WHY CHOOSE SINGAPORE
In addition to a unique and fascinating lifestyle and culture, Singapore has a tremendous amount to offer the international business community. Here is a list that further underscores why entrepreneurs, corporations and ventures of all sizes consider Singapore the perfect location to setup their company or business:
- Singapore is rated #1 in the world by World Bank for ease of doing business
- Singapore is ranked the third wealthiest nation in the world by Forbes magazine.
- Singapore has been ranked as the third most globalized economy among 60 of the world’s largest economies in the recently released Ernst and Young 2011 Globalization Index
- Singapore is rated #1 as the most politically stable country in Asia
- Singapore is rated #1 as the best labor force in the world
- Singapore is rated #1 in Asia for quality of life
- Corporate tax rates are about 8.5% up to $300K profits and a flat 17% above that
- There are no dividend or capital gains taxes in Singapore
- There is no estate/death/inheritance tax in Singapore
- Personal tax rates start at 0% and max out at 20% above $320K
So what makes Singapore attractive to foreign entrepreneurs and firms?
Singapore’s Strategic Location
One major advantage of relocating your business to Singapore is its convenient location. Singapore is situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it possible for your business to access a market of 2.8 billion people within a few hours flight. Singapore’s port is one of the busiest in the world, and the country is classified as a premier International Maritime Center.
Singapore’s Changi Airport serves over 15 million passengers annually. The airport’s emphasis on competitiveness, efficiency and service have helped make it the “Best Airport in the World” for 20 consecutive years. A hub in the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore’s Changi Airport provides businesses with easy access to all major Asian markets.
Singapore Means Business
Singapore is known for its pro-business environment, capable of attracting sizable foreign investments and business entrepreneurs. In Singapore, you can turn your ideas into businesses with ease, and achieve significant profits. In stark contrast to many Western nations, it only takes about 1-2 days to incorporate a company in Singapore, with the government providing assistance along the way. Simply stated, Singapore is the easiest place in the world to set up and manage a business.
Singapore’s Outstanding Tax System
Taxes are at the top of the agenda for any entrepreneur, and one of the key considerations for setting up a business anywhere in the world. One of Singapore’s unique advantages is its low effective personal and corporate tax rates. Personal income tax has a tier system that starts from just 0% and goes up to 20% for income above S$320,000.
Similarly, effective corporate tax rate for Singapore private limited companies for profits up to $S300,000 is below 9% and capped at a flat rate of 17% for profits above $S300,000. There are no capital gains taxes in Singapore, which follows a single-tier tax policy; for income that has been taxed at the corporate level, dividends can be distributed to its shareholders tax-free.
In an effort to move away from a dependency on income taxes and to make the economy even more competitive, the government has adopted a more broad-based consumption tax called Goods and Services Tax (GST). Singapore maintains one of the world’s lowest GST rates (currently 7%), ranking below the global average VAT/GST rate of 16.4%, and the Asia-Pacific average of 10.5%.
Flexible Immigration Policies
Singapore’s open Immigration policy facilitates the relocation of foreign nationals who wish to setup businesses here. If you are an entrepreneur who needs to relocate to Singapore to run your business or need to hire foreign professionals, the government has anticipated your needs and made appropriate Singapore work visa provisions.
To help value adding individuals settle permanently, Singapore has a relaxed immigration policy, making it easier for foreign professionals to gain Singapore Permanent Residence (PR) status.
Comprehensive Intellectual Property Protection
IP protection is taken seriously in Singapore. Singapore has become a one-stop center for businesses seeking to manage their IP assets. The World Economic Forum (WEF), the Institute for Management Development (IMD) and the Political Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) have all ranked Singapore top in Asia.
Singapore has very strong copyright laws. In Singapore, it’s a criminal offense for a person or company to conduct willful copyright infringement.
In addition to registering a trademark in Singapore, Singapore businesses can also file for global trademark registration from Singapore as the country is a signatory to major IP conventions and treaties, such as the Patent Cooperation Treaty, Paris Convention, Berne Convention, Madrid Protocol, Budapest Treaty, Agreement on Trade-related aspects of IP rights, and World Intellectual Property Organisation.
An Honest and Open Government
Businesses do not exist in a vacuum – they need a supportive political infrastructure to grow and thrive. Singapore’s political system is one that enacts laws, decides priorities and sets regulations using a rational, pro-business approach. Singapore has a stable and orderly government, whose vision is to take this nation to the front of the industrialized nations.
The World’s Best Labour Force
Singapore has built an attractive, world-class, and productive work-force – a key ingredient for the success of any business. Since the country is primarily a knowledge-based economy, its manpower force is educated and professionally qualified. Singapore’s workforce is recognized for its high level of education, high productivity, technical proficiency, work-hard and work-smart culture. The Singapore workforce is both cosmopolitan and international, attracting professionals from all over the world, who bring with them their extensive knowledge and business expertise.
As an added inducement for employers and entrepreneurs interested in starting a business or creating a branch office, Singapore boasts of the “Best Labour Force in the World” in the latest rankings.
A Higher Quality of Life
Most foreign-born professionals and entrepreneurs who setup businesses and relocate to Singapore do so with their family. One of the top concerns for new residents of Singapore is the quality of life.
Singapore provides all of its residents with excellent public and private transportation, top quality healthcare, a safe and healthy living environment, easy access to many other nations, excellent schools, an outstanding support system for businesses, entrepreneurs and corporations, and an endless selection of cultural and educational opportunities.
SINGAPORE OFFICE MARKET
Introduction to the Singapore Office Market
Singapore commercial property has typical efficiency factor ranging between 90%-95%. Local and foreign banks, multi-national companies and established professional service firms are attracted to the Central Business District (CBD) because of its favorable business environment and easy access to public transportation, food and shopping. However, there are also companies that prefer an office outside CBD area, due to their different business needs.
During your search for office premises, you may wish to take note of the following factors:
- Location & Accessibility
- Building Specifications
- Rental and Service Charge
- Lease Period
- Fitting Out Period and Rent Free Period
- Security Deposit
- Legal Fee and Stamp Duty
- Renovation Deposit w Reinstatement
Types of Commercial Office Properties
There are four main types of commercial office properties in Singapore:
- Standard Office Buildings
- Serviced Offices & Co-Working Space
- Shop houses
- Business Parks
Standard Office Buildings
- Intended only for office usage
- Located within CBD area and fringe CBD
- Typically have security, lifts, centralised air-conditioning. Such common areas are maintained by the landlord
- Comes furnished with ceiling boards, lighting system, fire safety system
Serviced Offices & Co-Working Space
- Fully equipped office
- Located within CBD area and fringe CBD
- Suitable for start-ups or overseas companies who wish to venture the market with a small representative office
- Allow a fully operational office within a short notice (typically less than two months)
- Sizes range from 1 person and up to 100 persons
- Low-rise conserved buildings that are used for office
- Located within CBD area and fringe CBD
- Usually have lower rental rates than that of standard office buildings as there is no service charge/maintenance charge
- Most units come in bare condition
There are two different types of space found in Business Park buildings:
URA Business Park Space Regulations
Tenant in all Singapore business parks are required by the Government agency JTC to comply with the 60%/40% ratio of space set out by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)
Location & Accessibity
The choice of location largely depends on individual business needs and activities. Easy accessibility to public transport, especially train services MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), is critical in staff recruitment and retention. At the same time, it is important to have food and other amenities (e.g. banks, shops, gyms) within close proximity. Please see below for the key features of the different office districts in Singapore
GRADE A OFFICE
Flexible office space, more savings, services and choice
- Fully equipped and ready-to-use offices in various prime locations
- No expensive up-front business capital investment
- Full or part-time space, on short or extended terms for as long as you need
- Total flexibility to grow, downsize & adapt your office space to fit your changing business needs
- Relocate to another Building if you need to – quickly & easily
- Offices to accommodate from 1 – 500 people
- Choice of serviced office options in over 30 locations in Singapore & to suit any budget
Example of Grade A Office:
Entertainment and Collaboration Area
POPULAR LOCATIONS FOR OFFICE SPACE
CBD area in the picture above is labeled as Central Area and considered the most prime location for renting office space in Singapore. Businesses of the same nature have over time clustered so that various locations in the CBD area have evolved into distinct hubs. Lot of existing companies are moving away from the CBD area due to record rental prices.
Office Rental – Tier-1 Localities
Raffles Place area – is arguably the most sought after area in Singapore for leasing office space by banks, financial institutes, insurance companies, business centres, and professional services firms. Raffles Place along with its nearby streets (Cecil Street, Robinson Road and Shenton Way) have the highest concentration of Grade A buildings. The area is considered as the Wall Street of Singapore. Nearest MRT station is Raffles Place.
Tanjong Pagar/Anson Road area – is located in close proximity to Raffles Place and consists of both older and new office buildings. This area is a popular office rental choice among media advertising, shipping and trading companies, real estate firms, business services groups and various Singapore government institutions. Among key office buildings include Capital Tower, Temasek Tower and Amara Corporate Tower, Springleaf Tower, Keppel Towers, GE Tower, International Plaza, etc. Nearest MRT station is Tanjong Pagar.
River Valley / Singapore River area – located between Raffles Place and Orchard Road area, River Valley area in recent years has developed into a bustling commercial and retail area in Singapore that offers quality office space available for renting as well as residential, shopping and entertainment facilities. Major office buildings in this area include Central Square, UE Square, Great World City, Central Mall, etc. The nearest MRT station is Clark Quay.
Orchard Road area – home to major retail stores, this is Singapore’s prime shopping, hotel and entertainment, also a popular choice for renting office space. Office buildings are quite popular here due to the convenience, prestige and infrastructure. Key buildings include Ngee Ann City Tower A & B, Wheelock Place, Wisma Atria, The [email protected], Shaw House, Paragon Tower, Orchard Building, The Hereen, Winsland House I and II, etc. Nearest MRT station is Orchard, Somerset, & Dhoby Ghaut.
Suntec City & Marina Bay area – is very popular among IT companies, serviced offices, law firms, and other businesses. In addition to five very popular office towers, the Suntec City also comprises of one the largest shopping malls as well as a convention/exhibition centre. Located next is the Marina Bay area with Millenia and Centennial Towers – two of the most prestigious office buildings in Singapore. Nearest MRT station is City Hall.
The recently opened Marina Bay Financial Centre is the newest business hub that is situated at the heart of Marina Bay. MBFC, as it is popularly known, spans an expansive area of 3.55 hectares and houses three office towers that comprise of nearly three million square feet of prime Grade A office space. One of the outstanding features of the MBFC is the spectacular view of the Marina Bay. MBFC’s prestigious tenants include most of the notable banks and financial institutions. Nearest MRT stations are Marina Bay and Raffles Place.
Office Rental – Tier-2 Localities
Beach Road / North Bridge Road area – lies just inside Singapore’s CBD area. Unlike the other areas within the CBD, however, Beach Road is not as laden with skyscrapers and office buildings. Instead, you will find shopping centres, markets, hotels and residential areas within the district. There are however still a number of good quality office buildings including Raffles City Tower, Parkview Square, The Gateway East & West, Shaw Tower, Bugis Junction Office Tower, Odeon Towers, KeyPoint, The Concourse, The Adelphi, Peninsula Plaza, High Street Centre, Odeon Towers, etc. Nearest MRT stations include City Hall and Bugis.
Bras Basah / Selegie Road area – situated at the fringe of the CBD area, this is a popular office space rental option for budget conscious firms. Key office buildings in this are include Sim Lim Tower, Burlington Square, Plaza By The Park, Sunshine Plaza, Selegie Complex, IOI Plaza, NTUC Income Prinsep House, Peace Centre, Paradiz Centre. etc. The nearest MRT stations inlcude City Hall and Dhoby Ghaut. CBD and its neighboring areas continue to be the most sought after office rental locations for service oriented firms due to its prestige, central location, and the overall buzz. Although the rental prices for office space in this area have gone up significantly in the last 2 years, demand is still strong by particularly by financial companies.
BUY UNDER PERSONAL NAME OR INVESTMENT HOLDING COMPANY
OWNERS IN DISTRICT 9
Bonvests Holdings (Goldvein Holdings owns 59.68% which Henry Ngo, Patrick Tse, James Sookanan and Wilfred Hsieh have stakes in)
Yishun Ten Complex (with Golden Village)
CapitaLand Commercial Trust (Temasek Holdings owns 31.5%)
Golden Shoe Carpark
Market Street Carpark
One George Street
Six Battery Road
CapitaMall Trust (Temasek Holdings owns 29.85%)
The [email protected]
Bukit Panjang Plaza
Funan Digilife Mall
Jurong Entertainment Centre
Lot One Shopper’s Mall
Sembawang Shopping Centre
City Developments (Hong Leong Investment Holdings Pte Ltd owns 48.623%. Note it is a private company, which Kwek Leng Beng and family should have big stakes in it.)
7 & 9 Tampines Grande
11 Tampines Concourse
City Square Mall
The Corporate Building
The Corporate Office
Fortune Centre (office space only)
Fuji Xerox Towers
Katong Shopping Centre (office space only)
The Office Chamber
Plaza by the Park
Sunshine Plaza (office space only)
Tangling Shopping Centre (office space only)
GuocoLand (GuocoLand Assets Pte Ltd owns 65.24%. Note it is a private company, which Kwek Leng Beng and family should have big stakes in it.)
F&N (Temasek Holdings owns 15%, OCBC owns 15.2% itself and through Great Eastern Life Assurance)
Frasers Commercial Trust (F&N owns 23% through Frasers Centrepoint, FCL Trust Holdings Pte Ltd and Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management (Commercial) Pte Ltd)
55 Market Street
China Square Central
Frasers Centrepoint Trust (Frasers Centrepoint Ltd owns 51.93% through FCL Trust Holdings Pte Ltd)
Yew Tee Point
Heeton (Heeton Private Investments Pte Ltd has 25.09% stake and is own by Toh Khai Cheng and Toh Giap Eng. Toh Khai Cheng has additional 15.26% stake through Hong Heng Company Pte Ltd)
Sun Plaza (owns 50% of the retail units through Canberra)
The Woodgrove (only owns retail space)
* These wet markets may have been sold to Sheng Siong based on this article.
Ho Bee (Chua Thian Poh, Ng Noi Hinoy and Chua Kong Chian owns 64.83% through Ho Bee Holdings Pte Ltd and Air-Jet Autocare Pte Ltd)
Samsung Hub (owns 97,000sqft out of 290,000sqft)
Suntec Tower 2 (owns 2 floors)
* Chua Thian Poh is #16 Singapore’s Richest in 2009 with net worth of US$450mil
Hong Fok Corporation
Hong Kong Land
Marina Bay Financial Centre (with Cheung Kong and Keppel Land)
One Raffles Link
One Raffles Quay (with Cheung Kong and Singapore Land)
Keppel Land (Keppel Corp owns 53% and Temasek Holdings owns 21% of Keppel Corp)
Heritage Court (8 shophouses)
Joo Chiat Shophouses (4)
Keppel Bay Tower
Marina Bay Financial Centre (with Cheung Kong and Hong Kong Land)
Ocean Financial Centre
Alpha Investment Partners (Keppel Land wholly own)
135 Cecil Street
Nordic European Centre
K-REIT Asia (Keppel Land owns 44% and Keppel Corp owns 31%)
Bugis Junction Towers
Keppel Tower and GE Tower
One Raffles Quay (with Suntec REIT and Hong Kong Land)
Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd (Since it is a private company, no shareholders statistics was found)
Harbour Front Tower One and Keppel Tower
Harbour Front Tower Two
Mapletree Business City
Merrill Lynch Harbourfront
St James Power Station
Roxy Pacific Holdings
Starhill Globat REIT (Tan Sri Datok Seri Dr Yeoh Tiong Lay owns 26.65% through various companies)
Ngee Ann City (27.23%)
Wisma Atria (74.23%)
*Tan Sri Datok Seri Dr Yeoh Tiong Lay is ranked #397 of the world’s billionaires in 2009 with net worth US$1.8 billion.
Suntec REIT (Perennial Investment Partners owns 6% and Shaw Trustee Pte Ltd owns 5.4%)
One Raffles Quay (with K-REIT Asia and Hong Kong Land)
Suntec City Mall
Suntec City Office Towers (57%)
Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre (20%)
UIC （Wee Cho Yaw has 35.83% and John Gokongwei Jr has 35.31% stake)
West Mall (50% with SingLand)
*Wee Cho Yaw and family is ranked #258 of the world’s billionaires with net worth US$3.5 billion.
*John Gokongwei Jr is ranked #5 of Philippines 40 Richest with net worth US$720 million.
Singapore Land (UIC owns 72.42%)
Abacus Plaza and Tampines Plaza
Novena Square (20%, with UOB and UOL)
Singapore Land Tower
West Mall (50% with UIC)
UOL Group (Wee Cho Yaw owns 29.13%, Wee Ee Cheong owns 23.55%, Wee Ee Chao owns 10.41%, Wee Ee Lim owns 10.15%)
Novena Square (with UOB and Singapore Land)