The process of registering business in Singapore is relatively easy. Singapore encourages all forms of enterprise and investment. All Companies wanting to start business in Singapore must register with Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). It includes any individual, firm or corporation that carries out business for a foreign company.
Any International business wanting to set up a branch in Singapore must appoint local agents to act on their behalf. It is mandatory that these agents must be Singapore residents i.e. either citizens or permanent residents or foreigners with employment or dependant passes.
Special licenses are needed for some businesses such as banking, insurance and stock broking. Special licenses are also needed for the manufacture of goods such as cigars and firecrackers.
Types of Business Structure
The different types of Business Structure that can register in Singapore are:
It is the simplest legal structure for owning a business. A Sole Proprietorship is a one-person business that is not registered with the state as a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC). Sole proprietorships are easy to manage. But, a sole proprietor can be held personally liable for any business-related obligation. It means that if the business doesn't pay a supplier, defaults on a debt, or loses a lawsuit, the creditor can legally come take possession of the fixed asset.
"Partnership" is the relation between persons who have agreed to share the profits of a business carried on by all or any of them acting for all.Persons who have entered into partnership with one another are called individually "partners" and collectively a "firm", and the name under which their business is carried on is called the "firm name".
Limited Liability Partnership
“Limited Liability Partnership” is a business organization that allows limited partners to enjoy limited personal liability while general partners have unlimited personal liability. It is a corporate business vehicle that enables professional expertise and entrepreneurial initiative to combine and operate in flexible, innovative and efficient manner, providing benefits of limited liability while allowing its members the flexibility for organizing their internal structure as a partnership.
“Limited Partners” is a business organization with one or more general partners, who manage the business and assume legal debts and obligations, and one or more limited partners, who are liable only to the extent of their investments. Limited partners also enjoy rights to the partnership's cash flow, but are not liable for company obligations.
“Company” is a legal entity, allowed by legislation, which permits a group of people, as shareholders, to apply to the government for an independent organization to be created, which can then focus on pursuing set objectives, and empowered with legal rights which are usually only reserved for individuals, such as to sue and be sued, own property, hire employees or loan and borrow money. It is also known as a Corporation.
The primary advantage of a company structure is that it provides the shareholders with a right to participate in the profits (by dividends) without any personal liability (the company absorbs the entire liability of the business).