March 16, 2024


 min read

How to Set Up a Company in Singapore








How to Set Up a Company in Singapore


If you're a foreigner looking to start a business in Singapore, you might be facing some challenges. The process of setting up a business in a foreign country can be daunting, especially when you're not familiar with the local laws and regulations. However, with the help of Golden Harbors, setting up a venture in Singapore can be a breeze and handled remotely. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the barriers foreigners face when starting a business in Singapore, and how Golden Harbors can help you set up your business.

Challenges of starting a business in Singapore

Foreigners who want to start a business in Singapore have to face several barriers, including the following:

  • Work passes

Foreigners who want to operate a business in Singapore must have a valid work pass. However, getting a work pass can be challenging, especially if you're not a resident of Singapore. There are several types of work passes available, and each has its own requirements.

  • Regulatory compliance

Singapore has strict regulations when it comes to businesses. Foreigners looking to set up a business in Singapore must comply with these regulations, which can be overwhelming.

  • Limited market knowledge

Foreigners may not be familiar with the local market, which can make it challenging to start and grow a business. Understanding the local culture, consumer behavior, and market trends is crucial to the success of any business. Singapore is a small country with a limited domestic market. Foreigners may face challenges in finding customers or penetrating the market, particularly if their business is in a saturated industry.

  • Local Nominee Director

Singapore requires that every company have at least one local director who is a Singaporean citizen, permanent resident, or holder of an Employment Pass. This requirement can be challenging for foreigners who do not have any local connections or partners.

  • High cost of living

Singapore has a high cost of living, and doing business can be expensive. Office space, salaries, and other expenses can be high, particularly in prime locations such as the central business district.

  • Competition

Singapore is a highly competitive business environment, with many established local and international players in various industries. Foreigners may find it challenging to compete with these established players, particularly if they are entering a saturated or highly regulated industry.

Despite these barriers, Singapore remains an attractive destination for foreigners to start a business due to its stable political climate, strong legal system, business-friendly policies, and strategic location in Southeast Asia.

Benefits of using Golden Harbors for business setup

Using Golden Harbors for your business setup in Singapore offers several benefits, including the following:

Expert advice: Golden Harbors' team of experts will provide you with personalized advice and guidance throughout the entire process of setting up your business. They will help you navigate the local laws and regulations and ensure that you comply with all the necessary requirements.

Time-saving: Setting up a business in a foreign country can be time-consuming. However, with Golden Harbors, you can save time and focus on other aspects of your business. They will take care of all the necessary paperwork and applications, allowing you to focus on your business operations.

Cost-effective: Setting up a business on your own can be expensive, especially if you're not familiar with the local laws and regulations. Golden Harbors offers cost-effective solutions that are tailored to your specific needs.

Golden Harbors provides a full range of services for Singapore company registration and its maintenance, including but not limited to the following:

  • bank account assistance with traditional and digital banks;
  • nominee director, corporate secretary, and registration address services;
  • annual report submission and accounting services;
  • a residence permit application filing service.

Document package preparation: Golden Harbors will translate all required documents and submit them to the company registrar online. Only color copies of the documents are required from you. Notarization or legalization is not needed.

100% remote process: Any task is sorted out online with us (submission of documents, electronic signing, registration procedure, opening a bank account, etc.).

Our own KYC/Due Diligence department: This will increase the likelihood of an approved registration even before the official submission of your application.

The process of setting up a business in Singapore

Setting up a business in Singapore with Golden Harbors is a straightforward process. Here are the steps involved:

1. Consultation

The first step is to schedule a consultation with Golden Harbors. During this consultation, they will assess your needs and provide you with personalized advice on the best way to set up your business.

2. Company incorporation

Once you have decided on the type of business entity you want to set up, Golden Harbors will assist you with the company incorporation process. They will take care of all the necessary paperwork and applications required to register your company. 

For incorporation, you should follow the steps outlined below:

  • Choose your business structure: In Singapore, you can register a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability partnership (LLP), or a private limited company (PLC). Each structure has its own benefits and drawbacks, so you should choose the one that best fits your business needs.
  • Register your business: You can register your business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) online. You will need to provide information about your business, such as its name, address, business activities, and the names and addresses of its shareholders and directors.
  • Open a corporate bank account: You will need to open a corporate bank account in Singapore to conduct business transactions.
  • Obtain any necessary licenses and permits: Depending on your business activities, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits from government agencies such as the Ministry of Manpower, the National Environment Agency, or the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
  • Hire employees (if necessary): If you plan to hire employees in Singapore, you will need to comply with the country's employment laws and regulations. You will also need to register for the Central Provident Fund (CPF) and obtain work permits for any foreign employees.
  • Register for taxes: You will need to register your business for Goods and Services Tax (GST) if your annual turnover exceeds SGD 1 million. You will also need to register for corporate income tax and file annual tax returns.

3. Work pass applications 

Golden Harbors will help you apply for the appropriate work passes required for your business. They will ensure that your application is complete and submitted on time.

4. Regulatory compliance

Golden Harbors will help you comply with all the necessary regulations and requirements for running a business in Singapore. They will provide you with ongoing support and guidance to ensure that you remain compliant. 

Common mistakes to avoid when setting up a business in Singapore 

When setting up a business in Singapore, there are several common mistakes that foreigners make. Here are a few to avoid:

  • Not conducting proper market research: It's essential to conduct market research before launching a business in Singapore. Understanding the market demand, competition, and target audience can help you make informed decisions.
  • Choosing the wrong business structure: Choosing the right business structure is crucial to the success of your business. The most common business structures in Singapore are Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, and Private Limited Company. Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages, so it's essential to choose the right one that fits your business needs.
  • Not complying with legal requirements: Singapore has strict legal requirements that businesses must comply with, such as registering with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and obtaining the necessary licenses and permits.
  • Not having a solid business plan: A solid business plan can help you stay focused and guide you toward achieving your business goals. It should include your business objectives, strategies, financial projections, and marketing plan.
  • Neglecting the importance of branding and marketing: Branding and marketing are crucial to the success of any business. Neglecting these aspects can result in low brand awareness and low sales.
  • Not hiring the right people: Hiring the right people can make a significant difference in the success of your business. It's essential to hire employees who share your vision and have the necessary skills and experience to help you achieve your business goals.
  • Not keeping up with technology: Technology is rapidly changing, and not keeping up with it can put your business at a disadvantage. It's essential to keep up with the latest trends and invest in technology that can help you streamline your business processes and improve efficiency.

In conclusion, starting a business in Singapore can be a challenging task, but avoiding these common mistakes can help you set up a successful business.

Tips for successful business operations in Singapore

Once your business is up and running, there are several things you can do to ensure its success. Here are a few tips:

  • Build a strong network: Networking is crucial in Singapore's business culture. Attend industry events, seminars, and conferences to meet like-minded individuals and potential clients or partners.
  • Stay up-to-date with regulations: Singapore has strict legal requirements, and businesses must comply with them. Stay updated on the latest regulations and ensure your business complies with them.
  • Prioritize customer service: Singaporeans place a high value on customer service. Ensure your business offers excellent customer service, which can help build customer loyalty and generate positive reviews and referrals.
  • Leverage technology: Singapore is a technologically advanced nation, and businesses must leverage technology to stay competitive. Adopt digital tools and platforms to improve efficiency, communication, and customer experience.
  • Focus on sustainability: Singapore has a strong commitment to sustainability, and businesses that prioritize sustainability can benefit from government incentives and attract environmentally conscious customers.
  • Hire and retain top talent: Singapore has a highly skilled and educated workforce, and businesses must attract and retain top talent to stay competitive. Offer competitive compensation, professional development opportunities, and a positive work culture.
  • Embrace diversity and inclusivity: Singapore is a multicultural and diverse society, and businesses that embrace diversity and inclusivity can benefit from a wider customer base and diverse perspectives.

Successful business operations in Singapore require a strong network, compliance with regulations, excellent customer service, technology adoption, sustainability focus, talent retention, and diversity and inclusivity.

Setting up a business in Singapore can be challenging, especially for foreigners. However, with the help of Golden Harbors, the process can be streamlined and hassle-free. We offer personalized advice and guidance and will take care of all the necessary paperwork and applications. Register your company in Singapore today!


Residence Benefits

Swipe icon


Fast application processing

up to 8 weeks


Global mobility and freedom

Visa-free travel to 193 countries, including the EU, UK, Canada, China, and the United States


Business opportunities

International expansion: register your company and get access to Singapore free economic zones


Global mobility and freedom

The corporate tax rate is 0% for resident companies for the first three years and up to 9% for non-resident companies on their first $200,000 net profit. VAT: 8%


Low tax rates on personal income

Individuals are only taxed on income earned in Singapore at a variable rate between 0% to 22%. No tax on property and inheritance


Global mobility and freedom

Residence permit allows you to work, do business and study


Potential path to Singapore citizenship in 5 years

Residents can apply for Singapore citizenship after 5 years


Global mobility and freedom

Family members can apply for a residence permit together with the main applicant


No requirements on the duration of stay in the country

No minimum stay requirements to maintain and extend the status


Global mobility and freedom

Politically stable country in Asia; The best workforce in the world; The highest quality of life in Asia


Residence Permit

Processing Time and Terms

Enter your estimated application start date for the Singapore Residence Permit and receive a clear timetable for each step

Step back

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.


Sign a service agreement, fill out an application form online, and pay service fees.


We incorporate a company for you.


We open a bank account in Singapore.


We compile the document package required for the program, and your application is submitted to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore.


We receive the in-principal approval (IPA) letter and you have to enter Singapore within 6 months.


We receive a notification letter and you register your fingerprints and have your photo taken.

There are Always Options to EXPAND YOUR BOUNDARIES! Let's Discuss Yours

Every client is unique

Every case requires an individual approach and solution. Our years of experience in the industry allow us to provide both.

We will answer all your questions and provide detailed information about the available second passport and residency programs to help you make the right choice.


Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors

Staff Headshot


Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors