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Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Singaporean market

Singapore, the gateway to SE Asia, is the regional business hub for ASEAN and the wider Asia Pacific region, providing stability and highly educated workforce, making it the perfect location to create a base.

If you are considering doing business in Singapore, please be sure to explore our top tips to enter the market below and also be sure to reach out to our team in Singapore

  • Singapore’s English dominated business environment and business-friendly legal and tax systems give Irish companies at every stage of development the opportunity to establish a business presence in Singapore at relatively low risk.
  • Singapore’s highly-educated workforce, political stability, excellent air transport links, developed infrastructure, transparency in business operations and Western business practices mean that many companies adopt a “hub and spoke” approach, using Singapore as a base from which to access opportunities in neighbouring markets.
  • Singapore’s business language is English and it is spoken throughout the island among all ethnic groups.
  • Singapore has the highest per capita spend on healthcare in ASEAN, which averages 4% of GDP, and this is expected to increase annually as the Government seeks to invest in quality healthcare infrastructure and services making it an attractive market for medical device and life science companies.
  • Singapore is seeing increased activity in the Life science sector. There are opportunities for client companies currently selling into the pharma and medical device supply chain in Ireland as many of the same global multinationals also have strong presences in Singapore e.g. Roche, Pfizer, GSK.
  • Singapore is a top-three global financial centre and therefore a key market for companies involved in financial services and fintech. Key activities include FX, wealth management, commodities trading, hedge funds & treasury.
  • There are over 210 banks and approx 1200 Financial Institutions registered in Singapore. Notable changes in the financial sector include the liberalisation of the banking market with the awarding of five digital banking licences in December 2020; the launch of the Variable Capital Company as an entity for new investment funds in Singapore, and the embrace of fintech and automation by the sector in enhancing competitiveness and innovation.
  • Punctuality is a sign of respect in Singapore. It is best to inform your Singaporean counterpart if you will be late.
  • Modesty and humility are key values in Singapore, therefore it is important not to “oversell” during initial meetings with Singaporean counterparts.
  • The decision-making process in Singapore is done collectively and up through the hierarchy, and therefore it may take more time than you are used to.
  • Over 200 Irish firms are already active in this market thanks to EI assistance, contact the local MA here.

For more be sure to check out our Going Global Guide 

If you would like to know what to prepare ahead of your first MA call, click the graphic below

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