Singapore has quickly become one of the most enticing countries to grow a new startup. Entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily flocking to the country to start businesses, but instead, they’re using Singapore as a destination for them to get a completely fresh start and take their business ideas in a productive direction. But what makes Singapore such a unique location for doing business? Is it difficult to relocate just for the sake of starting up your company?
In this post, we’ll be taking a look at those questions to help you decide if it’s worth moving your business ideas to Singapore.
Mobile and internet use in Singapore is extremely high
Smartphone and internet usage in Singapore is incredibly high. In fact, around 90% of the entire country uses a smartphone to some degree with many of these people also using their phone for mobile payments and wallet services to make paying for services and products easier. Singapore and Malaysia also make up around half of all e-commerce sales in Southeast Asia despite accounting for only 8% of the population.
Given these statistics, it’s easy to see that Singapore has quickly become one of the more smartphone-friendly countries to do business in. Their always-on connectivity has put the residents of Singapore in a position where the internet has become a massive factor in their lives. This makes it easier to appeal to people who are smartphone-savvy and aren’t afraid to use technology to their advantage for convenience and to learn about new products and services.
Plenty of opportunities to import existing ideas over
Opportunities in the Southeast Asia region are everywhere and many of these can be imported from Western societies and countries. For example, GrabTaxi has dominated Malaysia as the ride-sharing service of choice for several years and has started expanding into Singapore. Not only have they beaten Uber to the punch, but much of their approach to ride-sharing can be translated directly from Uber’s success in other countries. The difference is that they understand the local audience and the changes that need to be made in order to make the service more appealing. This is just one of many examples of a service being provided to the residents of Singapore and Malaysia that can be developed from a Western perspective because services like Lyft and Uber are extremely common.
The success of ride-sharing is largely due to the country’s growing road density problem. It’s an example of one of the issues that largely affects Singapore, but also a good example of how entrepreneurs have taken Singapore’s ground problems and have started to deal with them using ideas that exist elsewhere. Transport isn’t the only example here. There are also many opportunities for education, healthcare, logistics and other services that will be integral to Singapore’s growth.
The ease of obtaining a property and starting a business
Accommodation is important when you decide to relocate to Singapore. You need to find a place that is not only comfortable and fits your standards, but it must also be offered to you for a long time. Renting in Singapore is surprisingly accessible and you’ll be offered numerous different types of properties. You could also consider a HDB for sale later in the future once you’ve decided that Singapore is the right choice for your new business. Property for commercial purposes is also accessible to foreigners. So even if you’re not a Singaporean citizen, you can bring your business to the country and you’ll be accepted with open arms as long as you’re providing value to the country.
It’s worth mentioning that although it is accessible, you have to understand that buying a property in Singapore is not cheap. Regardless if it’s a home or a commercial location that you want to buy, you’re going to need to invest a lot of money in order to successfully purchase a location. We highly suggest partnering with some kind of real estate company in Singapore to help you with this.
Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/vmGwPt9gpV0 (CC0)
Support from the local government for small businesses
Singapore’s policymakers have always been huge fans of small businesses and tech startups. For instance, the local government launched a $1 billion “Technopreneurship Fund” in 1999 which gave individual companies around $2 million to start up and grow their businesses. In 2013, another $50 million was announced that would be used to invest in local startups. More recently, Singapore announced another $1 billion innovation fund to drive growth. It goes to show that Singapore is very welcoming of new ideas and businesses in their country and they’re not afraid to put their faith in young startups to help grow the economy.
This puts Singapore in a position where it has become a gateway into Southeast Asia. Thanks to their rather lax rules and openness to foreign investment, Singapore has a reputation for being a stepping stone into Asian markets. However, this isn’t always going to stay the same and from a federal perspective, Singapore might start changing these rules depending on what direction the company wants to go in the future.
But for now, starting up a business in Singapore can be incredibly easy and you’ll always receive support from the local government in terms of funding. How you use this money is up to you, but keep in mind that not every business is eligible and you’re not guaranteed to just be handed a few million dollars just for having a business in Singapore. You’re going to need to apply for it and show that your business is worth investing in.
Moving to Singapore or any other country to get a fresh start for your business could be the change you need to improve your career satisfaction. There will come a time in your career where you’ll want to provide your products and services to a wider audience, and countries like Singapore are full of opportunities that are just waiting for you to take advantage of.