Starting Business In Singapore: Simple Step-By-Step Process


[Updated: Jan 2015]

India and Singapore are on a path of increasing economic integration. The ties that bind these countries have a long history – they are rooted in a common culture and a shared legacy of being former British colonies.

Since 1991 (as a result of India’s Look East trade policy), cultural exchange, immigration and military links between both countries have increased dramatically. By 2001, Singapore-India bilateral trade had increased to S$2.65 billion. In 2005, both countries signed the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). By the next year, total trade grew four-fold to approximately S$11 billion.


Existing India Singapore Business Relationship

According to International Enterprise Singapore (the national agency responsible for spurring Singapore’s external economy) India became Singapore’s 10th largest trading partner in 2010, registering S$30.7 billion in total trade, up from S$21.6 billion in 2009. Data from the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) shows that as of June 2011, Singapore’s Indian business community has become the single largest country-based business community in Singapore, having grown by 25% within less than a year.

The reasons for this deepening trade relationship are multi-fold. Singapore has long been an attractive business destination as companies and investors recognize the value of its unique geographical and political environment. Firms can access most of the major Asian markets from Singapore.

Singapore’s responsive government and efficient legal system results in a pro-business environment which offers low tax rates, sophisticated infrastructure, strong IP protection, progressive immigration policies and an abundance of skilled labour force. Together, these factors have continued to entice entrepreneurs and multinationals to set up business ventures in Singapore.

Many Indian firms and entrepreneurs have done so in recent years. In 2009, Bangalore-based infrastructure giant, GMR Group; and K S Oils, India’s leading integrated edible oil FMCG company set up their regional and international offices respectively in Singapore.

In the same year, August Media was founded in Singapore and within a year, had scored a $60 million deal with US animation giant Classic Media. In September 2010, rope wire manufacturer Usha Martin announced its plans to make Singapore its corporate engineering knowledge center as well as international headquarters. In May 2011, Tata Communications named Singapore as its official international headquarters.

For many Indian entrepreneurs and businesses, Singapore holds a cultural attraction as well. It represents harmonious balance between the East and West and offers a culture that is familiar and comfortable for many Indians. Singapore is a clean, well-functioning cosmopolitan city with low pollution levels, reliable public transportation, high quality educational institutions and increasingly colourful entertainment, dining and arts scene. The recent uptrend in the purchasing of property by Indian expats also demonstrates that many find Singapore an attractive place to live.

How to start a Business in Singapore

If you are considering Singapore as the location for your business, there are some important considerations that you should keep in mind. First of all, you must carefully consider the type of company you plan to setup. For individual foreign entrepreneurs, the clear choice is to incorporate a private limited Singapore company. Foreign companies on the other hand, have a choice of setting up a branch office, a subsidiary company or a representative office in Singapore.

Singapore law allows 100% foreign ownership of Singapore companies. A Singapore company can be registered with a minimum of one shareholder, one director, and a paid-up capital of $1 only. Each company must appoint a Singapore-based company secretary and registered address and file its annual return with company registrar and income tax authorities. Since most of the work in Singapore is computerized, it hardly takes 1 day to register a company in Singapore.

If you are a foreign entrepreneur, you must bear the following in mind as well. If you plan to relocate to Singapore to run your business, you must secure a relocation visa of type EntrePass (Entrepreneur Pass) or EmploymentPass. These two types of visas do not come under any quota system however they are subject to the applicant satisfying the necessary qualification criteria. Each application is reviewed and approved by authorities based on its own merits. Once your relocation visa is approved, your spouse and children can also relocate to Singapore on Dependant Passes and you are eligible to apply for permanent residence in due course.

Overall, setting up a business in Singapore is quite easy and simple. The country has consistently been ranked highly in international business surveys and reports. Just last year, Singapore was named the city with the highest ease of doing business ranking, highest quality of life ranking in Asia for expatriates, most competitive economy and most efficient bureaucracy by institutions such as the World Bank, ECA International, Gallup and World Economic Forum. To become a part of this growing and dynamic environment, consider setting up your business in Singapore.

[Ina Jasni works for Janus Corporate Solutions – a leading Singapore-based firm that offers full-range of cost-effective Singapore company registration, relocation visa, accounting and ongoing compliance services to businesses worldwide. For additional information on the topics discussed here, you can visit Janus’s website]

  1. Shankit says


    I am Shankit from India.I interest to do business in Singapore for permanent residency. I can guide regarding these.

    with regards,

  2. Pushpander Sharma says

    I want to export frozen green pies,mushroom and baby corn(all packed ) to Singapore,do anyone tell ,whether there is market for these items in Singapore

  3. Nitin says

    I want to export spices,maize corn to Singapore,do anyone tell ,whether there is market for these items in Singapore

  4. Anna says

    Thanks for this easy-to-read yet comprehensive guide. Definitely agree that the process of Singapore company registration is easy and straightforward. In terms of choosing a business vehicle, I personally think starting a private limited company is better as it gives shareholders and directors with limited liability, compared to registering a sole proprietorship.

  5. Roop Mukherjee says

    Dear Friends,
    I am a Water and Waste Water professional. I have recently opened up a Consulting Company in Water and Waste Water system in India. I want to start my business in Singapore also.
    Can anyone help me to guide me the process and prospect of opening up of Consultancy company in Singapore.


  6. sureshkumar VR says

    i want to start a export business / agent haed quatered in Coimbatore

    having more than 3 decade experience in public relations

  7. John Dorian says

    Singapore is a great place to live and do business, but it’s a tons of paperwork to get working visa. Our company used service, Rikvin is the biggest, our company used OneVisa ( Also I’ve heard positive feedback about VisaExpress (
    You can Google a lot of such services :)

  8. huzefa nalwalla says

    dear freinds
    im intrested in migratin to singapore from india however very mruch confused o what bussiness can i start out there , we have an expertise in exports and imports in india
    can anyone pls suggest what kind of bussines or prouducts would be best for an indian bussinesman to get established in singapore
    we are ready to make investments of around 1 to 2 million

    1. Arul kumar says

      Mr. huzefa

      You can export from Singapore ” used electronics ” to many wanted countrys in Africa..
      You can import in Singapore ” dried sea food ” from India..

      Best wishes

    2. S. Ahamed Ashraf says

      Salaam Dear huzefa nalwalla, I Mr Ahamed Ashraf Residing at chennai proprietor of ABS TRADING & MANUFACTURES. Currently we are doing export and import all over the world. I have many experience business like gold, restaurant so we have good idea who ready to invest for business like you all are true with proof I have been frequent traveller please if confident please be visit our office I will provide all details front of you who I am please any question & quires do not hesitate S. Ahamed Ashraf 0091 98401 26452.

  9. Mitesh says

    Whats a god business to start if I’m willing to invest upto one million in Singapore

  10. srinivas says


    I am Srinivas from India.I interest to do business in Singapore for permanent residency. I can guide regarding these.

    with regards,

  11. Inder Singh says

    First thing get a website made and get it promoted to have an effective presence. Check out for SEO services in Singapore.

  12. Josephine Victor says

    This guide sure helps for those interested in doing business in Singapore. The author firms focus on helping businesses reach their commercial goals by providing practical information.

  13. Asho says

    I just checked the population and it seems very low… and also Singapore is very smaller than Bangalore… so sure the investment will very high… and also Singapore targeted products won’t reach much because of huge competition and small population…

  14. Altaf Rahman says

    @ Asho,
    I think the ethnic spread of Singapore is equal percentage of Chinese, Malays and Indians. Considering good percentage of people of Indian origin, it is quite possible for a person of Indian origin to be the President.
    @ Author,
    It is a nice article which brings attention to the point that it is easy to ‘register a firm’ and ‘start a business’.
    However if more details are coming from the author (as he has first hand info) it would create inquisitiveness among readers.
    Such as :
    1) What business is good for Indians to set up in Singapore. If any particular sectors for focussing such as any particular product which has potential for export to Singapore or import of a particular product into India. Like we can export flowers to Singapore, we can export high value sea foods etc.
    2) Considering the very high cost of living, the cost of maintaining a small office for Small enterprenuers.
    3) The import / export figures for the last few years to show a general direction of the trade growth. I am sure the trade balance is in surplus towards Singapore.
    Etc, etc,

  15. Asho says

    After reading this article i just checkout out wikipedia article about Singapore and i got socked… The president of Singapore is a Indian… His name is Nathan and he is from Tamil Nadu… OMG!!!

  16. Ashok Ramesh says

    After reading this article I just checkout out wikipedia article about Singapore and I got socked… The president of Singapore is a Indian… His name is Nathan and he is from Tamil Nadu… OMG!

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