Singapore is a small, but wealthy city-state with an open and trade-driven economy. It’s a leading financial, shipping and trade hub for the Asia Pacific region, and the government has a pro-business economic and trade policy.
- Population: 5.8 million
- Languages: English (official), Malay (official), Tamil, Mandarin (official), Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew, other Chinese dialects
- Industries: Electronics, chemicals, financial services, oil drilling equipment, petroleum refining, biomedical products, scientific instruments, telecommunication equipment, processed food and beverages, ship repair, offshore platform construction, entrepot trade
- GDP (US$ billion): 372.1
- Natural Resources: Fish, deep water ports
- Major Exports: Machinery and equipment (electronics and telecommunications), pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, refined petroleum products
- Major Imports: Machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, consumer goods, mineral fuels, chemicals
Ease of doing business
It is ranked by the World Bank as the second easiest place in the world to start, run and do business (World Bank, 2019). You can set up a new business in a matter of hours. Singapore has a stable government, a strong rule of law and an effective regulatory system.
A common business environment with the UK
The UK and Singapore share a common language and have strong historical ties. Both economies have similar business and legal practices and share similar technical standards.
Gateway to Asia Pacific
Singapore’s location makes it a gateway to Southeast Asia and Asia Pacific. It is the UK’s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. In the year to March 2019, the UK exported £8.8bn of goods and services to Singapore (ONS, 2019), making it a good place from which to seek business opportunities in the wider region.
- Pioneer incentive: 0% concessionary tax rate for up to 15 years
- DEI*: 5% or 10% tax rate for up to 40 years
- Investment allowance: 30% or 50% additional allowance on qualifying capital investment.
- International headquarters: Concessionary tax rate of 5%, 10% or 15%, for up to 40 years.
- Global trader program: Concessionary tax rate of 5%, or 10%, for 5 years (renewable).
Opportunities for Exporters
- Singapore’s government is building Singapore into a Smart Financial Centre. The Monetary Authority of Singapore has signed FinTech cooperation agreements with many global regulators and is a member of the Global Financial Innovation Network. They also provide incentives for investing in FinTech and financial innovation.
- The Singapore government encourages the country’s digitalisation and adoption of new technologies. The government has rolled out major programmes like Smart Nation Singapore that encourages the digitalisation of government processes and services.
- Singapore is considered to be a world-class technology hub in Asia, making it a good base for companies as a springboard into the region. The country continues to attract established international technology companies, creating a rich environment for opportunities & collaboration.
- Singapore is adopting next-generation technologies like AI, machine learning, IoT, Smart Cities, and 5G. This is creating opportunities for UK companies looking for a market for high tech products.
How the British Chamber of Commerce Singapore can help
The British Chamber is an independent membership organisation committed to strengthening the ties between the UK and Singapore. We have done so since 1954. Our goal is to deliver member value through the services we offer, which all work towards supporting our members in achieving your business objectives and aligning with our mission of Building Networks, Connecting Businesses and Creating Opportunities.
For companies considering Singapore, or indeed the wider ASEAN region, as a potential market, the Chamber offers a variety of services such as market/sector research, supporting with customer acquisition, partner identification, and webinars. As you plan your visit, the Chamber can help to reduce costs through preferential partner rates from our members who are keen to support British businesses, introduce you to connections in banking, funding, corporate services, insurance and other professional service sectors, and help to secure those important meetings. After your visit, the team will follow up to find out how you are progressing and provide additional support if needed. If you are unable to travel to the region to scope the market, we can assist with organising Virtual Trade Missions.
For those who have made the leap into the market, we offer extensive membership benefits including a full calendar of activities throughout the year with opportunities to connect and collaborate with our members. The Chamber team is available to help as a point of resource, connection with Governments of the United Kingdom and Singapore, introductions, networking, learning and profile-raising.
Whether you are just starting your research into ASEAN, have established your business and looking for growth, are keen to build connections to Government, or looking for brand exposure and employee development, the Chamber is here to support your needs at every stage of your journey.
Ultimately, our entire network benefits from our leading position as a strong and credible voice for our members and British businesses in Singapore and beyond.
For more information and to download free sector overviews or make an enquiry with our Trade Services team, click here. For more information on trade between the UK and Singapore visit our Future of Trade Information Hub.
Trade Services Support Testimonials
“For our brand FUEL10K, the British Chamber of Commerce in Singapore has been exceptionally supportive. Their organisation during our 3-day market visit was informed, energetic and second to none. Follow on support and guidance once we returned to the UK was invaluable. From that single trip, we now have significant trading relationships and a great base to grow our brand throughout Singapore and beyond. Thank you to the team. I would highly recommend the British Chamber of Commerce to any UK business who are serious about gaining a firm foothold in the region.”
“Tuk Tuk Chai was selected by the Department for International Trade (DIT) London to attend a trade mission in Singapore in July 2019. The level of support we received from the Chamber was absolutely great and invaluable, enabling us to meet key contacts of interest during our carefully organised and well-planned retail tour which resulted in us signing up a deal whilst still on the Mission! The whole Mission was very professionally managed, engaging and insightful. They also arranged a networking reception which was a great occasion to showcase our products to potential buyers and engage with them.”
British Chamber of Commerce Singapore
Address: 137 Telok Ayer Street, #06-03, Singapore 068602. Nearest MRT station Telok Ayer
Telephone: +65 6222 3552
YouTube: Helping UK Small Business Expand into Singapore
Orient Magazine: www.orient-magazine.britcham.org.sg