11 Reasons Why British Entrepreneurs Should Set-up a Business in Singapore

Singapore is one of Asia’s most progressive, modernised cities. It’s a fast growing hub for global businesses and new expats like you wanting to start a business somewhere that’s warm year round, among other benefits.

If you are a UK-based entrepreneur who is looking for an opportunity to expand to a promising market or looking for the right jurisdiction to set-up your business, Singapore may very well be the right choice for you. Here’s why.

Reasons setting-up a business in Singapore makes sense

Merlion and the financial district, Singapore

1. The World Bank rates Singapore as the easiest country in the world for doing business.

Keep reading to see many more reasons why. Once you open up shop here, it’s likely you’ll agree wholeheartedly!

2. Singapore’s ranked #3 on the Forbes Richest Country List.

See Forbes’ slideshow here.

3. They were ranked the third most globalized economy out of 60 by Ernst and Young just a few short years ago.

Where better to do global business than a recognized hub for international entrepreneurs and corporate businesses?

4. Singapore is the most politically stable country in Asia.

The people here are happy with the current political landscape, for many of the reasons you’ll find listed below.

5. Singapore has the best labour force in the world.

Experience, youth, and a strong desire for success are what drives workers in Singapore.

6. Singapore is rated #1 in Asia for quality of life.

Marina Barrage Singapore

It’s South East Asia for crying out loud! Singapore is the richest Asian country, per capita, with a £215,897,274 GDP.

7. Corporate tax rates are about 8.5% up to £231,401 profits, and a flat 17% over and above.

Corporate tax rates in the UK are still 20% despite their recent drop. Not as bad as the United States, but certainly nowhere near as nice as Singapore.

8. There are no dividends or capital gains taxes in Singapore

Capital gain’s tax is still a whopping 20% for those making a “decent” living in the UK.

9. There is no estate tax in Singapore.

Estate taxes go as high as 40% at the average property value of £325,000. This is more a consideration for protecting what you leave to your family when you die, obviously.

10. Personal tax rates start at 0% and max out at 20% above £246,827.

Compare this with 20% starting at a meager £11,001 in the UK, and up to 45% if you make over £150,000!

11. It’s really easy to incorporate in Singapore if you meet the requirements.

Skyscrapers in Marina Bay, financial district of Singapore

I’m going to go a little more in detail toward the application process for starting your business here. There are quite a few local service-type businesses that are quite hard for a foreigner to start in Singapore, so read through the information link given below to apply for an EntrePass very carefully.

Some expats start businesses in Malaysia because they’re spouse has work in Singapore. Live there on a Dependent’s Pass, that lasts for 6 weeks before it has to be renewed, to get your business off the ground. Or a Long Term Visit Pass if your spouse has long term employment in the Lion City.

In all other situations where you’re moving there with the sole purpose of starting a business, you can apply for an EntrePass while living on a standard Visitor’s Pass until your application’s accepted. The Visitor’s Pass is the basic tourist visa that all foreigners apply for before entering the country.

Note: An EntrePass will take around a month for the application to be processed.

You can also apply for the EntrePass if you just have a business idea, but want to wait for your application to be accepted before launching it. The caveats are that you will need to have Singaporean company bank account set up with $50,000 US dollars (~£38,600), and if the company is incorporated at the time of your application, you’ll need to hold at least 30% of the shares. There are other requirements, but if you’re serious about moving there, you’ll have those obligations sorted in no time.

Expanding to Singapore? Starting a business in Singapore?

Jubilee Bridge, Singapore

Whether you are expanding your UK-based company to Singapore or establishing a company in Singapore, you need to understand the country’s legal requirements for that purpose, such as your payroll legislation and tax obligations.

As part of their service, global payroll service provider, activpayroll helps successful businesses in Singapore by managing their global payroll needs, as well as ensuring their tax compliance.

You can find their Singapore payroll and tax overview here. For more in-depth guide, register to their Global Insight online library.