How to do business in Singapore

Singapore business services

  1. Key aspects of business culture in Singapore include:
    • Avoid negative remarks or direct criticisms during meetings. Losing face in front of others is an important part of Asian business culture;
    • A business card should be given to everyone at a meeting with both hands. the front of the card should face the recipient. When receiving a card, take time to look at it;
    • Singapore business communication is very polite and formal, with questions often worded in a yes/no format, such as “would you like to or not?”;
    • Asian customers invariably focus on price, no matter how hard you sell the intangible benefits. Price drives most business negotiations;
    • The inviting party of a business social event usually picks up the bill.
  2. Singapore is multicultural country with a mix of ethnic Chinese, Malays, Indians and global expatriates:
    • Each has its own business etiquette. Malays may avoid handshakes between people of the opposite sex, while traditional Chinese businessmen may bow instead of shaking hands;
    • English is the working language. Other official languages are Chinese, Malay and Tamil;
    • Avoid conducting business on Fridays or during the Holy month of Ramadan if you have Malay Muslim business partners;
    • Avoid giving Chinese business associates a gift in a set of four. The number 4 rhymes with the word for death. Clocks are also considered inappropriate.
  3. It pays to be well-connected and well-informed in Singapore:
    • Government agencies play an important role in business. Most departments are efficient and helpful, but will always have the final say;
    • Make friends with local Clients and suppliers. Singapore business culture is cautious and it takes time to build trust with partners;
    • To increase business certainty, we encourage our Clients to consistently use and sign legal contracts of service.

Interesting facts about Singapore

  1. Singapore is Asia’s premier business gateway, Strategically located a three hour flight to major regional markets such as Hong Kong, China, Vietnam and Taiwan. Malaysia and Indonesia are less than an hour away.
  2. Singapore is considered the premier financial hub of Asia. The country’s financial centre houses hundreds of financial companies, insurance companies, banks and asset management companies, earning low tax profits within a liberal economy free of exchange controls;
  3. Singapore is Asia’s most liveable city;
  4. The country is the world’s third most densely populated country;
  5. The country’s name comes from the term ‘Singapura’, meaning Lion City;
  6. Singapore national anthem ‘Majulah Singapura’ is sung in Malay;
  7. The highest point in the country is Bukit Timah, only 164 meters high;
  8. The world’s first night zoo, Night Safari, is located in Singapore;
  9. Singapore’s Bukit Timah Nature Reserve has a greater variety of trees than in all of North America;
  10. Singapore boasts the fastest walkers on the planet, just ahead of Copenhagen and Madrid;
  11. Singapore has a limit on the height of its building – a fair 280m. Do you know any of the 3 buildings in Singapore that is exactly 280m in length?;
  12. The five stars in the national flag of Singapore represents the ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality. The color red signifies brotherhood while white represents purity;
  13. Singapore is one of the only three surviving city-states in the world. The other two are Monaco and Vatican City.

Useful links for Singapore

Government and public authority websites:

External articles:

External videos:

Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in Singapore, please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi
singapore business federation Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) Institute of Singapore chartered accountant (ISCA) Institute of Singapore chartered accountant (ISCA) saicsa icsa - institute of chartered secretaries and administrators SIngapore exchange ltd - The Asian Gateway | SGX