How to Set up the Right Type of Singapore Business Structure for a Foreigner

How to Set up the Right Type of Singapore Business Structure for a Foreigner

Singapore is the melting pot of the South East Asian Economy, companies foreign or local are clamouring to start doing business in this progressive nation. The ease of incorporating Singapore companies has been the driving force of this influx of foreign businessmen in the country. As a country ranked no. 1 by the World Bank for ease of doing business in, it’s not a surprise that foreigners like you desire to make your mark in this diverse economy. Before you start contacting local corporate secretarial services in the country, it’s best to get acquainted first with the business structures you can choose from as a foreigner.

The Five Business Structures Foreigners Can Choose From

In a company formation, deciding what structure you would base your whole operations on is imperative. It decides the scope of transactions and fees you need to pay for your offshore company to continue operating in the country. Take a look at these five business structures you can select for your offshore company.

Private Limited Company (Pte.Ltd)

A private limited company is the common choice of most foreigners who set up a company in Singapore. It’s easy to set up and the requirements to start operating in the country using a Pte. Ltd is straightforward and uncomplicated. Young or old businessmen can find the efficiency of starting this business structure to be welcoming and attractive.

The requirements for registering one includes:

  • at least one local shareholder
  • one resident director
  • a local company secretary
  • registered address
  • and 1 dollar minimum paid-up capital

These type of business structure is fitted for general purposes which is convenient and practical for mostly any businessman.

Branch Office

If you already have a company in your home country and are looking to expand your market, then a branch office business structure is best for you. Registering one won’t be as easy as a private company, but if you already have a stable company and only wish to increase your customer reach, then this type is best suited for you. It’s important to note though that a branch office is not considered as a separate legal entity but just an extension of its parent company. Since a branch is considered as a foreign company non-resident, it is not included in Singapore’s double taxation tax treaties and tax exemptions for new companies.

Representative Office

Unlike a branch office a representative office cannot conduct direct sales or revenue-generating activities in the country. The primary purpose of a representative branch is for product research, promotion of the parent company, after-sales or customer support, and research and development of the parent company’s products. It is exempted though from taxes. A representative company must convert into a branch structure after three years of operating in the market.

Freezone Company

A free zone company is customarily a business that further processes products for export. These half-finished goods usually come from trading companies around the globe. A free trade company operates under Singapore’s free zones, which means it benefits from different tax exemptions and easier compliance with customs regulations. It’s best suited for you if you wish to create a center for the distribution of your products globally.

Limited Liability Partnership

This structure is similar to a Private Company, but on a smaller scale. It can be composed of two partners with a minimum capital of just $1.00. You have limited liability, and you can sign, issue and even lease property in your own name. Since it is not a company, it is not subject to the annual corporate income tax, but you will be taxed by personal income tax along with your partner. This structure is best used for professional services like accounting, consulting and legal services.

Starting Your Company

Once you have made a choice among the five business structures, then it’s time you started your company. Company incorporation can be down without fear of red tape culture hindrances.

  1. Prepare your requirements (check the ACRA website or inquire from a corporate secretarial company)
  2. Hire the services of a corporate secretarial company (e.g., like LEXiCO) – they will handle all your transactions      with the government like the following:
  • Registering  a company name to ACRA
  • Get you a registered address, a director (nominee or not), a shareholder (nominee or not), a company secretary and an auditor. These are statutory requirements from the government.
  • Help file/submit your requirements
  • Aid in getting a bank account
  • Help with the post requirements like registering for GST, permits, and licenses.

It will be impossible for you to do any of these without the aid of a corporate secretarial services because the law forbids from self-registering a business in the country. A company like LEXiCO will not only make your burden light, but we will also ensure that your company is registered properly in accordance with the Companies Act and Singapore’s work regulations.

Starting your business endeavors in Singapore whether a company or companies will only be fulfilling if you meet the goals you have set for yourself, and the key to reaching this is being knowledgeable. By getting the help of professionals, you make your burden light, and your business dreams become a reality.