Everybody knows that Asia is the most populous continent on the planet. But how do you enter the Asian market with many Asian countries operating on super-strict rules? Through Singapore.
Singapore is one of the most business-friendly destinations in Asia. Talk about business regulations, consumer readiness, nearness to markets (location), tax reliefs and obligations – Singapore ticks all the right boxes. And this is why businesses from across the globe turn to the city-state whenever they want to tap into the Asian market.
The World Bank currently ranks the Garden City No. 1 for the ease of doing business – a fact reflected in the hundreds of multinational companies operating in the country. Go to Singapore today, and you’ll find out your Uber, Toyota, Facebook and Google all have their headquarters in the city-state.
1. Singapore’s strategic location and connectivity
Singapore’s strategic location provides businesses access to a vast market of over 600 million people in Southeast Asia. The city-state is well-connected to other countries in the region, with excellent air and sea links. Singapore’s Changi Airport is one of the best in the world, with over 100 airlines flying to more than 380 cities.
In addition, Singapore is at the crossroads of major shipping lanes and has some of the busiest ports in the world. This makes Singapore an ideal location for businesses that rely on shipping and logistics.
From Singapore, one can easily access other regions in Asia, including Thailand, Bangkok, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia; even China is only a six-hour flight away from Singapore. That is how close Singapore is to some of the world’s biggest markets.
Now you understand why companies like Google and Facebook chose to have a seat here.
2. Singapore’s adoption of the English language
It is widely believed that the English language is the language of the international community. And guess what? Singapore speaks it fluently.
The city-state speaks English as one of its four official and popular languages.
This eliminates the usual language barrier that often plagues international business dealings. No matter where you’re from, you can always walk into Singapore and start your business operations, knowing that anyone and everyone you meet will be able and willing to communicate in a language you understand.
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3. Business-friendly policies and regulations
Singapore is known for its business-friendly policies and regulations that make it easy for businesses to operate. The city-state has a transparent and efficient legal system, and the government is committed to creating a conducive business environment.
Singapore has a low tax rate and offers various tax incentives for businesses. The government also supports businesses through grants and schemes that help them grow and expand.
Recently, the country was ranked the tenth hottest start-up ecosystem in the world by the popular research firm Compass.
4. Strong Intellectual Property Protection
Singapore has a strong intellectual property protection regime, which is a crucial factor for businesses that rely on their intangible assets, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. The city-state’s legal system is robust, and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) provides comprehensive services and support to businesses seeking to protect their intellectual property rights.
This guarantees that businesses can operate with confidence and security in Singapore – a significant advantage for companies investing heavily in research and development.
5. Access to a highly skilled workforce
Singapore’s world-class education system produces graduates proficient in English and who also possess the skills that businesses need.
In fact, according to a study published by Forbes, Singapore has the highest proportion of high-skilled workers in Asia, with 54.7 percent of its workforce being classified as high-skilled.
For perspective, only Luxembourg has more, with 59.5%. The giant economies of the US and the UK boast 42.2 and 48 per cent, respectively.
Finally, the government has implemented various initiatives to attract and retain talent in Singapore, such as the Global Investor Programme (GIP) and the Singapore Economic Development Board’s (EDB) Global Talent Programme.
6. Quality of Life in Singapore
Singapore is known for boasting a high quality of life. In fact, the quality of life in Singapore is why many foreigners flock to the country to live and work. The city-state has a safe and clean environment, excellent healthcare facilities, smart technology-driven lifestyle, and diverse food and entertainment options.
Singapore also has one of the best education systems in the world, with top-ranked international schools and universities. This makes it an ideal location for expat families who are looking for a safe, secure, and high-quality environment to raise their children.
7. Tax incentives and government support for businesses
Businesses can take advantage of a variety of tax breaks, including the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) program, which grants tax breaks to companies that invest in productivity and innovation. The government also supports businesses through grants and schemes that help them grow and expand.
Promoting investment in Singapore is the responsibility of the government agency known as the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). The EDB provides a range of services to businesses, including market research, investment advice, and assistance with setting up a business in Singapore.
8. Singapore’s economic stability and growth potential
It has a stable and predictable economic environment, making it an attractive destination for businesses looking for long-term stability. The city-state has a highly developed and diversified economy with a strong focus on innovation and technology.
Moreover, it has a pro-business environment that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation. The government has implemented various initiatives to support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), such as the SMEs Go Digital programme.
Success Stories of Foreign Businesses in Singapore
Thanks to the city-state’s supportive business environment, many foreign businesses have succeeded in Singapore. For example, US-based tech giant Google has established a significant presence, with its Asia-Pacific headquarters in the city-state.
Other foreign businesses that have established a presence in Singapore include pharmaceutical company Pfizer, financial services company Citibank, and technology company Microsoft. These businesses have benefited from Singapore’s supportive environment, highly skilled workforce, and strategic location.
Singapore’s success stories of Google, Pfizer, Citibank, and Microsoft have further solidified its reputation as a top business hub in Asia. If you’re thinking about expanding into Asia, there’s no looking beyond the Lion City.