Starting a company in Singapore as a German: Everything you need to know

Starting a company in Singapore as a German can be a rewarding and profitable venture, as Singapore is one of the most business-friendly and competitive economies in the world. However, there are some important steps and requirements that you need to follow to ensure a smooth and successful incorporation process.

1. Choose the right business structure: The most common and preferred option for foreigners is to register a private limited company, which is a separate legal entity that limits the liability of its shareholders and directors. A private limited company can have 1-50 shareholders, at least one of whom must be a resident director. You can also choose other business structures, such as a limited liability partnership or a sole proprietorship, depending on your needs and preferences.
2. Appoint a local agent: As a foreigner, you cannot self-register your company in Singapore. You need to engage a professional corporate service provider, such as a registered filing agent, to handle the incorporation process and the ongoing compliance requirements on your behalf. A local agent can also help you with other services, such as opening a bank account, applying for a work pass, obtaining licenses and permits, and filing taxes.

3. Apply for a work pass: If you intend to relocate to Singapore and manage your company, you need to obtain a valid work pass, such as an Employment Pass or an EntrePass. An Employment Pass is for foreign professionals who have managerial, executive or specialised skills and qualifications. An EntrePass is for foreign entrepreneurs who have innovative and scalable business ideas. Both passes have different eligibility criteria and application procedures, and you can apply for them either before or after incorporating your company. 4. Leverage the bilateral and regional ties: Singapore and Germany have strong and longstanding economic and diplomatic relations, which can benefit your business in many ways. For instance, both countries are signatories to the European Union-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, which eliminates tariffs and reduces non-tariff barriers for trade in goods and services. Both countries are also members of the ASEAN-EU Business Council, which promotes business cooperation and investment opportunities between the two regions. Additionally, there are various government and industry associations, such as the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the German Centre for Industry and Trade, and the German Embassy, that can provide support and guidance for German companies in Singapore.

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