Why Singapore emerged as a preferred business hub

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By Adrian Cruce

Investors and entrepreneurs have been piling into Singapore for several good reasons. As it turns out, most are there to stay. We’re going to discuss some of the reasons behind the success of Singapore and it’s appeal to a growing enlightened group of foreigners:

Ease of doing business:

When measured against typical considerations that are dear to any business person, Singapore beats most of it’s rivals in terms of how easy it is to do business. These considerations include things like building permits, the processes required to start up a business there, the reliability of the legal system to enforce contracts and the level of ease when it gets to things like taxation. Let’s use an example: if you needed to resolve a commercial dispute through the courts, the entire process can be complete within 150 days in Singapore, whereas countries like Greece, Spain and Brazil will edge closer to three years. It comes as no surprize that the bulk of litigation in Singapore can now be done online – which places the country way ahead of may European and US peers. What is even more reassuring, is that in terms of global competitiveness and the corruption perception index, it ranks number one in the world: ahead of New Zealand, Denmark and South Korea. As you would expect from a country with such a good reputation and level of efficiency, incorporating a new business is swift and affordable. A good example of this is Sandhurst consultancy, where Singapore company registration is something that is taken care of on a daily basis.

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A modern, clean and sunny city:

Singapore re-invented itself. It is a place where people can feel proud of their environment, namely a modern, ecologically friendly city. Let’s face it: weather you are from Melbourne, London or Beijing, winter time is always dreadful. Well not in Singapore – where the sun shines most of the year. Indeed the city has a carbon tax and several eco-friendly hotels and caters for a wider variety of lifestyle preferences as it boasts a wide selection of vegetarian restaurants and fitness centres.

Recently established as an expat magnet:

Whereas traditionally Singapore was used merely as a gateway to Asia, today more and more expats are relocating to Singapore. A little secret is that many even give up EU and US citizenship in order to have tax residency in the country. As the saying goes: A crowd draws a crowd. Once entrepreneurial expats discover Singapore and realize just how international it has become, many choose to stay. With a population of 5.7 million people, it certainly runs at the right scale to host many attractions that smaller cities cannot support. Yet the annual population growth has been hovering around 1.5% which is entirely manageable.

Low tax, pro business environment:

Finding a low tax regime that is still incompliance with OECD rules, where you can speak English and rely on a well-functioning common law system sounds like too much to ask for? Well, this, is Singapore! This is perhaps why so many people who left developing countries to live in London, Sydney and some US cities, could not move back home again: they made it and then moved to Singapore.

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Next steps:

Maybe you’ve always wanted to move an investment portfolio or business to Singapore and are in the final phases of your decision making? A good next step may be to speak to business consultants in Singapore about a range of things including incorporation, opening a bank account, statutory compliance and off course, annual accounting. Perhaps you should also speak to them about migration options. Whatever your needs, you can read more on the E-Sandhurst site. The unique combination of factors that makes Singapore what it is for many people, are all too alluring to ignore. Some call it a city, an island and a country – what will your verdict be?