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Epica Country Series

Setting Up a Business in Singapore from Malaysia

Singapore Malaysia Business Relations

Singapore is Malaysia’s biggest trading partner, with the import-export value of US$34.4 billion as per statistics in 2018. On the other side, Malaysia is Singapore’s third-biggest trading partner. Every day around 300,000 Malaysians transit across the Causeway and the Second Link (both are border crossings between Singapore and Malaysia) for work or study opportunities.

As of now, about 686,000 Malaysians are living in Singapore. It is about 12% of Singapore’s total native population of 5.62 million. Singapore is home to 37,400 international companies. Every year around 4,000 Malaysians set up a business in Singapore from Malaysia.

We have made a list of the important questions that they have and provided the answers to them in this simple guide. It will help you grab business opportunities and will give you all the knowledge you need for setting up your business in Singapore from Malaysia.

Why is Singapore a great place to set up a business from Malaysia?

The corporate tax rate is lower at 17%, as compared to Malaysia’s 25%. Newly set-up companies enjoy tax exemptions for three consecutive years. The process of setting up a business in Singapore from Malaysia is quite easy and does not take more than a day. As a foreigner, you can hold 100% shares of your company. Singapore is politically stable, and there is less corruption. Singapore has been ranked as the easiest country for doing business by World Bank for ten consecutive years.

In Singapore, it is easy to gain access to funds. There are multiple government grant schemes. Singapore is home to a broad angel investing network, and you can find various venture capitalist firms here. It is a great place for both startups and established businesses that are looking to expand globally.

Do I have to visit Singapore from Malaysia to set up my business?

No, you do not need to visit Singapore to set up your business from Malaysia. You only need to come once for opening the bank account. Local agencies will take care of everything else. You can even run your business from Malaysia effectively and conveniently.

Can I relocate to Singapore from Malaysia after setting up my business?

Yes, you can relocate to Singapore from Malaysia after setting up your business. You need to obtain EP (Employment Pass) to do so. To become eligible for an EP, you must provide yourself at least S$3600 as a minimum wage. This is the minimum salary requirement for graduates. The ideal salary for experienced people is S$6000-S$8000. It is also necessary if you decide to bring family members with you on Dependant Passes.

Is it necessary for me to hire employees for my Singapore company?

No, it is not necessary to hire employees for your company in Singapore. You only need a local director and a local secretary to meet the ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority) requirements. You can set up your business in Singapore and run it from Malaysia smoothly without hiring any employees.

What are the main requirements to set up my business in Singapore from Malaysia?

You need to fulfill three requirements for setting up your business in Singapore from Malaysia.

  • A Resident Director
  • A Corporate Secretary
  • A Local Address

You can apply for an EP if you wish to act as the resident director of the company. In case you want to run your business from Malaysia, you can hire a resident director. You can have as many directors in your company as you want, as long as there is one resident director.

A Corporate Secretary is responsible for reporting and administrative functions mandated by law. A corporate secretary must be qualified under the Legal Profession Act or must be a member of a relevant professional institute.

You need a local office address for business registration.

Epica provides all three services to you, so you need not bother yourself with them.

Where can I find a resident director for my Singapore company from Malaysia?

If there is no one to take up the role of director in your company, you can make use of our nominee director service. A nominee director will help you fulfill the ACRA requirements for setting up a company. You can discontinue the nominee director service after securing your EP.

If you intend to run your business in Singapore from Malaysia, you can keep a nominee director to meet the ACRA requirements. You cannot run your company from overseas without having at least one resident director.

A nominee director does not hold any authoritative power. Only you are responsible for operating your business and management decisions.

See also: Who is the Nominee Director?

What is the cost of setting up and running a business in Singapore from Malaysia?

S$1 can be the minimum paid-up capital. You can later increase it, so it is not an issue. But setting up and running a business comes with a cost. You need to consider the following costs for setting up and running your business in Singapore from Malaysia.

The average service cost provided by local incorporation agencies of setting up a business in Singapore is S$3000-S$5000. This cost includes the cost of company registration, government fee, a nominee director, company secretary, and local address. The service that would cost you the most is the nominee director service. It may cost you around S$2000.Some agencies would also take a security deposit of about S$2000 for providing this service. This deposit is kept as insurance for the nominee director.

An annual retaining fee of S$2500-S$5000is required for managing your business activities that include a nominee director, a corporate secretary, local address, and annual returns filing.

If you are willing to relocate to Singapore to operate your business, you are required to obtain an EP. An EP would cost you around S$1000-S$1500 but would save you the cost of hiring a nominee director.

You are required to pay around S$500-S$600 for the Dependant Passes, in case you plan to bring your family members with yourself.

S$50-S$500 must be paid to obtain licenses/permits for business activities like import-export and tourism. The costs of licenses/permits vary depending on the industries. This does not include the service cost charged by the local incorporation agent.

The monthly rent in Singapore for an office is S$800. You can opt for a co-working space, which would cost you around S$550.


Being home to about 686,000 Malaysian people, Singapore is the best place to set up a business from Malaysia. With Epica’s assistance, you can incorporate a company in less than a day. With easy access to government grants and angel investing networks, you will never run out of options to grow your business.

No deposit for Nominee Director Services

Free Singapore Phone Number for your Company

Foreigner Package

New Company Setup


Local Package

New Company Setup


Transfer Package

Existing Company


Singapore Branch

New Branch Setup


Representative Office

New Setup


BVI Company

Singapore Bank Account

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