Singapore Market Entry
- Market entry
- Forms and conditions of operation on the market
- Marketing and Communications
- Issues of intellectual property protection
- Public procurement market
- Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
- Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
- Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
- Fairs and events
Singapore is an open economy and entering the local market is very simple from a regulatory and administrative point of view. Starting a company is a matter of hours rather than days. After all, in this regard, the country is rightly ranked 1st in the relevant international ranking. The legal system (however Anglo-Saxon “common law”) is very transparent, free from corruption and unpredictability, and the same is true of customs processes. High living standards, on the other hand, mean higher costs for establishing yourself in the country. The issue of distribution processes depends on the nature of imported goods or business activities. In general, distribution and sales channels are quite standard as anywhere in open market economies. The key factors affecting sales undoubtedly include price and quality, but also respect for local customs. Check smber for agriculture and fishing facts of Singapore.
Forms and conditions of operation on the market
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) is responsible for registering companies in Singapore. Singapore law generally allows for the establishment of two basic business units:
- A) Business: the establishment is regulated by the “Business Registration Act” (similar to the Trade Act), which by the term “business” means any type of commercial activity, financial business, crafts, free profession and other activities operated for the purpose of making a profit. This business is possible in the following two forms:
- Sole proprietorship: this is a business owned by one person or one company.
- Partnership: this is an association of 2 to a maximum of 20 partners, generally with the same rights. It is recommended to conclude a “partnership agreement” that clearly defines the rights and obligations of the individual associated entities. A “Business” can be established both by a natural or legal person with a permanent residence or address in Singapore, as well as by foreign entities. The statutory body (“manager”) of such a business unit must be either a citizen of Singapore or a person permanently resident in Singapore or holding an Employment Pass.Details on the ACRA page.
- B) Company: the establishment is regulated by the “Companies Act”, usually the suffix “Pte Ltd” or “Ltd” is part of the name. The Singapore legal system distinguishes the following types of these companies:
- Private company: the number of holders of equity shares in the company does not exceed 50 (similar to our s.r.o.).
- Public company: the number of equity holders exceeds 50, the company can raise capital by subscribing its shares and selling its debt securities.
Marketing and communication
The same rules apply here as in any developed country. There is a lot of competition in Singapore for all types of goods and services and it is not easy to get ahead. Therefore, appropriate promotion, depending on the type of imported product, is a necessary condition for business success. The cost of the location must also be included in the promotion costs according to the rule “the more prestigious the product, the more premium the location where it is sold”.
Information technology and media are at a high level in Singapore, especially e-commerce has become a practical part of the life of the Singaporean population. Therefore, IT and media in Singapore is an important vehicle for promotion, marketing and advertising. Without a functioning and optimized website and ideally an “app” it is difficult to establish yourself in Singapore, which is why there are several successful e-commerce platforms that make money from this fact. The most obvious of these is probably Lazada.
Issues of intellectual property protection
Singapore, as a country that is oriented towards high-value-added production and is promoting a knowledge-based economy (extraordinary support for science and applied research), has an eminent interest in the proper protection of intellectual property. Already in 2002, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) was established, which quickly reached the level usual in developed countries. It deals with the administration of patents, trademarks and registered designs and develops information and educational activities. It also manages the Singapore network of Services Provider (SNIPS). Trademark registration is very fast, it can also be arranged through the “app”, the rules are very transparent and well enforced.
More detailed information and contacts can be found on the well-designed IPOS website.
Public procurement market
Singapore is generally a country with very clear and transparent rules. Information about announced public contracts can be obtained mainly via the Internet. Foreign companies can also apply for tenders, the condition is that such a company is registered in the register of contractors that can participate in tenders. However, for success in the tender, it is highly recommended to connect with a local partner, in order to learn about local customs, cover communication with the customer, follow-up service and possibly also the legal specifics of the entire process. Due to the considerable distance from the Czech Republic, the local partner also pays off by having the opportunity to really focus on the tenders, present products and services at a time when there is interest in them, and communicate with potential interested parties.
Tenders are processed by professionals from the state and private sectors. They are multi-round and very strict regarding the specifics and rules of participation. The GeBIZ website contains basic information about tenders and the registration of suppliers for government contracts. Czech companies can use it to obtain information about the possibilities of establishing cooperation or to present their offer and demand.
Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
The payment conditions are completely standard as in any other developed economy, the payment ethics of Singapore companies do not differ from the payment ethics of other Asian or Western countries. In the past, the representative office noted several cases in which Singaporean companies failed to fulfill their obligations to Czech partners. For this reason, it is recommended to use standard financial instruments (documentary letter of credit, etc.).
Due to the distance between the Czech Republic and Singapore and possible technical problems (language problems, subpoena possibilities, etc.) that could arise in the resolution of potential commercial disputes, we recommend that each business transaction be treated with an appropriate contractual document, in which it will be specified how possible disputes resolved. In Singapore, arbitration commissions operate at professional associations or chambers of commerce, which resolve business disputes between companies. This eventuality must be agreed upon in writing when concluding business contracts.
If there is a lawsuit, they are resolved very quickly, including subsequent execution. The usual duration from the filing of the claim to the issuance of the judgment and the subsequent execution is several weeks. The public is informed about decisions such as the bankruptcy of a company and the deletion of a company from the register in the press and online.
Visas, fees, specific conditions for traveling to the territory
Citizens of the Czech Republic can travel to Singapore without a visa and stay in the country for 90 days. The residence permit issued by the immigration authorities is in this case referred to as the so-called “Social Visit Pass”. This permit does not entitle you to obtain employment in Singapore or to carry out any other gainful activity within the territory of the country. Singaporean citizens can also stay in the Czech Republic for 90 days without the need for a visa. Before arriving in Singapore, you need to fill out an online immigration card (the so-called Arrival Card ), there is no other registration requirement.
For questions about visas and their possible extension beyond 90 days, it is necessary to contact the competent authority:
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA)
10 Kallang Road
+65 6391 6100
It is absolutely necessary to respect all prohibitions and restrictions while staying in Singapore. The fines are severe, swift and non-negotiable. Customs regulations do not allow the importation of drugs and other narcotic substances, chewing gum, erotic goods of any nature, meat products, lighters imitating weapons, cigarettes (except for a minimum amount for personal use), chewing tobacco and imitation products of the tobacco industry, alcohol (only 1 liter of distillate), weapons (including, for example, shooting knives), firecrackers, copies of publications, videotapes, compact discs and other products subject to intellectual property protection laws. Detailed information on the import of goods for tourists can be found on the ICA website. In addition to corporal punishment, violations of Singapore’s laws are punishable by many years in prison, and the death penalty is imposed and carried out for smuggling any amount of drugs.
Singapore is safe for foreigners anywhere day or night, the risk of mugging or theft is lower than in the Czech Republic. To move around the city, it is best to use taxis (the most famous is Comfort Del Gro), of which there are a large number in Singapore, or the Grab app, etc. Renting a car is very expensive and not worth it due to the compact size of the country. Public transport (metro, MRT or buses) is also reliable and developed, which can also be used for transport from Changi International Airport. Accommodation is expensive, but at a very high level, as well as any related services. Paying without cash, whether by card or various applications and electronic wallets, is standard, cash is rather limited to food markets (so-called hawker centers) or small shops.
Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
In general, it can be stated that Singapore is fiercely protective of its labor market, and this protection has recently been on the rise. On the other hand, he is forced to use foreign labor, which is especially true for low-skilled and physically demanding professions. The employment of foreigners depends on the type of work they are to perform. In general, it can be said that highly qualified foreign experts have no problem obtaining a work permit (the so-called Employment pass), and the government, on the contrary, supports the influx of foreign talent. It is more difficult to get a work permit (the so-called S-Pass) for less qualified jobs. It should also be noted that the minimum monthly wage for new Employment Pass and S-Pass applicants will increase by SGD 500 from September 2022, i.e. from the current SGD 4,500 to SGD 5,000 for EPs (for the financial services sector, the bar will be raised to SGD 5,500) and for SPs it will increase from SGD 2,500 to SGD 3,000, respectively. SGD 3,500 in case of financial sector. It is already announced that the limits for SP will increase again in September 2023 and in September 2025. The employment of local workers by foreign companies is governed by a “point system”, which is mainly based on the ratio of foreign workers to local workers. From January 2024, this share will decrease from 87.5% to 83.3%.
In order to obtain a work permit, usually the employer must provide guarantees (details can be found on the website of the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, general conditions for obtaining employment in Singapore can be found on the website of the Ministry of Manpower ). Health care is at a very high level and it is possible to use it without any restrictions, the co-payment of the insured person is graded according to his income category. The condition is usually direct payment for the performed actions, even if the patient has health insurance. After the validity of the health insurance has been verified, the deposit will then be returned to the patient’s account.
Fairs and events
Singapore, as a business hub, has also established itself as an important trade fair center and dozens of events from various fields take place here every year – see the overview of trade fairs for the year 2022/23.