Singapore is one of the best countries to conduct business in. It has a robust economy, with a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of around $70,000. The World Bank ranks it as one of the top three easiest countries to conduct business in.
This article will explain what entrepreneurs need to know about incorporating a company in Singapore. The steps to take include:
You must choose a unique name for your business and reserve it with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), the governing body overseeing company incorporation in Singapore.
Choose a name that has not been taken by another business or is similar to an established brand. You can check corporate registries to confirm if your desired name is available. Afterward, you can submit your name reservation application to ACRA.
ACRA will reserve your chosen name for 120 days, during which you must complete the incorporation or lose the reservation.
The next step is choosing the type of company you want to register. You have different options, including:
- Private Limited: A corporation with a maximum of 50 shareholders. Shareholders enjoy limited liability protection, meaning their liability to creditors is limited to the extent of capital they invested in the company.
- Public: This type can have as many shareholders as needed. It can raise capital by selling shares to the public, although a preceding registration with the Monetary Authority of Singapore is compulsory. Shareholders enjoy limited liability protection.
- Unlimited: The shareholders have unlimited liability, meaning they are personally responsible for corporate debts and losses. It can have a maximum of 50 shareholders.
Singaporean law requires every registered corporation to have at least one director and a corporate secretary. Directors are responsible for day-to-day management and setting corporate strategy. They ensure the company keeps accurate financial records and dialogue with shareholders. A director must be at least 18 years old, of full legal capacity, and a Singaporean citizen or resident.
The secretary handles administrative affairs and advises directors on complying with their legal duties. They must be a Singaporean citizen or resident.
Every corporation must have at least one shareholder. You’ll choose a total number of shares (share capital) and allocate different amounts to different shareholders. The greater the number of shares a person holds, the greater their influence over corporate matters.
The next step for company incorporation is getting a valid office address. This address is where you’ll receive mail about corporate and legal matters. It must be accessible to the public during working hours.
The good news is that you must not rent a physical office space in Singapore, which is famous for its high rents. You can rent a virtual office address from Osome for a low price.
With the aforementioned requirements ready, it’s time to submit your application to ACRA via the BizFile+ online portal. You’ll need to provide several documents including
- Valid identification for all shareholders, directors, and the company secretary.
- Proof of a registered office address.
- Proof of name reservation.
- Share capital details.
- Articles of association: A legal document outlining the rules governing the business.
- Memorandum of association: A legal document signed by all shareholders declaring their intention to start a business.
ACRA will review your application and decide whether to approve it. If approved, you’ll receive a Certificate of Incorporation confirming your company is now registered with the Singaporean government.