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Thanks to a unique infrastructure, flexible tax system and minimal bureaucracy, Singapore is a favourable and prestigious country, in which to establish a business.
When setting up a Singapore Business, the most common legal form for foreign investors is the private company limited by shares (Pte. Ltd.). A private limited company is defined as a local incorporated company with no more than 50 shareholders. Shareholders' liability is limited to the amount of their paid-up capital contribution.
There are many advantages of a private limited company for foreign investors. It protects the personal assets of individual investors, unlike proprietorship or partnership, and provides tax benefits under certain conditions. With private limited company, the dividends payable to shareholders are not taxable. Additionally, it allows shareholders and foreign directors to apply for an Employment Pass.
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Following three quarters of subdued performance, activity in the domestic economy picked up strongly by 12.3% q-o-q saar in Q4 2016. The turnaround largely reflected robust expansions in the traderelated sectors, particularly in electronics and biomedical manufacturing. In addition, the modern services cluster recorded an improvement in performance, led by the financial sector, which saw buoyant activity in the sentiment-sensitive segments. However, domestic-oriented activities were weak. For the year as a whole, GDP grew by 2.0% in 2016, a pace broadly similar to the 1.9% registered in 2015. Nonetheless, the composition of growth had shifted. Modern services, which anchored the Singapore economy in 2015, saw a sharp slowdown in momentum in 2016, weighed down in part by lacklustre demand for financial intermediation services. In comparison, activity in the trade-related sectors recovered in 2016, as headwinds such as the expiration of drug patents, which had impacted pharmaceutical production the year before, dissipated. Semiconductor output also rebounded, as domestic producers were able to leverage on resilient demand for Chinese mid-tier smartphones and inventory-building activity across the global IT supply chain in the latter half of the year.
The manufacturing sector expanded by 39.8% q-o-q saar in Q4 2016, in its best sequential performance since Q1 2011. Gains were underpinned by a 31.4% q-o-q sa surge in pharmaceutical output, as well as a strengthening in the electronics cluster. Notably, growth of the semiconductor segment accelerated to 19.9% q-o-q sa, from 7.5% the quarter before, amid the cyclical upturn in the global IT industry. Concomitantly, the precision engineering cluster grew by 6.0%, supported by firm demand for semiconductor equipment, particularly from China, as the latter sought to insource more intermediate products.
The financial services sector saw a 36.5% q-o-q saar rebound in activity in Q4 2016, compared with a mild 0.7% expansion in the preceding quarter. The step-up in outturns largely reflected the performance-based fees earned and recognised at year-end in the fund management industry. Sentiment-sensitive activities such as security dealings and forex trading benefited from the rally in global financial markets, with turnover values of the local bourse and the forex market growing by 12.2% q-o-q and 3.4% q-o-q, respectively. Among the financial intermediation segments, domestic non-bank lending grew by 2.3% q-o-q in Q4, supported by a recovery in business lending to corporates in the trade-related segments. While offshore non-bank loans continued to contract, the pace of decline moderated compared to the preceding quarter, amid tentative signs of a recovery in trade financing.
Business services grew marginally by 0.3% q-o-q saar in Q4, following a 1.0% contraction in Q3. A recovery in corporate demand for headquarter functions and accounting services helped to offset the sustained weakness in the architectural & engineering services segment, which was impacted by the still-contracting marine & offshore engineering (M&OE) industry. Meanwhile, following a 3.6% q-o-q saar pullback in the preceding quarter, the information & communications sector also registered modest growth of 0.9% in Q4. Notably, telecommunications activity saw improved outturns on the back of healthy demand for mobile and broadband data, as well as digital home services.
For more information refer to MAS.
Evening picture in central business district.