Header Top Bar

Types of Business Entities in Singapore

Types of Business Entities in Singapore

Incorporating a Business in Singapore

All companies in Singapore must be registered with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). While private limited companies are the most common for incorporated businesses, your company structure is dependent on your business industry and number of shareholders.

While any person above the age of 18 can be a director of a company in Singapore, foreigners must:

  • Appoint a local director if they themselves are planning to live outside Singapore
  • Use a registered filing agent such as InCorp to submit an online application on their behalf

What are the Business Entities in Singapore

Private Limited Company

Private limited companies are the most common registered companies in Singapore. The maximum number of shareholders in 50, but companies who exceed this can apply to be a public company limited by shares or a public company limited by guarantee. The latter is reserved for companies who engage in non-profit activities that benefit the national interest.

A private limited company is a popular choice as it offers exclusive tax exemptions and incentives, with the first S$100,00 of taxable income completely exempt from any tax fees.

Requirements for a Private Limited Company

  • At least one corporate shareholder
  • At least one director who resides in Singapore
  • A resident company secretary
  • Minimum paid-up capital of S$1
  • A local registered address

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship needs only one owner to take responsibility for all assets and liabilities in the business. Singapore citizens or permanent residents aged 18 or over can register immediately, while foreign individuals or companies need to appoint a local resident manager first.

At InCorp, we can have set up a sole proprietorship in less than 20 minutes.

Requirements for Sole Proprietorship

  • At least one manager who resides in Singapore
  • A local registered address

Limited Liability Partnership

Blending a partnership with the benefits of a private limited company, a limited liability partnership (LLP) is a flexible option for business owners seeking a partnership while maintaining a separate legal identity. Singapore citizens, residents and Employment Pass holders are all eligible to register for an LLP.

Requirements for Limited Liability Partnership

  • Minimum two partners
  • At least one manager who resides in Singapore
  • A local registered address

Subsidiary Company

A subsidiary company is a private limited company with its own legal identity, which separates it from the parent company. The majority shareholder can be based overseas or locally.

There is no restriction on the repatriation of profits and capital to overseas countries, and the government permits 100% foreign shareholders to form subsidiary companies, making it an appealing option for many foreign businesses looking to incorporate in Singapore.

Requirements for Subsidiary Company

  • At least one corporate shareholder
  • At least one director who resides in Singapore
  • A resident company secretary
  • Minimum paid-up capital of S$1
  • A local registered address

Branch Office

By registering a branch office, foreign companies are able to operate in Singapore as non-residents. It is considered an extension of the parent company and is part of the same legal entity. Branch offices are not eligible for any tax incentives or exemptions.

Requirements for Branch Office

  • 100% ownership by the parent company
  • At least one ‘agent’ residing and working in Singapore
  • A local registered address

Representative Office

A short-term set-up with a maximum limit of up to three years, a representative office in Singapore gives foreign companies the chance to evaluate various opportunities in the Singapore market. Businesses are permitted to promote their brand but cannot engage in any activities or sign any contracts with the intention of generating revenue.

Requirements for Representative Office

  • Sales turnover of the foreign entity must be above US$250,000
  • No. of years of establishment of the foreign entity must be at least 3 years
  • Proposed no. of staff for Rep Office should be not more than 5 people

Let the experts in businesses and start-ups guide you

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

More on Singapore Guides