Officially known as the Republic of Singapore, it is a sovereign island city-state within the Asia continent. Singapore is one of the four Asian tigers, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea.
With a free market, low tax rate, innovative market, and a business-friendly environment, the country has become a primary business hub. As a result, it is one of the advanced economies within the Asian continent, with an annual growth rate of 6% per annum. Therefore, it is not surprising for a foreigner to start a business in Singapore. However, there are certain rules that must be adhered to when trying to launch your brand in the country.
So, if you plan to start up a business in Singapore, here is a guide on how to go about it.
Pick a name for the business.
To operate a business without hindrance in Singapore, you have to register your business with the ACRA. The ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) is a government agency saddled with registering and overseeing business activities in the country. Before choosing a business name, you must ensure the name is not the same as an existing company operational in the country. So, you should pick a unique name to fast-track the registration process.
Choose your business niche.
The first huddle is picking a business name. The next phase of incorporating a company in Singapore is to state the nature of the business clearly. As stated earlier, ACRA is the apex body for regulating business activities in Singapore. Therefore, as a regulatory agency, the ACRA approves business names and, by extension, the nature of business.
The process of getting relevant documents for your business is not complicated. First, ACRA will ask you to pick and submit an SSCI code. It is in this form that you will provide all information relating to your business operations.
Create a team
The ACRA stipulates multiple layers of business operations in Singapore. First, you need to settle the issue on shareholders, directors, and corporate secretary. In Singapore, both individuals and companies can become shareholders in the company. In addition, according to the ACRA guidelines on share ownership, foreigners can hold shares in a company registered in the country.
To appoint a director, you must ensure at least one Singaporean has a seat on the board of directors of the company. Anything short of this means your company will be forced to shut down its operations. In addition, to fulfil the law requirement, you may appoint a Nominee Director who may or may not be part of the company’s decision-making process.
In Singapore, every company operating in the country must appoint a corporate secretary. The corporate secretary serves as an interface between the government and the company. According to Singaporean law, a company must appoint a corporate secretary within the first six months of operation.
Have a registered address
Irrespective of your business nature, you must have a registered address. In addition, the address must have a regular mailbox that you can check frequently. Some companies rent out mailboxes. All they do is receive your correspondence, scan it, and forward it directly to you.
File for taxes
As part of your registration process with the ACRA, you should apply for tax filing as quickly as possible. To make the process easy, you can hire an experienced consultant to help you with the filing process. With the help of a consultant, you can manage your taxes and pay on time.
Setup your paid-up capital
To set up your company’s paid-up capital, one dollar per share is a good starting point. You can also convert your paid-up capital into other currencies of your choice. You can increase the paid-up capital once your company has been fully incorporated.
Delegate the filling
Based on Singapore laws, a foreigner can not incorporate their business themselves, irrespective of the company size and market value. Therefore, state law demands that you hire a company that specializes in processing company registration. The filing agency will collect all documents relating to business registration and fill out the forms on your behalf to forward the ACRA for approval.
To run your company in Singapore without hindrance, you need to follow laid-down procedures. As an aspiring investor in the Singapore market, you must ensure you have all relevant documents and license duly approved by the ACRA before you commence operation.
Once the coast is clear on your business name and your licenses have been approved, you can begin to set up other business areas, such as staffing, filing for taxes, and corporate social responsibilities.