Ministry of Manpower to fulfill the necessary requisites and obtain the visa.

How to Register a Company

Registering a company in Singapore is facilitated through the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). The process includes reserving a unique company name, defining business activities, and appointing directors and shareholders. It is important to ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements, making the engagement of a corporate service provider beneficial for a seamless registration process.

How to Acquire Real Estate for Business

When it comes to acquiring real estate for business in Singapore, companies have the option to buy or lease commercial spaces. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) oversees the use of land and real estate. Engaging with a local real estate agency can help in navigating the real estate landscape efficiently, abiding by all regulatory requisites, and securing the best deals.


Singapore stands as a lucrative location for business owing to its robust economy, strategic location, and business-friendly environment. While tapping into the rich potential that Singapore offers, understanding the nuances of its business culture, regulatory environment, and market dynamics can pave the way for a successful venture in this vibrant economy. It is beneficial to leverage the available support systems, including PEO and EOR solutions, to foster business growth in the region.

cropped Travis Kliever 1
Article By
Travis is a global business development advisor. He has spent the last 14 years supporting business establishment and development in North America, Southeast Asia, and throughout the world. With multiple degrees from the University of Oregon, Travis currently splits his time between the US, and Bali, Indonesia. At RemotePad, Travis writes about remote work, hiring internationally and PEO/EOR business models.