Doing Business in Singapore

Singapore is a sovereign city-state and island country in Southeast Asia, south of Malaysia. Previously a British colonial trading post, Singapore gained independence from the UK in 1963 and combined with other former British territories to create Malaysia. Only two years later, in 1965, Singapore split from Malaysia to become a nation of its own. The country is a highly multi-ethnic society made up of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasians. Now a leading global business hub and one of the wealthiest nations worldwide Singapore is renowned for its transformation from third world country to first world country in one single generation.

The World Bank ranks Singapore as the easiest place in the world to do business in, with a highly developed and free-market economy. Indeed, Singapore is known for its reliability, quality, integrity and productivity, ranked as the most open and one of the least corrupt globally. This makes the prospect of doing business in Singapore very attractive to companies from all over the world.

To attract even more foreign investment, the government has introduced a number of employment permits and passes, quotas, foreign tax levies, minimum insurance requirements and other incentives. Other market strengths include a highly skilled and educated local population, excellent infrastructure and 50% of the world’s population within 6 hours flight.

The only potential challenge to doing business in Singapore relates to the size of the country and its small population.

While English is the main working language, the official languages are Chinese, Malay and Tamil. There is also a local vernacular of Singlish, though this is predominantly English along with some regional slang. Business etiquette is largely relationship-based while Singaporeans are also highly cosmopolitan in their outlook. Being a nascent country and with such a diverse history, the culture is equally influenced by both East and West. The World Business Culture website will aid business ventures into Singapore so as to ensure maximum success and rewards.



This country-specific business culture profile was written by Keith Warburton who is the founder of the cultural awareness training consultancy Global Business Culture

Global Business culture is a leading training provider in the fields of cross-cultural communication and global virtual team working.  We provide training to global corporations in live classroom-based formats, through webinars and also through our cultural awareness digital learning hub, Global Business Compass.

This World Business Culture profile is designed as an introduction to business culture in Singapore only and a more detailed understanding needs a more in-depth exploration which we can provide through our training and consultancy services.

Country Breakdown





Singapore Dollar


$ 297