Doing Business in Singapore


As small, open economies focused on exports, Ireland and Singapore have many similarities. With similar populations, equivalent levels of GDP, and comparable economic strategies, Singapore and Ireland have each succeeded in positioning themselves as major gateways to regional markets. Similarly, as an English speaking EU and Eurozone member, Ireland is favoured by many International corporations who choose Ireland to host their European (and EMEA) manufacturing and sales operations. As a result, the business relationship between Ireland and Singapore is large (US$3bn in trade in 2008), and growing, particularly in services. The Irish Chamber of Commerce (Singapore) is committed to supporting the growth of this relationship, reinforcing Singapore’s key position as a springboard to Asia.


A key tool to assist with accessing the Singaporean market is the recently published Access Market Guide, Singapore, produced by Enterprise Ireland. Covering success factors, routes to market, legal issues, growth sector and government information, the guide can be downloaded here: Access Market Guide, Singapore To contact the Enterprise Office Ireland in Singapore, please contact Email: Telephone:


As a foreign company setting up an office in Singapore there is a number of options for you your company is set-up and structured. The most relevant to you will depend on your current set-up, business needs and future direction. Some of these options include: Branch Office

  • A branch office is treated as an extension of a foreign company, and as such is considered a non-resident entity and not eligible for tax exemptions and incentives available to local companies.

Subsidiary Company

  • A locally incorporated private limited company whose majority shareholder is another local or foreign company. Singapore allows 100% foreign ownership in companies.
  • This is often the preferred option for small to mid-size businesses interested in establishing a presence in Singapore.

Representative Office

  • A representative office is a short-term arrangement, and mainly used by foreign companies only interested in exploring the market or managing the company affairs without conducting any business activity of profit yielding nature.

Private Limited (Pte Ltd)

  • This is the most common legal structure in Singapore. It is an independent entity, thus independent from its parent company in relation to accounts and financial responsibility. A Pte Ltd can take advantage of local tax exemptions and incentives.

Sole Proprietorship

  • A sole proprietorship is owned by one person or business; no partners are required. There is no difference between personal and professional ownership, and the company is directly taxed in the owner’s name.

The type of office that best suits your company will depend on the current set-up, business needs, and future directon of the company. A professional firm in Singapore must complete the registration of any of the above offices. Some options of organisations that will help an Irish company set-up and register in Singapore: Healy Consultants +65 67350120 KCK CorpServe +65 68372133 Corporate Secretarial / IP Consultants Pte Ltd +65 62276123



All foreign workers must hold the relevant work permit prior to commencing work in Singapore. To view the different options and what might apply to you, please see the Ministry of Manpower website. If you are an entrepreneur starting a new business in Singapore, you will require an Entrepass. For details of requirements to obtain this pass, please click here. 

Key Information on Singapore:
Economic Outlooks – Singapore The full Economic Survey of Singapore 2016 can be downloaded here
Economic Survey of Singapore,2016 (pdf )
More information on starting a business in Singapore, click here

How the Irish Chamber of Commerce can help By joining the Irish Chamber of Commerce, we can facilitate meetings with members who have been down this route, from setting up their own companies, to setting up offices for companies with a global presence, our introductions can help you through the minefield of information. As a member you will be able to attend our events at a member’s rate, providing you with networking opportunities, industry insight and introductions to senior officials and business people.

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