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Tips for Expats Buying a Small Business in Singapore

March 03, 2015 | Sharon Cheong

For those who wish to relocate to Singapore and start a business, it can be helpful to get as much professional information as possible. Before coming, explore business incorporation procedures and learn about the requirements for expats relocating to Singapore. It can be difficult and expensive to purchase property in Singapore and permanent residents and foreigners are restricted about the types of property they are allowed to buy.

Economic Development in Singapore 

Any type of commercial or industrial property in Singapore is an excellent investment, but foreigners face a variety of challenging aspects for land and property purchases. Foreigners and expats must get prior approval from the Controller of Residential Property Land Dealings. Though many types of small businesses do require a large investment to begin with, it is well worth it when you consider the long history of economic development in Singapore.  When just starting out, it can be helpful to get professional advice from accountants and lawyers in Singapore. 

Getting the Required Assistance 

Registering your business can be done online at the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority. Most newcomers and expats need assistance with their banking and financial needs. If starting a new business, a lawyer can explain about the legal issues and required insurance.  In Singapore, the Economic Development Board can offer some sound investor support. The Ministry of Trade has formed the Standards, Productivity, and Innovation Board in order to help entrepreneurs get the support they need to build their own small business in Singapore. In addition to the standard information about what it takes to open a business, they offer programs that can assist and support new entrepreneurs. 

In Singapore, there are many other organizations set up to help expats, entrepreneurs and investors who want to create a business of some type. Many people choose to start a business as a sole proprietor because the costs are reasonable and the process is much simpler. In fact, you can get a business set up in about two weeks. Later, as your business grows, you may choose to reorganize it. 

Special Licenses and Restrictions 

A few business types are restricted in some way and require special licenses to get started, so be aware of these. If you are self-employed and are a citizen of the United States, then you are required to pay social security taxes in the U.S and contribute to the Medisave program in Singapore if your annual net trade income is over $6,000. If you're eager to start earning money in Singapore, then look for a business that is already established instead of starting from scratch. This can save you time and money, plus you'll have a client base already built in. 

Get a Unique Business Address 

If you need professional office space, but don't have the time or the money to rent a place, hire employees and get your internet and phone set up, then there's an affordable solution for that. Servcorp Serviced Offices provide attractively furnished and fully staffed office suites located in Singapore. You can get your own receptionist, internet, phones and other skilled staff and professional services all for one low price.  Servcorp works to ensure that entrepreneurs have everything they need to succeed. Our company is committed to excellence. Our Serviced Offices are located in major countries with impressive addresses in the Central Business District. Please call for more information.