How to Start Business in Singapore from Australia

Singapore stands as an attractive destination for Australian companies aiming to expand their presence into Asia and beyond. Renowned for its strategic location in Southeast Asia, Singapore offers a robust business environment, bolstered by its low tax rates, free trade agreements, strong intellectual property protection, and ease of doing business.

Below we have prepared some helpful information to consider if you are thinking of establishing business operations in Singapore.

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Key Advantages of Singapore

Favorable Tax Environment

Singapore provides a favorable tax environment with significantly lower corporate tax rates compared to Australia's rate of 30%. In Singapore, the maximum corporate tax rate stands at 17% with the effective rate often being considerably low, which attracts businesses seeking reduced tax burdens.

Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTA)

The Australia-Singapore Double Tax Avoidance Agreement ensures tax relief for residents of Australia in Singapore, eliminating double taxation and enabling businesses to maximize profits effectively.

No Capital Gains Tax

Unlike Australia, Singapore imposes no tax on capital gains, offering businesses more financial flexibility and allowing them to reinvest profits without facing additional tax burdens.

Strategic Location in Southeast Asia

Positioned strategically in Southeast Asia, Singapore serves as a pivotal hub for Australian companies aiming to tap into the region's burgeoning markets.

Free Trade Agreements and IP Protection

Singapore's participation in free trade agreements and its robust IP protection mechanisms provide a secure environment for Australian businesses, ensuring safeguarding of intellectual property rights.

Ease of Doing Business

Singapore's business-friendly environment, coupled with its high rankings for ease of doing business, makes it an attractive choice for Australian companies seeking expansion opportunities. Singapore's business laws and its up-to-date corporate regulations are crafted to welcome foreign investments, allowing 100% foreign ownership in a company without the restrictions faced in some other countries.

Access to Investment Opportunities

The country's political and economic stability leads to Singapore attracting a significant amount of venture capital, providing a larger pool of funds compared to Australia, making it favorable for external investment.

Government Incentive Programs

Singapore provides various incentive programs, including financial grants up to S$50 million, tax deductions, and loans for Singapore-incorporated companies. Additionally, non-financial incentives encourage business development through training and development programs.

Ease of Incorporation

Registering a company in Singapore is relatively straightforward with low barriers to entry, allowing for quick company formation within one day. The country allows 100% foreign ownership and offers various structures for businesses, such as subsidiaries, holding companies with minimal requirements.

Labor Force and Infrastructure

Both Singapore and Australia possess multicultural, educated workforces, yet Singapore boasts a slightly higher percentage of residents with degrees or diplomas. Singapore leads in infrastructure and critical areas such as the efficiency of the legal framework and ICT adoption, making it an attractive destination for businesses.
For further insights, we invite you to explore our in-depth comparison outlining the nuances of launching a startup in both Australia and Singapore.

Singapore-Australia Business Relations

Singapore and Australia maintain a robust and enduring relationship, grounded in historical ties and fortified by contemporary collaborations. Australia notably became the second nation to extend recognition to Singapore upon its independence in 1965. This relationship was further solidified in 2015 with the establishment of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), encompassing various facets of engagement spanning trade, defense, science, innovation, education, digital economy, and green economy initiatives.

High-Level Engagements

Annual meetings between the Prime Ministers of Australia and Singapore underscore the strength and depth of bilateral ties. Recent interactions between Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Singapore’s Acting Prime Minister Lawrence Wong in June 2023 reiterated the robust cooperation under the CSP, notably emphasizing the progress achieved in key initiatives within the Green Economy Agreement (GEA).

Cabinet-Level Collaborations

Regular interactions among Singaporean and Australian cabinet ministers further cement bilateral relations. Ministerial visits, such as Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles’ attendance at the Shangri-La Dialogue in June 2023 and Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong’s discussions in Singapore in July 2022, highlight the ongoing collaboration between the countries.

Joint Ministerial Committee

The Singapore-Australia Joint Ministerial Committee (SAJMC) convenes biennially, bringing together Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Defence Ministers from both nations. The thirteenth SAJMC held in May 2023 centered discussions around the comprehensive cooperation within the CSP.

Trade and Investment

Singapore stands as Australia’s largest two-way trading partner and significant investor in Southeast Asia, contributing significantly to Australia's trade and economy. The countries maintain substantial investments in each other's economies, fostering a mutually beneficial economic relationship.

The Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), signed in 2003 and revised multiple times, underscores their commitment to bolstering trade ties. This agreement, along with their participation in various regional economic agreements such as AANZFTA, RCEP, and CPTPP, facilitates seamless trade collaboration.

Australia-Singapore Food Pact

The enduring food partnership between Singapore and Australia, bolstered during the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizes a shared commitment to food safety and innovation for bolstering resilience in their food systems. The 2022 Annual Leaders' Meeting saw countries’ Prime Ministers initiating efforts toward a bilateral Food Pact aimed at fortifying supply chain resilience and amplifying trade and investments in Australian and Singaporean food supplies. Supported by agreed-upon Guiding Principles to conclude negotiations by 2024, the Food Pact strives to augment trade in high-quality food products, establish Singapore as a transshipment hub, drive Singaporean investments into Australia, and foster collaboration on global food security.

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What to Know about Launching a Business in Singapore from Australia

Foreigners are free to set up a new Singapore company or a subsidiary of their existing foreign company in Singapore with 100% share ownership.

Incorporation Essentials

While our guide setting up a Singaporean company provides comprehensive information on all aspects of incorporating a company in Singapore, here are the key requirements:

  1. A minimum share capital of one dollar
  2. Appointment of a company secretary to ensure ongoing compliance
  3. Appointment of a at least one local residency director
  4. Appointment of a local registered address for the company

As a leading provider of incorporation and compliance services in Singapore, we provide all necessary services to make your company registration and ongoing compliance a no-headache task for you.

Cost and Considerations

As the majority of our clients are foreign entrepreneurs, we have designed a special Foreigner Package that covers all necessary requirements including company registration, appointment of a company secretary, registered address, applying for employment pass or provision of a resident nominee director, and bank account opening assistance. The package costs SGD 3,100 including government fees.

Singapore Visit

Physical presence in Singapore isn’t mandatory for incorporation or for opening a corporate bank account. With our industry-leading online platform, all our communication, exchange and signing of documents can be handled electronically. Regardless, we will always be happy to see you in our office anytime you are in Singapore or  talk to you over a zoom call if you have any questions.

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Taxes to be Paid

Navigating the tax landscape for your Singapore-based company from Australia is pivotal for financial planning. Here's an overview of the key tax obligations:

Organizations Supporting Australian Business

Singapore hosts several organizations and initiatives that actively support Australian companies in Singapore seeking to establish themselves in the region. Here are some key entities and networks facilitating Australian business interests:

Australian Chamber of Commerce Singapore (AustCham)

AustCham plays a pivotal role in connecting Australian businesses with opportunities in Singapore. It offers a platform for networking, knowledge-sharing, and advocacy, providing valuable resources and events to assist Australian companies in navigating the Singaporean business landscape.

Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)

Austrade operates in Singapore and offers comprehensive support to Australian companies aiming to expand into Singapore and broader Southeast Asia. It provides market intelligence, advice, and connections to assist businesses in their expansion endeavors.

Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB)

The EDB is a Singaporean government agency that actively engages with foreign businesses, including Australian enterprises, to encourage investment and business development in Singapore. It offers various programs and incentives to attract and support companies seeking to establish a presence in Singapore.

The Australian New Zealand Association (ANZA)

ANZA operates as a social organization for Australians and New Zealanders residing in Singapore. It offers a supportive network of friends and contacts and organizes diverse sporting and social activities for various age groups and interests. ANZA also ensures the celebration of major Australian events such as the Melbourne Cup.

Next Steps for Starting Business in Singapore from Australia

We hope the guide was a useful read for you. Whether you're contemplating starting an operating company, subsidiary, or a holding company in Singapore from Australia, our dedicated team is well-equipped to guide you through every stage of the process. Feel free to contact us and let us help you.
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You guys made it so simple for me to start my first venture in Singapore. From understanding my requirement to ensuring that all needs are met, your team performed each step promptly and transparently. Thank you for answering all my questions and offering full support throughout the process. And with all services under one umbrella, I could fully rely on you. Thank you,!


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