Doing Business in Singapore
Despite being a small island with no natural resources, the government has made all the right moves to encourage growth. As a result, the country boasts an advanced economy driven by transparency and cooperation, and doing business in Singapore is surprisingly easy.
What's more, Singapore has come first out of 189 countries in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Survey for several years in a row, based on criteria such as starting a business, protecting investors, paying taxes and trading across borders.
The country is considerably Westernised and boasts high living standards. But with a diverse population consisting of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Arab people, expats will need to familiarise themselves with local business culture and etiquette if they want to be successful in Singapore.
Business culture in Singapore
Business culture in Singapore is based on relationships rather than transactions. Initial meetings may move slowly as a relationship is established, and expats should remain patient as connections are cemented.
A handshake is an appropriate greeting, and business cards should be offered formally with both hands. Address someone as Mr or Ms until they say otherwise is appropriate, but senior or older associates should always be addressed with respect.
Businesses in Singapore are stricly hierarchical and it's uncommon for junior employees and management to socialise.
Flattering or boasting is looked on with suspicion, and prolonged eye contact is seen as aggressive. Smoking is prohibited almost everywhere in Singapore, and many Singaporeans don’t drink.
Gift giving in Singapore is