Can A Foreigner Open A Company In Singapore


Foreign entrepreneurs are often attracted to Singapore because of its favourable tax regime and business-friendly infrastructure. It is possible for a foreigner to open a company in Singapore if they meet certain criteria, including paying the required company registration fees, electing a director to the board, and applying for a work visa. In this article, we will explore the steps involved in opening a business in Singapore, the benefits and challenges of doing so, and what the government offers to support foreign business endeavors. We will also discuss the potential pitfalls that foreigners can face when attempting to start a business in Singapore as well as some valuable advice from experienced entrepreneurs.

Bureaucratic Challenges

Setting up a business in Singapore can involve a certain amount of bureaucracy, but the process is relatively straightforward. The first step is to decide on the type of company you wish to establish. There are several legal structures available for companies in Singapore, and the one you opt for will depend on the nature of your business, the number of shareholders and directors, and specific tax considerations related to that business type.
Once you have decided on a legal structure, the next step is to register a company with the Singapore Registrar of Companies. The company must have a minimum of one director who is a Singapore resident and a minimum of one shareholder. Additionally, all foreign directors of the company must hold a valid Employment Pass or work visa.
If all of these requirements are fulfilled, and both the shareholders and the directors are approved by the Registrar of Companies, the company can then be registered. However, the registration process can take several days, so foreign entrepreneurs will need to be prepared to wait before their business is officially recognised.

Tax Advantages

The Singapore government is keen to attract foreign investments, and as a result, it has introduced some attractive tax structures and credit schemes. Singapore’s tax system is relatively simple, and the corporate tax rate is among the lowest in the world, at just 17%.
In addition to the appeal of low corporate tax rates, Singapore does not charge any tax on capital gains, withholding taxes on dividends and interest, or estate duty. This makes it an attractive destination for foreign entrepreneurs who are looking to maximise their returns from their business ventures.

Government Incentives

The Singapore government provides a range of incentives and support schemes to businesses. These include grants, loan schemes and tax rebates. The government also provides assistance for foreign entrepreneurs looking to set up businesses in Singapore.
The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) is one of the most popular schemes for foreign entrepreneurs. The EDG provides businesses with funding of up to 70% of their start-up and expansion costs, depending on the nature of the business. The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) also provides businesses with a 50% tax rebate on investment costs.

Risks and Challenges

Although there are many benefits to setting up a business in Singapore, there are also certain risks and challenges that must be taken into account. Foreign entrepreneurs often find it difficult to access funding, as most banks and financial institutions require local bank accounts before they will lend money. Additionally, foreign entrepreneurs are not eligible to receive the same protections that Singapore nationals are granted under Singapore law, making them more vulnerable in the event of a dispute.

Advice from Experienced Entrepreneurs

Successful entrepreneurs who have started businesses in Singapore offer valuable insight into the process. The most important advice for foreign entrepreneurs is to plan ahead and to be prepared for any unexpected challenges. They should make sure to complete all paperwork and register the business with Singapore officials in a timely manner. It’s also important to have a detailed knowledge of local business regulations, as well as a thorough understanding of the local market and any cultural nuances that may be related to setting up a business in Singapore.

Hiring a Consultant

One of the best ways to ensure a successful business launch is to hire a consultant or specialists who can provide advice on the local market and any potential legal pitfalls. A reputable business consulting firm can provide invaluable guidance on setting up a business in Singapore, as well as information about any incentives or funding available. Consulting firms that specialise in working with foreign entrepreneurs can also provide advice on the best way to structure and manage the business in order to maximise the potential for growth.


Foreigners can definitely set up a company in Singapore and benefit from its favourable tax system, business-friendly infrastructure, and government incentives. There are certain bureaucratic and financial challenges that must be taken into account, but these can be managed with the help of experienced professionals. While setting up a business in Singapore can be a challenging process, it can also be rewarding and lucrative for the right type of entrepreneur.

Wallace Jacobs is an experienced leader in marketing and management. He has worked in the corporate sector for over twenty years and is a driving force behind many successful companies. Wallace is committed to helping companies grow and reach their goals, leveraging his experience in leading teams and developing business strategies.

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