Many multinational companies have chosen to set up base in the beautiful metropolis of Singapore.
The island nation might be one of the smallest countries in the world when measured in square kilometres, but it punches well above its weight in terms of global business significance.
Let’s take a closer look at four of the top reasons why you might choose to expand into Singapore…
1. Location, location, location
Business owners worldwide regard Singapore as an ideal location to grow their businesses, with many of them using the country as a stepping stone for expanding into other emerging Asian markets.
Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, Singapore’s convenient location has made it the epicentre of business in the region — with easy access to growing economies like India, China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. Changi International Airport serves over 80 international airlines with connections to more than 330 cities, making it possible to access a market of 2.8 billion people within just a few hours.
Singapore’s port is also one of the busiest in the world (sitting just being Shanghai in China), and the country is classified as a leading International Maritime Centre as a result. No wonder, then, that Singapore is frequently rated top in Asia by World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index…
2. A pro-business environment
Singapore has the most stable political environment in Southeast Asia, offering entrepreneurs and investors a strong sense of security and comfort.
Businesses do not exist in a vacuum — they need a supportive political infrastructure to grow and thrive. And Singapore’s infrastructure promises just that. A range of pro-business government initiatives has also helped the country become a hub for business entrepreneurs. One such initiative is the Startup SG, which provides entrepreneurs with a launchpad platform to access local support and connect to the global entrepreneurial network.
As a result, the garden city-state consistently ranks among the world’s most competitive economies and is well-renowned for its ease of doing business — helping to attract sizeable foreign investments.
3. Big incentives
The Singapore Government is also pretty big on incentives. Singapore’s progressive tax framework is one of the most attractive corporate tax structures in the world (the highest corporate tax rate on taxable income is 17%). Since 2003, the government has also relaxed the taxation policy on qualifying foreign-sourced remitted income, increasing the country’s attractiveness as a wealth management hub.
What’s more, Singapore has multiple free trade agreements that facilitate business and trading across borders. With these agreements in place, various types of government support for businesses, and low bureaucracy levels, it’s easy to see why business is booming for foreign investors across a variety of sectors in Singapore.
4. A world-class talent pool
Thanks to various future-focused education policies and ongoing training programmes that support a talented workforce, Singapore has a highly skilled and educated local talent pool to tap into. In fact, Singapore ranks as the best country in the world in human capital development.
The Singaporean work ethic is also desirable for businesses looking to recruit in this island nation. Seen as hard-working, reliable and trustworthy, the productive Singaporean workforce can be expected to yield a strong return on investment. Singapore has also traditionally been open to expat workers, making it the perfect location for growing a multilingual, multicultural workforce.
Ready to make your next move?
Although Singapore is considered one of the easiest countries for doing business, as with any country, there are still lots of unique factors to consider when hiring workers and plenty of local employment laws to get your head around. Did you know employers have to pay a compulsory Skills Development Levy (SDL) for employees working in Singapore on top of Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions?
As a foreign business, it’s also important to familiarise yourself with the local Singaporean culture and customs. For example, it’s not uncommon for employees to work nine to 10 hours during the weekdays and half a day on Saturdays. And did you know an annual 13th-month payment has become common practice in Singapore?
To ensure you have everything in place and stay compliant as you move through your global expansion journey (and don’t accidentally slip up with any cultural faux pas!), it’s well worth engaging an international PEO to lead the way.