Benefits of Setting Up a Singapore Holding Company


The purpose of setting up a holding company is not to produce goods or services but to hold shares in other companies (subsidiaries) which may be operating in many industries in different countries – this allows the holding company to control its subsidiaries and to reduce risks for the owners against subsidiary’s losses. The holding company is itself setup as a limited liability company and is operating ideally in a jurisdiction with strong legal, commercial and banking systems.

There are several considerations when setting a Holding Company to invest in Emerging Markets such as Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, & Vietnam – all of which are members of ASEAN.

Below are just some of the reasons why you should consider Singapore:

Double Taxation Agreement

You can minimize your tax legally by making use of the tax treaty signed between Singapore and all the ASEAN countries. Singapore has one of the best tax treaties with Myanmar.

No Tax on Foreign-Sourced Income

Foreign-sourced income is exempted from tax in Singapore if it meets certain conditions.

No Capital Gain Tax

When you dispose your share in the Singapore holding company there is no capital gain tax. It makes merger and acquisition easier.

Fund Raising

It is easy to raise capital in Singapore for start-ups and entrepreneurs as there is an established network of angel investors, venture capitalists and a strong capital market:

  • Singapore Exchange Listed company “Yoma Strategic Holdings” announced a $238 million investment in the company by Ayala Corp of the Philippines – 13/11/2019
  • Singapore Petroleum Corporation (a unit of PetroChina International) opened its first fuel filling station in Myanmar – 17/4/2019
  • Singapore’s Seed Myanmar Venture invest in MMTutors – 9/10/2018
  • Singapore angels invested six-digit in Myanmar’s Chate Sat – 3/10/2018
  • Singapore’s Seed Myanmar Ventures invested six-digit investment in delivery startup Marathon Myanmar – 10/9/2018
  • Myanmar’s edtech startup eSchool raised $100k from Singapore investors – 20/8/2018
  • Singapore Exchange listed company “Yoma Strategic Holdings” announced JV with Pernod Ricard to target leadership in Myanmar’s Whisky industry – 25/5/2018
  • Singapore’s Solar energy startup SolarHome raised $1.2m to take its PAYG solar energy solution to Myanmar – 22/2/2018
  • Singapore’s Campana raised $60m debt & equity for sub-sea cable network from Myanmar to Singapore – 22/1/2018
  • Myanmar’s Nexlabs raised six-digit funding led by Singapore VC firm VIMIC – 9/1/2018
  • Singapore Exchange listed company “Singapore Myanmar Investco Limited (SMI)” to develop Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brand in Myanmar – 28/2/2018. SMI is an investment and management company focused on the high-growth emerging economy of Myanmar. SMI adopts a diversified business model to capitalize on the strong trends in consumer spending, international tourism and infrastructure investment.
  • Singapore Exchange listed company “Memories Group Limited (MEMO)” began trading on SGX 5/1/2018. MEMO is focused on investing in the burgeoning Myanmar tourism industry.

Strong Reputation as a Financial Centre & Commercial Hub

Singapore’s reputation as stable and well-run country with strong rule of law is something that adds a shine to any company that is identified as a Singapore company when doing business internationally. It is easy to win trust and business with a Singapore branding.

Wealth Management Expertise

Singapore is the premier wealth management center in Asia. It is prized for its stability, strong rule of law, excellent tax law, strong anti-money laundering regulation and ease of doing business.

Top Talent Hub in Asia

Singapore is ranked by IMD World Talent Ranking as the top talent hub in Asia. It has an incredible pool of talents and professionals such as lawyers, financial consultants, insurers, auditors, engineers, doctors, architects, etc  that you can tap on.

Excellent Education Environment

For international companies that that setup holding company in Singapore and need to relocate the families of senior management to Singapore – one of the big draw is the excellent education system in Singapore . Singapore has consistently been ranked among the top 3 countries in the world on the OECD’s PISA Test (Programme for International Student Assessment).

Extensive Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with major economies

Most important FTAs that Singapore has is with US, China, Japan, S Korea, Australia & ASEAN. This allows qualified products to enter tariff free into the contracting countries. Singapore is one of the few countries that has FTA with both Taiwan and China separately – which diplomatically is a very difficult feat.

Repackaging your company’s identity to minimize friction

With the uncertain global trading environment and the deteriorating relationship between the US and China. It might be desirable for American or Chinese companies to repackage themselves as a Singapore company to invest in manufacturing in emerging markets and to export the manufactured products to China and the US without the fear of facing unnecessary tariff or non-tariff barriers. Singapore has excellent relationship with the US, China, Taiwan and even North Korea!

  • Trump-Kim (US-N Korea) Summit was held in Singapore on 12th June 2018
  • Xi Jinping – Ma Ying-jeou (China-Taiwan) Summit was held in Singapore on 7th November 2015.
  • The Hollywood hit movie Crazy Rich Asians was shot in Singapore and released in August 2018

Singapore Government’s Grant to help Singapore companies go overseas

Singapore JV companies with Singaporeans as one of the shareholders are eligible for up to S$ 20,000 in government grant when they take their business overseas. To learn more click here


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