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Guide on How to Choose a Company Name in Singapore

Guide on How to Choose a Company Name in Singapore
In starting a business, having a business name is important. In this page, you will learn about the general guidelines for choosing a company name in Singapore.

The name approval is done by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) who will refuse a proposed name if it is similar, identical or phonetically the same as a company already registered.

Use of certain words such as “bank”, “insurance”, and “education” could be subjected to control and regulation by other Government authorities and will require permission before you can proceed to incorporate.

If you would like to speak to us about your proposed company name, please call us at Tel: 65- 63201888, our incorporation specialists will be glad to assist you.

According to Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), the following are matters you must consider when selecting a name for your company or business.

Selection of Singapore Company and Business Name:

The Registrar will reject a proposed company or business name for purposes of incorporation, registration or change of name if that name is:

a) identical to another;
b) undesirable; or
c) of a kind the Minister has directed the Registrar not to accept.

You are thus required to exercise caution and avoid selecting names that resemble the name of another, because the Registrar has the discretion to direct you to change your company name if another company or business lodges a valid complaint within 12 months that your name resembles their company’s or business’s and/or is likely to be mistaken for it.

Additionally, the Companies (Identical Names) Rules and Business Registration (Identical Names) Rules were enacted pursuant to the new s. 27(2D) of the Companies Act and s. 11(10) Business Registration Act.

These Rules set out what the Registrar will consider as identical:

  1. In determining whether one name is identical to another, the following shall be disregarded:
    1. “The”, where it is the first word of the name;
    2. “Private”, “Pte”, “Sendirian”, “Sdn”, “Limited”, “Ltd”, “Berhad” and “Bhd”;
    3. the following words and expressions where they appear at the end of the name:
      “company”, “and company”, “corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Asia”,“Asia Pacific”, “International”, “Singapore”, “South Asia”, “South East Asia” and “Worldwide”;
    4. any word or expression which, in the opinion of the Registrar, is intended to represent any word or expression in sub-paragraph (iii); (v) the plural version of the name; (vi) the type and case of letters, spacing between letters and punctuation marks; and
  2. the symbol “&” is deemed to have the same meaning as the word “and”.

The Rules also allow for the Registrar to refer the parties in dispute over the use of a name to mediation before giving any direction for a name change.

Using our Company Name Check

To improve your chances of having the name application approved by ACRA and to reduce the risk of future complaints being made against your company under the law, do conduct a preliminary search for identical or similar names using our Company Name Check before submitting the name application for official approval. Along with doing a Google search (especially since it will give a better international indication of such availability), our Name Check will give a good indication as to the local availability from as current as 1 week— which will assist you in conducting a more thorough and comprehensive name search according to the ACRA Guidelines as follows.

Guidelines On Searching for Identical or Similar Names

1. For names with initials, key in the various combinations of the proposed name.

Eg. If the proposed name is “AB Trading”, the possible ways of checking are: AB, A B, A.B, A. B, A-B, A – B, A&B, A & B, ANB, A N B, A ‘n’ B, The AB, The A.B, The A&B, etc.

2. Check for names with similar pronunciations.

The possible ways of checking for similarly pronounced names are:

Eg. Wah, Wa, Hwa, Hua, etc. Sing, Seng, Sin, Sen, Xing, Xin, Shing, etc. How, HaoYen, Yan, Yian, Yien, Yuan, etc. Chong, Chung, Cheong, CheungCity, CitiClassic, Classique, Klassic, Clasic, etc. Express, Xpress, X’press, X-press, etc. Yew Fa, Yew Fatt, You Fa, Yu Fa, Yewfa, U Fa, etc.

Eg. If the proposed name is “The Fashion”, the possible ways of checking are: Fashion, De Fashion, De-Fashion, De’ Fashion, De. Fashion, D. Fashion, D-Fashion, D Fashion, D’ Fashion, etc.

3. Check for similar names, but in different sequence(s).

Eg. If the proposed name is “Gift Express”, please also check for “Express Gift”. If the proposed name is “Bags Big and Small”, please also check for “Bags Small and Big” / “Big and Small Bags”, “Small and Big Bags” etc.

4. Check for similar names dealing with a similar trade or in a similar industry. Also check for words with similar meanings as the proposed name.

Eg. “Rose Transport” is similar to “Rose Transportation” / “Rose Forwarding”, etc. “Bob Construction” is similar to “Bob Renovation” / “Bob Contractor” / “Bob Builder”, etc. “Red Fashion” is similar to “Red Boutique” / “Red Apparel”, etc. “AB Trading” is similar to “AB Marketing” / “AB Enterprise” / “AB Import & Export”, etc.

5. Note that each of the following common descriptive word is considered similar to those mentioned in the same line:

i) Trading; trade; marketing; enterprise
ii) Investment ; holding
iii) Construction; building; builder; build
iv) Contractor; renovation contractor
v) Systems; solutions; information technology; I.T.; technologies
vi) Travels; travelling; traveler
vii) Movers; transports; logistics
viii) Freight forwarders; freight forwarding, express.

6. Graphical words and phrases, including names of countries and places are not considered distinguishing or descriptive.

Eg. “Hello Trading” is similar to “Hello Trading International” / “Hello Trading Singapore”, etc. Conversely, “Comfy Sofas South-East Asia ” is similar to “Comfy Sofas”, etc.

7. Punctuation marks are not considered to be sufficiently distinguishing or descriptive.

Eg. “Happy! Hamsters” is similar to “Happy Hamsters” “Faraway Tour” is similar to “Far-Away Tour”

8. Check for similar company and business names, whether the proposed name is for a company or a business.

Eg. “Square Chocolates Pte Ltd” is similar to “Square Chocolates Trading”, etc. “Loud Music Enterprise” is similar to “Loud Music Inc.” / “Loud Music Pte Ltd”/ “Loud Music Sdn. Bhd.”, etc.

Issued on 7th January 2003.


– Key in a part of the name instead of the entire proposed name, for a more thorough search.
Eg. If the proposed name is “Spock Pods”, the possible ways of checking are: Spock, SP Ock, The Spock Pods, Sp-ock Pods, Spock-pods, Spockpods, etc.

– You can use the “%” symbol to check for words, letters or symbols in between two letters or words. For instance, a simple search for “AB Trading” will not reveal the existence of names like “A-B Trading”, “A.B Trading” “A No.1 B trading” or any of such permutations. If you do not wish to key in the various combinations as shown above, you may use the “%” symbol. You can key in your search thus: “A%B%Trading”.

Have a Business Company name in Mind?

Use our Singapore Company Name Check smart tool to find out if your preferred company name is available.

About the Author

InCorp Content Team

InCorp's content team includes talented copywriters from our regional group and globally. We contribute informative, thought leadership, and market-trending articles to guide aspiring business entrepreneurs to a higher level across the Asia-Pacific region.

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