Singapore has consistently topped the world’s ranks of best places to do business. It is position number two in the overall ranking for business. There is everything a global investor would want; first-class infrastructure, an educated population, good governance, and a business environment with top global brands. Company incorporation in Singapore is one of the easiest in the world for both Singaporean citizens and foreigners. 

Who can Incorporate a Business in Singapore?

Anyone over the age of 18 years with a clean background (without a criminal background), can incorporate a company in Singapore. Singaporean citizens have to show proof of citizenship by providing a copy of their ID card.

Foreign nationals do not have to be physically present in Singapore to incorporate a company. They can use a filing agent. A valid copy of a passport needed as proof of citizenship. A foreigner must also pass Know-Your-Customer (KYC) assessment, a criminal background check, and not be bankrupt.

Who is a Filing Agent?

A filing agent is a consulting company made up of professional lawyers, accountants, and auditors who advise on incorporating a company in Singapore. A filing agent interacts with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) on behalf of the client. 

A filing agent ensures that all paperwork is incorrect order, and all the requirements are met to make the incorporation process smooth. The whole incorporation process entirely online on ACRA’s online portal BizFile+ 

Who Can be a Shareholder and Director?

Singapore is one of the few countries that allow 100% foreign shareholding. But a company must disclose any significant shareholding, that is, any shareholder with shareholding over 25%. But both foreigners and Singaporean citizens can buy a shareholding in the same company. A private company can have a maximum of 50 shareholders.

A private company must have at least one director as a resident in Singapore. Any adult over the age of 18 years can be a director in a private company. A director must show proof of citizenship by providing a copy of identity documents. He/she must also pass KYC assessment, have a clean background, and not be bankrupt. A foreigner wishing to be a director must have an employment pass or hold a permanent resident visa.  

What Details are Needed to Incorporate a Company?

ACRA needs an investor to provide the following details about a business for successful incorporation:

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A Company Name 

You must conduct a name search on BizFile+ before registering it as a company name. The name must not be in use by any other entity in Singapore or have a close resemblance to known global brands. The name must not offend sensibilities or cultural norms in Singapore. A name search costs a fee of SG$15. 

Registered Address 

You must provide a registered address for correspondence. A P.O. Box address is not acceptable. But a business can use a filing agent’s address as its registered address for the incorporation process.  

Singapore allows some businesses to use home addresses as their official addresses. These are small consulting businesses like accounting, software design, and architecture. 

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Business Activity Details 

You must provide a classification code for your business as classified in the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification. Businesses in regulated industries must seek approval from relevant government ministries and departments. These regulated industries include education, medicine, and banking. 

Share Capital 

The minimum share capital is SG$1, but the business is free to top up after registration. 

Shareholder Details 

You must have details of all shareholders of the company, both foreign and Singaporean citizens. The number should be over one, but not over 50 people for a private company.

Director Details 

You must list all directors, both foreign and Singaporean. Remember that foreign directors need an employment pass, a copy of which you should attach to the application. 

Company Secretary and Auditor Details 

A company must show its Company secretary during incorporation. You can state the filing agent as the interim Company Secretary for incorporation. The company must appoint a substantive Company secretary within 3 months of incorporation. The same scenario applies to a Company auditor. 

How Long Does Company Incorporation Take?

ACRA completes private company incorporation in less than 2 days if all the required documents are submitted and correct. The incorporation fee is SG$300. The entire process is digital. ACRA provides a Certificate of Incorporation upon successful incorporation. They also show approval of the Company Stamp and Seal if you had sought approval for the same. ACRA requires a company to hold an AGM within a calendar year of incorporation. 

Singapore is one of the friendliest investment destinations globally. The ease of company incorporation is one of the top reasons you should invest in this Southeast Asia business hub. There is a strong case for investing in a country that ranked as the second-best place to do business in the world.