Doing Business: Ireland vs Singapore

Staff Writer

October 24, 2023

What’s in the article?

Both Singapore and Ireland are known for their ease of doing business, where foreign investors find both economies to be welcoming to international businesses. In this article, we tackle the differences between the two, and whether one is a better option for foreign companies to set up in compared to the other.

The World Bank Doing Business Report in Ireland vs Singapore

The World Bank studies the ease of doing business in 190 countries, where each country is ranked based on a DB (Doing Business) score where the higher the score, the easier it is to set up a business in the country. Singapore has a current score of 86.2, while Ireland scored 79.6.

The DB score is based on a number of factors that affect the ease of setting up and operating a business in the country, such as Paying Taxes and the administrative process of Starting a Business. Each country is ranked by category, where 1 is the highest rank an economy can achieve per factor. 

Doing Business: Singapore vs Ireland 2020

Category Singapore Ireland
Starting a Business 4 23
Registering Property 21 60
Dealing with Construction Permits 5 36
Getting Electricity 19 47
Getting Credit 37 48
Protecting Minority Investors 3 13
Trading Across Borders 47 52
Paying Taxes 7 4
Resolving Insolvency 27 19
Enforcing Contracts 1 91

Doing Business: Ireland vs Singapore

Economic Overview

Singapore is a hotspot for startup businesses as the country is greatly welcoming to new businesses. Ranking 2nd overall in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business, Singapore is known as one of the best places to start a new venture, especially as the country enforces low taxation, and is generally efficient in its bureaucracy.

Ireland, on the other hand, is known for its strong and stable economy with economic growth despite volatility. The cost of living in Ireland remains high, and the nation is expected to increase its GDP by 4.8% in 2022. Consumer spending is comparatively high, which is a major factor for businesses operating in the country. 

Business Environment

The Singapore business environment is ordinarily friendly to foreign companies looking to start a business in the country. Singapore remains the most-preferred destination to start a business, whether the company is local or foreign.

Meanwhile, Ireland has a modern and outward-looking economy, and is known as one of the best places to start a business. Investors favour the country for its business infrastructure, low language barriers, and overall stable business environment. 


Singapore is renowned for having a young, dynamic workforce with most workers having white-collar jobs that require specialised skills. Most workers are under 35 years of age, and there are around 4.72 per thousand of the population who migrated to the country for business opportunities. 

In Ireland, skilled workers dominate the workforce, with a third of the population being 25 years old and younger. Workers in Ireland are known to be highly-skilled, and adaptable to the ever-changing global business landscape. Ireland also has one of the highest education rates for its workers, more than 50% of employees having at least third-level education. 

Business Language

Both Singapore and Ireland do business mainly in English, with Singapore having Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil as additional languages. Irish Gaelic is the official language in Ireland, but over two-thirds of the population primarily speak English in conducting business. 

Incorporation Process

Singapore is a highly developed country, and its incorporation process has already caught up with the advancements in technology. As such, companies looking to do business in Singapore can access BizFile+ for all the requirements and submissions related to incorporation.

Incorporation in Ireland has similar requirements as Singapore, such as having at least one local director or shareholder, but the incorporation process has some slight differences. There are multiple forms of incorporation that a company must submit in order to do business in the country, which can be confusing to foreign investors.

Filing Requirements

Both Singapore and Ireland have relatively efficient bureaucracy, with Singapore having one of the most efficient business processing systems in the world. Incorporation may take as little as 3-5 business days in Ireland, while Singapore processes applications in as fast as 15 minutes. 

Immigration Requirements

In Singapore, foreign entrepreneurs may choose to apply for an Employment Pass, EntrePass, or Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass depending on the nature of their business in the country. In Ireland, foreigners may apply for a Visa Application, or General Employment Permit depending on their motive for immigrating into the country. 


One of the reasons for Singapore’s popularity as a business venture destination is its taxes. Singapore has one of the lowest tax rates in Asia, and is regarded as a tax haven for foreign companies. The country charges a standard flat tax rate of 17%, which may differ depending on the tax incentives a company is eligible for. 

Most Irish companies, however, enjoy a low tax rate of 12.5% in Ireland, which is much lower than the tax rate in most European countries at 20% and above. This makes Ireland a prime destination for companies looking to set up a business in Europe. 

IP Protection

The Singaporean government is currently working on the Intellectual Property (IP) Hub Master Plan, which is a 10-year effort to create robust regulations surrounding intellectual property rights, with projected completion in 2023-2024.

Ireland’s government has a similar IP Protection Plan, and offers guidelines for creators to protect their intellectual property rights. As part of international agreements, IPs created in the United States of America are automatically considered protected under Irish law.


Both Singapore and Ireland have systematic bureaucracy, where business processes are handled swiftly and efficiently. Both countries are methodical in their operations, and take bureaucracy seriously. There is high trust in the bureaucracy in both countries, and foreign investors claim there is an ease in doing business in both countries because of such.

Openness to Trade

Openness to trade is another similarity between Singapore and Ireland as both countries are internationally-engaged in terms of doing business with foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and companies. These two countries are known for their friendly attitude towards foreign companies, and continue to welcome foreign investment in their countries. 

Global Competitiveness

Singapore scored an 85 out of 100 in the Global Competitiveness Report, making it the most globally competitive economies in the world. Compared to Ireland, which ranks 24th, and scored a 75.1 out of 100, Singapore is the leading economy in terms of doing business internationally. 

As its global competitiveness ranking is ‘lacking,’ Ireland is looking to increase its global competitiveness, according to the Irish government. The country is taking steps to systematically improve its economy, and dive deeper into the global market through undetermined developments. 


Overall, both Singapore and Ireland are strong contenders for starting businesses. Singapore has a big advantage as it is the business hub of Asia, and foreign companies looking to branch out into the continent can do so in Singapore with little barriers. 

Ireland being in Europe presents a great opportunity for companies to set up in the Western region, but Denmark still tops the ranks as the most-preferred destination for foreign entrepreneurs to set up businesses in Europe. 

Why Do Business in Singapore?

Singapore offers enticing regulations and incentives for foreigners to enter the country for business opportunities as there are little language barriers and administrative costs. Foreign investors and business owners will discover that operating in Singapore has more advantages and rewards, even when compared to a country with a well developed economy like Ireland.

For corporate services when conducting business in Singapore, get in touch with WealthBridge. We'll help you incorporate your business in Singapore and manage your firm so you can concentrate on expanding it.

Read our explanation of the benefits of incorporating in Singapore.

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