Dos and don’ts when setting up in Singapore

4591762989_73e4095da0So you’ve decided to set up a company in Singapore and don’t know where to start regarding life and customs if you want to visit. First of all you have to realize that the country is very materialistically minded although with relatively high incomes, the quality of life is rather excellent and of quite a superb standard. You have substantial pressure to achieve and be at the top and this is borne out by the very high ratings achieved in studies and survey ratings. However research has also demonstrated that family is still a crucial unit and this takes precedence over any form of materialism. Singapore has also been voted as the country with the best quality of life and the happiest one in Asia.

There are several factors which contribute to the excellent quality of life in Singapore. These include a very stable social and political environment as well as excellent economic and cultural opportunities. The health system is second to none and there is also an excellent system of schools and education. Although there is considerable traffic congestion due to the incredible quantity of cars on the road, public services and transport infrastructure are also excellent. If you are going to settle in Singapore for a few years on and off you should make the most out of the considerable recreational facilities which include bars, restaurants and a very active nightlife.

You should first and foremost be careful not to get into trouble with the law whilst you are in Singapore since the law enforcement is pretty draconian. However the stable political situation is a plus although it is slightly authoritarian and certainly not very democratic. The government is actually not a very popular institution in Singapore although it has brought prosperity and economic growth to millions. The rule of law is strictly observed however and this keeps you on your toes if you don’t want to get into a sticky situation.

Singapore has attracted no less than 9,000 companies to its shores who have brought billions of dollars of revenue to the economy. You are just one of those many thousands who has a company there so you should not really think you are special. The Singaporeans pride themselves on the values of hard work, thrift as well as directness. However if you plan to live there for a few months or years you should try and get to know the people and their customs so that you will not stand out. Singapore has a lot to offer and by mixing you will be benefiting from a greater quality of life as well as keeping your taxes low – a win win situation.

And although Singapore is considered to be a tax haven, it still scores highly on the anti-corruption front. Surveys by the World Economic Forum have consistently revealed that the country is one of the stablest in the world and is also very attractive with regards to the lack of bureaucracy. Corruption is also practically non-existent in Singapore and on this front, the country has consistently ranked at the very top making it an ideal place to live, work and also invest. This corruption free environment makes it a country with substantial business opportunities on every level.

Transparency is also important so when setting up a company here you should be as above board as possible to avoid creating suspicions on yourself. Always involve the local firm which you have contracted to set up your affairs as much as possible and don’t try to act smart by doing everything on your own – this doesn’t work in Singapore anyway. Since the island is full of a mix of socially and ethnically different cultures you can learn a lot by listening to people on how to conduct your business and social life. As long as you keep out of trouble and go to the right places, you will enjoy a life that is of an excellent standard and a high quality in Singapore.

There is also a plus side to strict law enforcement which is the basis of Singapore’s social and cultural milieu. The country is one of the very few in Asia where women can feel free to move around even at night so if you have come to work and live here and you’re a woman then you are safe enough! On the negative side, the rule of law is enforced quite draconically so even for a minor offence you will be severely dealt with. However Singapore is also considered to be an excellent place for expatriates to live in so if you are careful and lead a normally decent life you shouldn’t have any problems.