Singapore is situated at the southern tip of the Malaysian Peninsula. Strategically located along the major shipping and air routes of Asia, it is the major nerve centre for trade and investments in the region.
Spanning just over 622 sq km, Singapore though small, is undoubtedly an advanced and bustling economy. It thrives on an excellent infrastructure, highly educated labour force, political stability and an efficient business environment. Singapore is an ideal holding company and headquarters location and a gateway for foreign investments in to the emerging economies of Asia, such as China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.
Singapore has a population of approximately 4.35 million people. More than 75% are Chinese with the remaining 25%, mainly Malays, Indians and others. The different races live together with mutual respect and in racial harmony. The work force is well educated and hardworking and there is a high level of managerial and technical expertise available.
» Political Structure
The People's Action Party, its single dominant ruling party since its independence in 1965, rules Singapore. There is no strong opposition party in Singapore.
The Singapore Government vigilantly plans, manages and administers the country's socio-economic development. Singapore is one of the world's most politically stable and corruption-free countries.
» Infrastructure And Economy
Singapore has an excellent infrastructure with state of the art communication facilities and road transport system. It operates busy and efficient air and seaports and is a free port with no customs and excise duties on most items.
Singapore is also one of the leading international financial centres. Offshore investors are well served by representatives of most major international banks, financial institutions, investment management companies and accounting and legal firms.
The Singapore Government actively woos foreign investments with generous tax and financial incentives. This has successfully attracted numerous regional holding companies, corporate headquarters, business and service centres, group finance and treasury centres as well as investments in high tech industries, media and communications, shipping and financial services.
The most commonly used official languages are English and to a lesser extent, Chinese, Malay and Tamil which are also official languages.
» Exchange Control
» Type of Law
» Principal Corporate Legalisation
The Companies Act.
The Income Tax Act.
» Type of Company for International Trade and Investment
Resident or non-resident company, foreign branch operation or a representative office.
» Procedure to Incorporate
Submission of name approval, Memorandum and Articles of Association and details of shareholders & shareholdings, registered office address and appointments of directors, company secretary and statutory auditors.
» Restrictions on Trading
Generally no restrictions except for financial services, education, media related or other politically sensitive businesses.
» Powers of Company
A company incorporated in Singapore has the same powers as a natural person.
» Language of Legislation and Corporate Documents
» Registered Office Required
» Time to Incorporate
5 days subject to name approval .
» Name Restrictions
Name resembling names of existing companies or which are undesirable or politically sensitive will be rejected.
» Language of Name
» Name Requiring Consent or a Licence
Bank, Financial institution, insurance, fund management, university, Chamber of Commerce and other similar names.
» Suffixes to Denote Limited Liability
Private Limited or Pte Ltd for privately held companies.
» Disclosure of Beneficial Ownership to Authorities
» Authorised and Issued Share Capital
The concept of authorised share capital has been abolished in Jan 2006 and the minimum number of issued share is 1.
» Classes of Shares Permitted
Ordinary shares, preference shares and redeemable preference shares.
18% on income sourced in Singapore for Year Assessment 2008. However, the effective tax rate can be reduced significantly (to 15%/10% or even 0%) for businesses that qualify for tax incentives. Foreign sourced dividends, foreign branch profits and foreign sourced service income are exempt from tax and with its extensive tax treaties and unilateral tax reliefs, foreign dividends received in Singapore may generally be redistributed out of Singapore tax-free to the foreign investors.
In addition, Singapore's treaties are often negotiated very favourably and offer much reduced or even nil foreign withholding taxes on royalties, interests and dividends.
» Double Taxation Agreements
Singapore has an extensive investment protection agreement and double tax treaty network. This includes most countries in the Asia-Pacific Region and countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. These countries include China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, India, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Belgium, Finland and the United Arab Emirates.
Singapore is also one of the very few countries to have a tax treaty with Taiwan. This explains the popularity of Singapore holding companies for Taiwanese investments in to China and the region.
» Licence Fees
Minimal annual statutory filing fees of approximately S$20.
» Financial Statements Required
Annual audited accounts are required to be filed with the Registrar of Companies. The accounts must be audited by a registered certified public accountant in Singapore. However, audit exemption is available to qualified companies.
Companies qualifying for audit exemptions are :-
- Members of the company do not exceed 20.
- Members of the company are individuals and not a corporation.
- Annual turnover does not exceed S$5m.
A minimum of one (for both individual and corporate shareholders), who must be a Singapore resident individual. To fulfill this requirement, OCRA could assist you in appointing a Singapore professional director. A foreigner who wants to register a new company in Singapore and act as a resident director of the company or operate the company, a valid pass must be obtained from the government first.
» Company Secretary
Companies are required to appoint a resident company secretary, who must be a natural person.
A minimum of one shareholder is required. Shareholders may be corporations or individuals. 100% foreign ownership is allowed.