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Singapore Doing Business

A Guide For Entrepreneurs Planning To Do Business In Singapore

Singapore is the principal gateway of international trade routes in South East Asia. Made up of Singapore Island and 57 small islands, the Republic of Singapore is one of the affluent nations in Asia and has a well developed infrastructure and an English speaking literate population. Singapore is well connected to the rest of the world by road, sea and air and has well developed telecommunication network, industrial estates and business centers that add further impetus to the industrial growth of this country.

In case you are planning to start a business or to relocate to Singapore, this handy guide would be of use to you.


The Economic Scenario

Singapore has one of the healthy economies in Asia and is rated as one of the fastest growing nations in this region.

Singapore has a free trade policy where most of the goods except certain items like fish, medicines, cosmetics, arms, coffee and animals and birds among others can be imported without any quota restrictions. Nonetheless there are quota restrictions on exports to certain countries like Canada, the United States, Germany and the EU. 

If you are dealing in exports of commodities including rubber, sand, granite and timber, special license needs to be procured. Entrepreneurs can remit, transfer or pay in any currency of their choice or to any nation as there is no foreign exchange regulation in Singapore unlike many other nations. A high deal of flexibility and ease in business operations is what makes Singapore an investor’s haven.


Advantages of Singapore as a Business Centre

Singapore has a global inclination, a responsive society and a sound economic management system in place. Over 7000 Global conglomerates have pitched their bases here including some of the stalwarts in industry and blue chip companies located in the US, Europe and Japan.

Often touted as the springboard of Asia pacific economy, Singapore economy helps the investors to explore the vast and vibrant markets of neighboring countries like China, India and Indonesia.

Apart from a well developed social and physical infrastructure, Singapore has a pro-business tax regime and an array of financing schemes. The free trade agreement and investment guarantee agreements give Singapore based companies a safe access and exposure to the world markets. Highly qualified work force and foreign talents make the manpower sector strong and versatile.


Some Popular Business Options in Singapore

No matter whether you are a novice or an experienced entrepreneur, you could succeed in doing business in Singapore only if you keep your fingers on the pulse of the market and make changes in products and services accordingly.

There are many profitable Singapore business venture options that could turn out gainful in Singapore. From real estate agents to interior decorators, car rentals and packaging services and beauty parlors, there is a range of options. It is sensible to pick up business lines that you are comfortable with instead of picking up something new.

If you keep your eyes and ears open to new trends while doing business in Singapore, nothing can prevent you from being successful. For more information on relocation information you can check out, which is a handy guide for entrepreneurs planning to start business ventures in Singapore.


Singapore Commercial Information

The following organisations can offer advice:

Singapore Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry

#03-01 Chinese Chamber of Commerce Building
Address: 47 Hill Street, Singapore 179365
Tel: (+65) 6338 9761
Fax: (+65) 6339 5630

Singapore International Chamber of Commerce

#10-01 John Hancock Tower
Address: 6 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048580
Tel: (+65) 6224 1255
Fax: (+65) 6224 2785


Singapore is the top convention city in Asia and ranks among the top ten meetings destinations in the world.

There are many Singapore Serviced Apartments or Singapore Hotels with extensive conference facilities, including the latest audio-visual equipment, secretarial services, translation and simultaneous interpretation systems, whilst Raffles City, a brand new and completely self-contained convention city, can accommodate up to 6000 delegates under one roof

Full information on Singapore as a conference destination can be obtained from the Exhibition & Convention Bureau within the Singapore Tourism Board.

The Bureau is a non-profitmaking organisation with the dual objectives of marketing Singapore as an international exhibition and convention city and of assisting with the planning and staging of individual events.

Business Etiquette in Singapore

1. Be courteous and professional at all times - take the time to learn Asian courtesy as Western courtesy may have a contrary meaning in Singapore!

2. Business friendships are based on honor, integrity and good character - take pains to establish and maintain contacts as Singaporeans highly regard warm and personal relationships.

3. When making introductions for the first time, and in formal meetings, always use the persons title and family or personal name. Since Singapore is a multi-racial society, it would help to bear in the mind the following:

  • The Chinese place their family names first, followed by the personal names. Women often keep their own family name.
  • The Malays do not use a family name. They use their own personal name followed by bin (son of) or binti (daughter of) before their fathers personal name.
  • The Indians use their personal name followed by s/o (son of) or d/o (daughter of) and the fathers personal name

The rule of thumb is never use personal names or nicknames unless invited to do so, or until a friendship has been established after a long time.

4. Dont be offended if a Singaporean doesnt look you in the eye in a meeting. The eyes are cast politely down or away as a sign of respect, especially if you are more senior or have a higher status.

5. Handshakes in Singapore are usually soft and light to the touch, unlike the bone-crushing one common to people from the West.