The Singapore jewelry sector: a golden opportunity?

Singapore offshore companiesAn interesting article on the potential for growth in Singapore’s jewelry sector was published on Biz Daily a few days ago. Singapore is home to 1,305 of Asia’s 43,000 ultra high net worth individuals. These groups, worth an estimated USD155 billion and USD6.3 trillion respectively, represent a huge market for gems and jewelry as more and more are purchased not only as status symbols, but also as investments which offer stable and consistent returns. The regional jewelry industry, currently worth over USD50 billion, is set to grow 10-15% over the next few years as affluence rises in Asia.

To take advantage of these recent developments, the Singapore government is considering developing the city-state into a regional jewelry hub. It has created a number of initiatives and incentives to allow the local jewelry industry to build on their design capabilities. For example, homegrown brands have been able to take advantage of the Productivity & Innovation Credit scheme to fund design research and the development of new collections. The import of investment-grade precious metals has also been exempted for the 7% Goods and Services Tax since October last year, and Singapore’s tax authorities are considering expanding these exemptions to include raw materials used in the refining process.

If your company has been looking to break into the Asian jewelry market, it seems that now is a good time to do so, and Singapore incorporation could be the best jurisdiction.

Indian startups moving to Singapore

The Times of India reports that more Indian startups are registering their company in Singapore, attracted by the availability of incentives, a simpler tax and regulatory atmosphere, and its unique position as the gateway to Southeast Asia.

Corporate taxes are at just 8.5% for companies with income up to SGD3 million, and a flat 17% above that. Startups can also avail of tax holidays for up to 3 years after incorporation, and there are no capital gains or dividend taxes.

Samir Khadepaun of Mobikon says that the trigger for moving his company’s headquarters to Singapore was the ease of doing business, the proximity to the venture capital ecosystem, and the a vast pool of expat talent.

Anoj Viswanathan, founder of the social lending portal Milaap, said that he was able to register his company within a day. This is in stark contrast to India, where it sometimes takes up to four weeks to start operating a company.

It would be interesting to see if any of the startups from India are targeting the jewelry sector.