Set Up Business in Singapore

Singapore Expansion Guide

Global Upside helps companies set up, hire, and operate in Singapore. Set up a legal entity quickly and easily with our solutions for branch, subsidiary, and rep office. Looking for an alternative to permanent establishment? Hire and pay employees in Singapore without a legal entity by using our PEO & employer of record services. Once your business is set up, our teams can support with recruitment and staffing, human resources, employee benefits, payroll, accounting, and tax.

Capital City



Singapore Dollar (SGD)


English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay



Country Overview

Singapore is a multi-cultural city-state in southeast Asia. The country has a population of over 5.6 million and is globally recognized as a financial and commercial business hub. Singapore is considered a thriving ground for multinational companies with foreign business investment encouraged by the national government.

  • Singapore is the richest economy in Southeast Asia in terms of GDP per capita
  • Singapore has very low corruption rates
  • Singapore has a pro-business government that supports foreign investment and trade
  • The workforce in Singapore is highly skilled

There are various options for structuring a business entity in Singapore:

Branch Office

A branch office is registered as an extension of the parent company and not as an independent entity. The legal responsibilities are taken care of by the parent company.

Representative Office

A representative office is listed as an interim arrangement that conducts all marketing and R&D activities. There is no legal status and a representative office should not engage in any kind of profit yielding activities.

Company or Limited Liability Company (LLC)

The parent company is a shareholder in an LLC. This is the most favored choice when it comes to registration in the country.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is not an independently incorporated entity. Instead, the business and the owner are seen as the same entity under the law. As a result, the business owner legally owns all the assets and liabilities of the firm.


A partnership allows a group of two or more individuals to form and co-own the business.

It takes a mini­­mum of 2 to 8 weeks to set up a legal establishment in Singapore.

As per the Employment Act of Singapore, employees who have been hired after April 1, 2016 need to be provided with key employment terms (KETs) by the employers. The key employment terms must be issued to the employees within two weeks of their joining. This documentation includes the following details:

  • Name of the employer in full
  • Name of the employee in full
  • Date of joining
  • Job title and description along with the responsibilities
  • Extent of the employment agreement, if relevant
  • Remuneration and bonus
  • Working hours and overtime
  • Probation or training clause, if relevant
  • Perks and benefits for the employee
  • Leaves and public holidays
  • Insurance and medical benefits
  • Termination policy

Employers in Singapore must pay employee salaries no less than once a month, or at lesser intervals as per company policies.

The accounting standards are recognized as Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (SFRS) and are based on the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Tax Rate

Singapore has a single-tier national tax rate of 17%.

Goods & Services Tax (GST)

A 7% GST is imposed on the supply of goods and services in Singapore.

The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) is important legislation that ensures the protection of personal and consumer data. As per the PDPA, an employer cannot collect, use, or disclose employee details without a valid reason (such as the termination of an employment contract as long as the employee is aware of the reason).

Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption Law

The Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) is the primary law for anti-corruption in Singapore. Corruption has been defined as a bribe that is offered in return for any kind of favor. Bribes have been classified into 2 forms, monetary and non-monetary, and are described as:

  • Any gifts, loans, rewards, commissions, fees, money, or any other property
  • Any form of office contract or employment
  • Any kind of release, liquidation, or discharge of loan, or payment of any other liability
  • Any favor, advantage, or service
  • Any promise, undertaking, or offer of gratification

Penalties can be issued if anyone is found guilty of any wrongdoing. Individuals found guilty can receive a fine of $100,000 as well as forcible detention of 5 years.