Starting a Publishing Company in Singapore

Staff Writer

March 6, 2023

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Why Start a Publishing Company in Singapore?

Singapore is known for its ease of doing business, which makes it a popular destination for companies and startups to incorporate. Opening a publishing house, a digital media company, or any other type of publishing business can be a lucrative venture to dive into, especially when incorporation is made easy.

Singapore’s publishing industry has undergone major shifts over the years, especially with the popularity of digital media and self-publishing. There is a strong demand for high-quality prints, pieces, and publications in Singapore, and the country’s Intellectual Property policies provide protection to content creators across all forms of media. 

These factors make it enticing to start a publishing business in the country, and our guide will help you through the step-by-step process in starting your own publishing company in Singapore. Here’s how:

How to Start a Publishing Company in Singapore

Step 1: Determine the Type of Publishing Business

There are multiple types of publishing: from print publishing like books, magazines, and newspapers, to the more modern digital publishing. Determining the type of publishing business you want to start will depend on your target audience, and will determine the licences and permits the business must obtain later on.

The business structure of the company also matters when deciding to start a publishing company as each structure has its own set of requirements and regulations to comply with. For instance, a partnership or limited liability company is required to have at least one resident director or shareholder, but a sole proprietorship does not. 

Step 2: Register the Business with ACRA

Once the type of publishing business has been established, the company will need to register with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), through their online application site, BizFile+. In the site, you should find the requirements needed to register the business relative to the type of publication, and business structure of the company. 

Fill out the necessary forms, submit the required documents, and pay the registration fee of SGD300, then wait for approvals. The business may also need to register the business name to reserve it, which will incur an additional fee of SGD15.

Step 3: Apply for Licences and Permits

Publishing companies are strictly regulated by Singapore’s Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Media Development Authority (MDA), and the National Library Board (NLB). As such, publishing companies must obtain necessary permits before conducting any business activities related to publishing or media. 

This is mainly done to ensure that the information disseminated across the various media platforms are within the legal rights of a business to publish, and to help foster the growth of Singapore’s media industry. 

Step 4: Plan Out the Premises

The publishing company can now operate given the business registration, and the permits from governing bodies. The next step is to plan out the premises – the office – in which the company will operate from. 

Print publishing companies often require large spaces for printers, cutting machines, and more. Digital publications often need space for computers, working areas, and photoshoot areas, when applicable. Planning out the premises will help conduct smooth operations later on.

Step 5: Hire Employees

Hiring the right people can be challenging, particularly when it comes to media and information dissemination. Employees in publishing companies should not only excel in copywriting and creatives, but they must also uphold the ethics and essentials of journalism. The company must hire employees who will not spread information prior to publication as well.

Additionally, you will need to hire employees for administrative, office, and janitorial roles. If the company deals with photoshoots, field work, and publications that require filming crews, then hiring employees for these roles are also important. 

Step 6: Build Your Network

The media industry is highly competitive, and the most successful ventures are those who understand how to tap into their networks effectively. Build your network accordingly, and foster positive relationships with editors, distributors, print companies, reporters, and other parties that will aid in the acceleration of the company. 

For instance, a news media company should have first-hand information about the latest happenings and keep up to date with trends, reports, and other news tidbits. Consumers are not interested in reading stale news, and successful news media often publishes information ahead of its competitors. 

Step 7: Keep Up to Date

Finally, the publishing company will need to keep up to date with the latest trends in the industry to remain relevant. This goes for all publication types, not just news media and gossip magazines. Keeping up with the latest trends will help the company grow and evolve, instead of becoming stagnant.

What Business Licences and Permits are Required for Publishing Companies

Among the licences needed by publishing companies in Singapore are:

  • Newspaper Permit
  • Printing Press Licence
  • Advertisement Licence
  • Wide-area private Network Licence
  • Permit to Reproduce Singapore Currency Designs
  • Localised Private Network License
  • Localised Radio Communication Licence
  • General Radio Communication License
  • Licence to Discharge Trade Effluents

Digital publications, however, do not currently require permits or licences to operate. However, digital publications must still register with the MDA, particularly if the company offers subscription fees for their media. 

Incorporate with Ease

Make business incorporation in Singapore simple with WealthBridge, and let our team handle the paperwork for you. Our team can assist you with corporate services - from getting your registration paperwork done, to nominee director services, and accounting. 

Start your business right, and contact us at WealthBridge for more information.

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