There’s a real buzz in the start-up community across Asia that Singapore is THE place for high tech start-ups to establish a business. In fact, some have gone so far to say it is set to become the new Silicon Valley. We set out to discover why Singapore is set to become the no.1 choice for start-ups setting up a business in Asia.
I spoke to Amy Read, the founder of high tech start-up, Gifts Less Ordinary, to find out just what makes Singapore so attractive:
First, tell us a bit about your business:
Gifts Less Ordinary is a new luxury online gift marketplace selling unique and personalised gifts that haven’t been seen in Asia before. We launched the business in October 2015. Our head office is in Singapore but we sell into both Hong Kong and Singapore. By the end of June, we will also have a presence in Japan, Australia and the US.
What makes your business so different from other marketplaces out there?
If there was one phenomenon that has become growingly widespread in retail, it is personalization. Customers are looking for more than just beautiful products with exquisite quality, they want to purchase unique and one of a kind gifts.
Gifts Less Ordinary caters to this demand by selling items that you can’t find in your typical department store. The site is lovingly curated, only featuring the best of the best, so the experience is more like shopping in an exquisite boutique, you just need to bring the champagne!
Why establish a business in Singapore?
The Singapore government is really encouraging and supportive of its start-up community, not only offering grants and incentives, but by working hard to create a community by which entrepreneurs can come together and flourish.
Below, is a list of just some of the reasons Singapore is so attractive to start-ups:
Ease of incorporating a private company.
Incorporating a business couldn’t be easier, the process can be done online via the ACRA website, and the whole process takes between one and three days.
Creating a Community
One community we didn’t know about until after we launched is ACE (Action community for entrepreneurship), which is an amazing community established to engage and support promising entrepreneurs. Services offered include resources such as office space, access to new networks and mentorship. But not only that, it creates a community by which entrepreneurs can come together, learn and share.
Generous Tax Incentives & Grants
For newly established companies, the Singapore Government has established the tax exemption scheme that was introduced back in 2005. The main aim of this scheme is to foster Singapore as an entrepreneurship hub and to help local enterprises grow.
What this means, is that for the first 3 consecutive financial years of newly established companies, they are required to pay no taxes on their first SGD$100,000 chargeable income. On the next SGD$200,000 of chargeable income, they are given a waiver of 50%. Naturally, there are some exemptions to the tax incentives scheme.
Also, Singapore has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Asia, and the government offers a number of very attractive grants through SPRING Singapore, with the aim of further supporting home grown businesses.
Access to an International Pool of Talented Workforce
Singaporeans are generally a highly trained, well-educated and skilled workforce. The local pool of the workforce are largely English speaking and well versed in the Mandarin language. This puts their workforce in an advantageous situation when dealing with the world’s largest economy (USA) and the world’s second largest economy (China).
Apart from that, Singapore houses some of the best universities in the world. Based on the latest QS World University Rankings 2015, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are currently ranked the world’s top 12nd and 13th universities respectively.
Strong Supporting Business Infrastructure
Singapore has one of the world’s best coverage in terms of telecommunications. Internet and mobile coverage extends to virtually all areas of Singapore, and this compasses the commercial and residential districts. The 3 major telecommunications providers in Singapore have attained more than 99.9% coverage of all land areas.
The abundance of office spaces also makes it easy for a company to establish a business in Singapore. These include various serviced offices providers, co-working spaces and even short-term meeting rooms facilities.
Apart from that, Singapore is a transport hub which is strategically situated in the heart of South East Asia. With its international airport and port facilities, the ease of international logistics makes it easy for any company to venture into other South East Asian countries.
It seems clear to some why Singapore is set to become the no.1 choice for start-ups setting up a business in Asia. Are you based in Singapore or elsewhere? Let us know which location you think is the best choice for startups in 2016 in the comments below.