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General Business Information

flag of Singapore

Singapore has a highly developed and successful free-market economy. It enjoys a remarkably open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly in consumer electronics, information technology products, pharmaceuticals, and on a growing financial services sector. The economy contracted 0.6% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, but rebounded 15.1% in 2010, on the strength of renewed exports, before slowing to in 2011-13, largely a result of soft demand for exports during the second European recession. Over the longer term, the government hopes to establish a new growth path that focuses on raising productivity. Singapore has attracted major investments in pharmaceuticals and medical technology production and will continue efforts to establish Singapore as Southeast Asia’s financial and high-tech hub.

[Source: CIA World Factbook]


Singapore has a reputation for transparency, pro-business policies, and trusted legal and corporate governance systems. With the entire country occupying an area smaller than New York City, Singapore companies have always understood the need to look beyond the city-state’s shores to overcome the limitations of a small domestic market. Their extensive experience in doing business around the region and the world has enabled them to evolve into excellent business partners with a strong track record of delivering integrated solutions and high quality products. Singapore companies are known for their unparalleled dedication to quality, high standards of delivery and relentless drive to innovate. They excel in fields as diverse as infocomm technology, education, transportation, urban planning, port services and seawater desalination, among others. [Source: IE Singapore]

Singapore’s legal framework and public policies are generally favorable toward foreign investors. Foreign investors are not required to enter into joint ventures or cede management control to local interests, and local and foreign investors are subject to the same basic laws. Apart from regulatory requirements in some sectors, the government screens investment proposals only to determine eligibility for various incentive regimes (see Annex). Singapore places no restrictions on reinvestment or repatriation of earnings or capital. The judicial system upholds the sanctity of contracts, and decisions are effectively enforced. [Source: US Embassy in Singapore]

Fast Facts



Time zone



276 sq. mi. (716.1 sq. km.)




Tropical, hot, humid, rainy. Two monsoon seasons.

Official Languages

Mandarin, English, Tamil, Malay


Singapore dollar (SGD)


Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic

GDP per capita


Labor force


Unemployment rate


Main trading partners

Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, US, Indonesia, Japan, Australia

Weights and measures


International dialing code

+ 65

Internet domain suffix


Doing Business rating

1 (of 189)

Starting a business rating


[Source: The World Bank, Wikipedia, CIA World Factbook]

Establishing a Business

Establishing a Business

All businesses must be registered with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). This includes any individual, firm or corporation that carries out business for a foreign company. A foreign company that wants to set up a branch for its business in Singapore will need to appoint two local agents to act on its behalf. These agents must be Singapore residents, that is, either citizens or permanent residents, or foreigners with employment or dependent passes. Special licenses are needed for some businesses such as banking, insurance and stock broking. Special licenses are also required for the manufacture of goods such as cigars and firecrackers.

Foreign individuals who wish to set up and operate businesses in Singapore will find it easier with the Global Investor Program.

[Source: Economic Development Board of Singapore]

The Global Investor Program

As an investor who is interested to start up a business or invest in Singapore, you may apply for the Singapore Permanent Residence status (PR) through the Global Investor Program.

Investment Options include:

Option A: Invest at least $2.5 million in a new business entity or to expand an existing business.

    Singapore on the map
  • Submit detailed five-year business plan, including employment and financial projections. The Singapore government will require that milestones in the plan be met during the five years of the plan.

Option B: Invest at least $2.5 million in a GIP fund that invests in Singapore-bases companies.


  • At least three years of entrepreneurial and business experience
  • Audited financial statements for the most recent three years
  • Company turnover of a minimum of $50 million in the most recent year and average per year for the most recent three years
  • Must be at least a 30% shareholder, if your company is privately-held

Upon approval, successful applicants and their families will be granted a Re-Entry Permit (REP) for five years. At the end of the five years, additional permits of three and five year periods are available.

For a three-year REP:

You must have fulfilled your approved business plan, and:

    • You must have employed at least five Singaporeans and incurred a minimum of $1 million in business expenses per year


    • You or one of your dependents with permanent residency must have resided in Singapore for more than half of the previous five years.

For a five-year REP:
You must have fulfilled your approved business plan, and:

    • You must have employed at least five Singaporeans and incurred a minimum of $1 million in business expenses per year


    • You and all of your dependents with permanent residency must have resided in Singapore for more than half of the previous five years.

[Source: Contact Singapore]

American Corporate Services offers experience and expertise for astute investors who wish to establish offshore businesses. Whether an investor wishes to immigrate or simply to establish a business entity, our network of professionals has the ability to advise, assist, direct and enable clients to understand and navigate the process for Singapore company formation.

Our services include everything you need for starting a new business in Singapore. In addition to helping to establish a Singapore business bank account, helping you set up your business to conform to Singapore accounting standards and to comply with Singapore taxes, we also offer boutique amenities such as Singapore secretarial services. We can even help you to create a Singapore virtual office that will appear to others as though you are actually in Singapore, even though you may be just about anywhere else on the globe at the time. Our business is making your investment a success.