Doing Business: Singapore vs India

Staff Writer

November 14, 2023

What’s in the article?

Picking the right place to build your business is crucial as it can affect how well your business will thrive. Currently, Singapore and India are both strong countries that are growing in their business sector. To decide whether you should do business in either of these countries, it’s really important to know every business aspect in both countries that can help a business to thrive. By looking at all of these different but important things, you’ll be able to decide which country is the best for your business.

Comparison Table: Singapore vs India

Factors Singapore India
Economic Overview Stable, developed economy. Growing economy with stability challenges.
Business Environment Investor-friendly environment and simple rules. Complex regulations and bureaucratic hurdles.
Incorporation Process Quick and straightforward (1 day). Complex process (12-18 days).
Immigration Requirements Strict rules for skilled professionals. Business and Employment Visas.
Taxes Low corporate tax, no capital gain tax. Varied tax rates.
Filing Requirements Clear and straightforward. Complex and time-consuming.
Workforce Skilled but higher costs. Diverse, but cost-effective labor force.
Business Language English is the official language. English is widely spoken, Hindi is the official language.
Location Providing access to the world’s three major economies; China, Japan, and India - and also the gateway to Southeast Asia. Well-connected to reach markets in Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, and Europe.
Market Opportunities Tech-savvy and affluent customers. Vast and diverse consumer base.

Detailed Comparison: Singapore vs India

  1. Economic Overview

Singapore’s economy is known for being one of the strongest countries in the world. It’s a well-known place for doing business, as the economic climate helps to make a business thrive. With subsidies and tax breaks, Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) makes it easier for any entrepreneur to build their business in the country.

On the other hand, India’s economy is also growing for the better. India has transitioned from a  mixed planned economy to a mixed middle-income developing social market economy. But still, India is not as stable as Singapore in terms of economic growth.

  1. Business Environment

Singapore is very welcoming and makes it easy for investors and business owners to build a business. They have simple rules and procedures to follow that entrepreneurs like. 

In contrast, doing business in India can be a bit tricky. The rules can be challenging, although India is trying to make things much easier than they used to. India used to be a government-controlled economy, and even though they are opening up to market-driven ways, there are still some old rules that can be challenging for business operations. From setting up a company to expanding into the market, and taking out profits, businesses often have to deal with lots of bureaucracy, unpredictable politics, and complicated laws.

Currently, Singapore is considered the 2nd easiest place to do business according to the World Bank, while India is at the 63rd spot.

  1. Incorporation Process

Singapore makes it easy to register a company and you can even do it in just one day. In India, the process is more complicated, such as overlapping authorities and lack of clear rules, thus it can take at least 12-18 days to incorporate your company.

  1. Immigration Requirements

Singapore has strict immigration rules based on skills and qualifications, while in India there are two main work visas, the Business Visa for short visits and the Employment Visa. In Singapore, foreign professionals, managers, and executive employees can get an Employment Pass or an EntrePass if they meet the conditions backed by ACRA. This visa will allow you to live in Singapore and travel in and out of the country without having to apply for an entry visa. The Employment pass is usually valid for 2 years and can be renewed after. 

  1. Taxes 

Singapore is very well-known for having low corporate taxes and no capital gains tax, which is very good for business. In India, there are a couple of different tax rates, thus any business needs to understand the complex tax system. Both countries also have a value-added tax (VAT) for goods and services. Singapore’s VAT rate is 7% for all products, while India’s VAT rates range from 5% to 28%, depending on the type of product. 

  • Corporate Tax

In India, corporate income tax is 25%, and there’s an additional 5% if a company’s yearly revenue is over 1 crore rupees (S$210,000). In Singapore, the top corporate tax rate is 17%.

  • Tax Exemption and Incentives

Singapore offers a 75% tax exemption on every business's first S$100,000 in chargeable income and a further 50% exemption on the next S$100,000 normal chargeable income, while India has various rules for withholding tax to non-residents.

  1. Filing Requirements

Singapore has clear and straightforward filing requirements. Thus, incorporating business in Singapore is a preferred choice for many. While on the other hand, India can be a bit complex and time-consuming. But, both India and Singapore companies are required to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) every year. In both countries, the first AGM must be held within 18 months from the date of the company’s incorporation.

Additionally, companies in both countries also need to prepare and audit their accounts at the end of each financial year, and these reports must be filed with the relevant registrars.

  1. Workforce

Singapore has a well-educated workforce, but it might cost more to hire. On the other hand, India has a huge and diverse labor force that is cost-effective, which makes it a popular choice for outsourcing. India is home to 1.3 billion people, which is the largest group of potential workers in the world. This means that there are not only many people to hire at a low-budget cost, but their middle class is also growing which means there are many people to target to buy your products and services.

  1. Business Language

When starting a business in another country, you may have to face a language barrier. While Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil are widely used in Singapore, English is their official language. Thus this will make it easier to facilitate international businesses in the country. In India, while English is widely spoken, India’s official language along with its main business language is Hindi.

  1. Location

India’s biggest advantage is its huge domestic market, and its ports are well-connected to major sea routes. Thus it is a splendid place to reach markets in Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, and Europe. With its new free trade agreements, doing business in India has a great opportunity to expand.

On the other hand, Singapore is in a strategic location in Southeast Asia, providing access to a dynamic market. Singapore has been a business hub for a long time, it sits right at the crossroads of the world’s three major economies; China, Japan, and India - and It’s also the gateway to Southeast Asia.

  1. Market Opportunities

In Singapore, the customers are mostly tech-savvy and have lots of money to spend. They like e-commerce and premium products. While on the other hand, in India the consumer base is huge as India is the most populous country. The population in India have a variety of different backgrounds, income, and preferences. 

Why Choose Singapore as Your Business Hub?

India is indeed growing and has the potential to be a country with a robust economy, but with the benefits that you can get from Singapore’s laws and incentives; foreign investors or business owners will find that building a business in Singapore is much easier, convenient, and provides lots of benefits. Its strategic location and non-existence of language barriers can also make you feel at home during your stay in Singapore.

Plan to incorporate your business in Singapore? Contact WealthBridge to help make the process smooth and stress-free!

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