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Company Formation Singapore



Types of companies in Singapore

Updated on Monday 18th December 2017

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Foreign entrepreneurs are attracted by the investment possibilities they have and also for the flexibility of choosing the type of company they want to open in Singapore. Under the Singapore Company Act foreign investors can register one of the following types of business entities:

  • ·         -          companies,
  • ·         -          partnerships.

Foreign investors wanting to start a business at a smaller scale can do so by opening a sole proprietorship in Singapore. Based on your priorities, our specialists in company formation in Singapore can help you make the right choice regarding the type of company to register.

We also invite you to watch the video below to find out what are the types of companies you can register in Singapore:

Types of companies available for registration in Singapore

The following types of companies are available for registration in Singapore according to the Company Act:

  • ·         -          limited liability companies,
  • ·         -          companies limited by guarantee.

Singapore limited liability companies can be private or public, the main difference between the two types of business entities referring to the fact that public companies can float their shares in the Stock Exchange, while private companies are not allowed. Another difference resides in the number of shareholders the two types of Singapore companies can have: private company cannot have more than 50 shareholders, while the public company can. Singapore companies limited by guarantee are usually established for non-profit purposes.

In order to register any of the types of companies above the founders must appoint at least one director in the case of limited liability companies and two in the case of companies limited by guarantee and a Singapore resident company secretary.

Types of partnerships in Singapore

Foreign investors can set up three types of partnerships in Singapore:

  • ·         -          a general partnership,
  • ·         -          a limited partnership,
  • ·         -          a limited liability partnership.

All types of Singapore partnerships are business entities allowing at least two persons to co-own a business. The partnership has no distinct legal existence from its founders, which is why the partners will be held liable for the company’s debts and obligations with their personal assets. The limited liability partnership was recently recognized by the Company Act and is a combination between a partnership and a limited liability company. Limited liability partnerships are designed for professionals, such as lawyers or accountants.

Structures for foreign companies in Singapore

Even if the holding company is not itself a type of business entity, it is one of the best structures to open a Singapore company. It can be registered under the form of private or a public company and it offers significant tax advantages to its owners which are usually foreign companies. The registration process for a holding company is the same as for any other type of company in Singapore and our local consultants can assist you with the preparation of its statutory documents and with their filing with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.

Another type of structure foreign enterprises use is the Singapore subsidiary. This type of business form can also take various forms, however the most employed one is the limited liability company. A foreign company needs a minimum share capital of 1 SGD to open a subsidiary under the form of a limited liability company in the city-state.

The last type of company a foreign entity can use in Singapore is the branch office. Compared to the subsidiary which falls under the Commercial Law, the branch office is subject to the Branch Companies Act and its activities will be strictly related to the parent company’s undertakings.

No matter the type of company you want to set up, our Singapore company formation specialists can offer comprehensive information about each one of them in order for you to make the right choice.

If you want to register a business in the city-state, you can contact our representatives in company registration in Singapore for assistance.



  • Anubhav Gupta 2016-09-11

    Really great article, Could you please tell me about solo proprietorship in Singapore. TIA Anubhav

    Hello Anubhav Gupta! Thank you for your comment! If you need more information about the sole proprietorship in Singapore or if you intend to open this business form, we kindly invite you to contact us at office(at)lawyers-singapore.com. Have a great day!

  • James 2017-02-16

    I would like to know more about the private company in Singapore. Thank you!

  • Edward 2017-02-17

    Seems for your article that the private company would be a good idea for an IT start-up. Would you recommend that?

  • Derek 2017-02-20

    I believe that the limited liability company is better suited for the investor's needs, but that, of course, can depend on numerous aspects, including the business activity, the capital and so on.

  • Conrad Button 2017-02-26

    Interesting and informative movie! Thanks for sharing!

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