Step-by-Step Guide to Company Setup in Singapore

Setting up a company in Singapore offers numerous advantages, including a strategic geographical position, a competitive corporate tax structure, and a reputation for being one of the most business-friendly environments globally. This guide outlines the essential steps for establishing your business in Singapore, ensuring you are well-prepared to take advantage of this vibrant economy.

Advantages of Setting Up a Company in Singapore

Strategic Location

Located at the crossroads of major trade routes, Singapore is a gateway to the Asia-Pacific market, offering businesses critical access to fast-growing economies like China, India, and Indonesia.

Pro-Business Environment

Singapore is renowned for its robust regulatory environment, transparency, and ease of doing business, making it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and established businesses alike.

Favorable Tax Conditions

The corporate tax rate in Singapore is capped at 17%, with various tax incentives for new and existing businesses, which can effectively lower the tax burden, particularly in the initial years of operation.

Efficient Setup Process

The process of setting up a company in Singapore is streamlined and can be completed within a matter of hours, provided all documents are prepared and submitted correctly.

Pre-Setup Considerations

Before initiating the company setup process, it is essential to consider several key factors:

Decide on the Business Structure

The most common form for foreign entrepreneurs is the private limited company due to its scalability and limited liability protection for its shareholders.

Choose a Company Name

Select a unique and meaningful name for your company that complies with the guidelines set by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Define Business Activities

Clearly articulating the nature of your business activities is crucial as it determines the regulatory requirements and specific licenses you may need.

Identify Shareholders and Directors

The law in Singapore requires at least one shareholder and one director who is a resident of Singapore. The director can be a citizen, a permanent resident, or a holder of an Employment Pass.

The Company Setup Process

Step 1: Secure Company Name Approval

Your chosen company name must be approved by ACRA, which typically happens almost instantaneously unless flagged for further review.

Step 2: Prepare Required Documents

Gather and prepare all necessary documentation, including:

  • Company Constitution
  • Identification details of shareholders and directors
  • Registered physical office address in Singapore
  • Description of business activities

Step 3: Register the Company

Submit the company registration application through ACRA’s BizFile+ system. The process is usually completed within a few hours if there are no complications.

Step 4: Post-Registration Tasks

After your company is registered, you must complete the following tasks:

  • Obtain any necessary business licenses and permits.
  • Register for Goods and Services Tax (GST) if your annual turnover is expected to exceed S$1 million.
  • Open a corporate bank account.

Post-Setup Compliance

Annual Compliance

Ensure your company remains compliant with Singapore’s corporate laws, including annual returns filing, holding annual general meetings, and maintaining proper accounting records.

Tax Compliance

Understand your tax obligations and ensure timely filings. It’s advisable to engage a tax consultant or accountant to help manage your tax affairs efficiently.

Stay Updated

Keep abreast of any changes in the business regulations in Singapore that might affect your business operations or compliance requirements.


Setting up a company in Singapore can be a straightforward and rewarding process for those looking to expand or start a new business in Asia. By following the outlined steps and adhering to the local regulatory framework, entrepreneurs can effectively leverage Singapore’s business-friendly environment for growth and success. Engaging with local experts and consultants can also provide valuable insights and help navigate the initial complexities of setting up a new business.