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Company startup: Sri Lanka VS Singapore

Company startup:

Sri Lanka VS Singapore

In global entrepreneurship, selecting a location for a new company is as crucial as the business idea itself. The contemporary business environment offers many choices, each with unique benefits and potential hurdles. In this context, Sri Lanka and Singapore emerge as significant contenders, drawing attention from entrepreneurs worldwide. Sri Lanka, with its strategic position and growing economy, presents opportunities for businesses targeting local and regional markets. On the other hand, Singapore, with its unparalleled legal structure and conducive business environment, serves as a gateway for companies targeting Asian and global markets. Deciding between these two distinct business landscapes hinges on multiple factors, such as regulatory frameworks, taxation policies, and business operation ease. Availability of capital and a skilled workforce also play a crucial role. As a leading Singaporean corporate services entity, Fastcorp is committed to guiding entrepreneurs through the nuances of establishing their businesses in Singapore. This analysis seeks to highlight the essential considerations of initiating a business in Sri Lanka versus Singapore, equipping business owners with the knowledge to make strategic choices.

Regulatory and Legal Requirements for Company Registrations

Navigating regulatory and legal frameworks is crucial for entrepreneurs establishing companies, with the journey varying across different countries. Understanding the nuances between Sri Lanka and Singapore’s regulatory environments is essential for business owners deciding on their venture’s location.


Singapore’s company registration process is notably efficient and user-friendly, managed by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Entrepreneurs can swiftly register their business online via the BizFile+ system, contingent on having all necessary documentation prepared. The requirements are clear-cut, emphasizing transparency and rapid processing. Essential documentation includes the company’s name, a description of business activities, shareholder and director details, and a registered office address within Singapore. The government’s pro-business approach and transparent legal framework make Singapore appealing for company incorporation.

Additionally, Singapore’s corporate legal structure safeguards investors and business owners, consistently receiving high rankings in ease of doing business indexes. Its legal system, rooted in English Common Law, offers clarity and security for international enterprises. Conversely, Sri Lanka’s legal environment, while supportive of business, might involve more intricate regulatory scrutiny and administrative processes, potentially leading to longer setup times and increased operational complexity.

Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka offers strategic geographic advantages and a growing market but presents a more complex regulatory scenario for company registration. The process includes obtaining approval for the company name from the Registrar of Companies, followed by registration requirements similar to those in Singapore but demanding more extensive documentation and checks. The Department of Registrar of Companies oversees the incorporation process, which may extend over a longer period compared to Singapore’s swift procedures.

This contrast in the ease of company registration is often a pivotal consideration for entrepreneurs. Singapore’s streamlined, business-friendly environment facilitates a straightforward path to company registration. In contrast, Sri Lanka’s more layered regulatory landscape offers a vibrant yet slightly more challenging gateway to the market. Fastcorp is poised to support businesses through this journey, ensuring an efficient and compliant setup process.

Tax Implications for Businesses

The tax environment of a nation significantly influences its allure as a destination for company establishment. Sri Lanka and Singapore present distinct tax landscapes, each offering unique benefits and considerations for businesses. For entrepreneurs deliberating between these two markets, comprehending the tax implications is crucial.

Corporate Tax Rates

Singapore: Singapore boasts a favourable corporate tax framework aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and business expansion. The city-state’s corporate tax rate is a competitive 17%, placing it among the lowest globally. Additionally, the effective tax rate can be considerably reduced for new startups and SMEs through various tax exemptions and incentives.

Sri Lanka:  Conversely, Sri Lanka offers a diverse tax regime, with efforts underway to make it more conducive for business operations. The country’s corporate tax rates vary based on the nature of the business, generally hovering around 24% to 28%. Certain sectors, such as information technology, agriculture, and export-oriented businesses, enjoy lower rates to encourage investments.

Tax Complexity and Compliance

Singapore: Singapore’s transparent and consistent tax regime offers clear benefits, including an extensive network of DTAAs, which helps avoid double taxation for businesses operating across borders. The tax system is straightforward, making compliance easier for businesses.

Sri Lanka: Businesses in Sri Lanka may encounter a complex tax environment characterized by various exemptions and concessions that require careful navigation. The recent tax reforms aim to simplify the tax system, yet businesses must stay informed and compliant with the changing tax regulations to optimize their tax positions.


Tax Incentives and Exemptions

Singapore: New startups in Singapore benefit from a full tax exemption on the first S$100,000 of chargeable income for their initial three years. Additionally, partial tax exemptions and incentives for research and development further diminish the tax liability, promoting innovation and growth. 

Sri Lanka:  Sri Lanka provides various incentives and exemptions designed to stimulate business growth, particularly in strategic sectors for national development. Recent efforts aim to streamline tax processes to reduce the administrative burden on businesses, making the tax environment more business-friendly.

Fastcorp's Expertise

Singapore: Fastcorp is ideally positioned to assist businesses in leveraging Singapore’s tax advantages, ensuring a seamless and efficient setup process. Our expertise in navigating Singapore’s tax landscape ensures businesses can fully benefit from the city-state’s favourable tax policies.

Sri Lanka:  While Sri Lanka’s evolving tax landscape presents opportunities, diligent tax planning and compliance are crucial. Fastcorp can help businesses navigate these complexities, ensuring they can leverage sector-specific incentives effectively. Our guidance helps businesses optimize their tax positions in Sri Lanka’s dynamic environment.

Ease of Doing Business

Navigating the business landscape requires understanding a country’s bureaucracy, administrative efficiency, and regulatory framework. The ease of doing business significantly impacts entrepreneurs’ and investors’ decisions. Comparing Sri Lanka and Singapore reveals distinct differences influencing their appeal to business startups.


Singapore is celebrated for its high rankings in global ease of doing business indexes. This is due to its streamlined and efficient regulatory and administrative procedures. The city’s commitment to facilitating business operations is evident in its swift company registration process. Accessible through an integrated online platform, businesses can be set up within hours. This efficiency extends to various operational aspects, such as permit acquisitions, property registrations, and cross-border trading. Singapore’s regulatory environment is crafted to reduce bureaucratic obstacles, attracting entrepreneurs keen on exploring business opportunities in Asia.

Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka, while making efforts to improve its business climate, still grapples with bureaucratic complexities and regulatory variances. Despite these challenges, Sri Lanka is implementing reforms to enhance its business environment. This includes simplifying the process for starting a business and obtaining necessary permits. These reforms reflect the country’s dedication to fostering a more business-friendly atmosphere. This approach appeals to investors and startups, particularly in sectors identified as national development priorities.

Comparative Analysis:

The contrast in the ease of doing business between Singapore and Sri Lanka is stark. Singapore’s well-orchestrated policy landscape and regulatory transparency contrast with Sri Lanka’s evolving yet challenging business environment. Nevertheless, Sri Lanka’s strategic location as a gateway to South Asia offers unique opportunities. Businesses willing to navigate its complexities can find significant advantages.

Fastcorp’s Role:

For companies weighing options between Sri Lanka and Singapore, Fastcorp provides invaluable insights into both regulatory landscapes. Emphasizing Singapore’s efficient and business-conducive ecosystem, Fastcorp assists clients in leveraging this environment for successful company setup and growth. We highlight the strategic advantages of operating from Singapore for access to broader Asian markets.

Skilled Labour, Infrastructure, and Market Opportunities

Skilled Labour: Availability and Cost

Infrastructure Quality

Market Opportunities

singapore neobank

Skilled Labour: Availability and Cost

Singapore: Singapore has a highly skilled, multilingual workforce with a focus on finance, technology, and specialized sectors. Investments in education and training ensure a steady flow of talent. However, labor costs are higher compared to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka offers affordable, skilled labor, especially in IT, business process outsourcing, and light manufacturing. Companies may need to invest in training to meet international standards. The education system is improving, focusing on IT and English proficiency.

neobanks in singapore

Infrastructure Quality

Singapore: Singapore’s top-tier infrastructure supports efficient business operations with advanced transportation, high-speed internet, and world-class logistics. This robust infrastructure bolsters Singapore’s reputation as a leading business hub, offering seamless access to ASEAN markets and beyond.

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka is improving its infrastructure with investments in transport, urban development, and digital connectivity. However, businesses might find variability in infrastructure standards outside urban centers. Despite these challenges, Sri Lanka’s strategic location along major shipping routes offers unique advantages for trade and logistics-focused businesses.

neobanks in singapore

Market Opportunities

Singapore: Singapore’s strategic position as a gateway to Asia offers businesses market access across ASEAN, China, and India. The country’s trade agreements and economic policies facilitate easy entry into diverse markets, making it an attractive hub for regional headquarters and international operations.

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s market, though smaller than Singapore’s, offers opportunities in tourism, textiles, IT services, and other growing sectors. Its strategic location aids trade between East and West, providing access to Asian and Middle Eastern markets. Economic reforms and investment incentives aim to attract foreign investment and stimulate growth.

Accessing Funding, Capital Markets, and Investment Opportunities

Navigating the intricate world of funding, capital markets, and investment opportunities is crucial for establishing and scaling a business. Sri Lanka and Singapore offer contrasting landscapes that cater to diverse strategic financial needs and objectives for startups and established enterprises alike.

Access to Funding and Investment

Singapore: Singapore’s robust economic policies, transparent legal system, and stable political climate make it attractive for investors. The nation’s strategic position as a global financial hub provides access to various funding sources, including venture capital, angel investors, and government grants. Initiatives like the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) scheme by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) underscore the government’s commitment to fostering a conducive environment for new ventures.

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s emerging startup ecosystem is gaining momentum, attracting venture capital and angel investments. Its strategic location serves as a gateway to both Asian and African markets. While smaller in scale than Singapore, the Sri Lankan government is increasingly recognizing the value of startups. Policies aimed at stimulating early-stage funding and growth are being implemented. However, the local market size and nascent investment ecosystem pose challenges.

Capital Markets and Financial Support

Singapore: Singapore’s capital markets are highly developed, offering companies a platform for raising capital through public listings. The Singapore Exchange (SGX) is known for its efficiency and serves as a preferred listing location for companies seeking to expand their investor base across Asia and internationally. Singapore’s favourable tax regime and ease of listing make it an enticing option for businesses aiming for an initial public offering (IPO).

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) provides opportunities for companies to access public markets, though it operates on a smaller scale compared to Singapore. The market offers a platform for raising capital but businesses may find the process and regulatory requirements more cumbersome. However, Sri Lanka’s strategic efforts to enhance its financial services and capital market infrastructure signal a commitment to improving the business environment for public listings and investment.

Strategic Considerations

Singapore: For businesses deliberating between Sri Lanka and Singapore, the decision involves balancing market access, regulatory environments, and strategic financial objectives. Singapore provides a sophisticated, investor-friendly environment conducive to rapid expansion and international market access.

Sri Lanka: Conversely, Sri Lanka offers a unique strategic position with emerging opportunities in its startup and investment ecosystem. However, businesses must navigate a developing regulatory and market landscape.

Global Rankings at a Glance



Singapore’s Rank

Sri Lanka’s Rank


2024 Political Stability 2 153 World Population Review
2023 Index of Economic Freedom 1 136 The Heritage Foundation
2023 Global Talent Competitive Index 2 90 Insead
2023 Corruption Perceptions Index 5 115 Transparency International
2022 Corruption Perceptions Index 5 101 Transparency International
2020 Ease of Doing Business Report 2 99 World Bank
2018 Best Countries for Business 8 78 Forbes
2018 Trade Openness Country Ranking 3 140 The Global Economy


In the comparative analysis of starting a company in Sri Lanka versus Singapore, we’ve outlined critical differences. These include regulatory and legal frameworks, tax regimes, ease of doing business, skilled labor and infrastructure availability, market opportunities, and access to funding and investment. Singapore’s reputation as a streamlined, business-friendly environment offers regulatory clarity, competitive tax incentives, and robust intellectual property protection. Conversely, Sri Lanka’s strategic location, emerging market potential, and cultural richness present unique opportunities for businesses targeting South Asian and global markets.

For entrepreneurs deliberating between these economies, the decision hinges on specific business needs, industry sector, and growth strategies. Singapore’s strategic position and conducive business environment make it a global hub for innovation and fintech ventures. Sri Lanka’s growing economy and strategic location offer prospects for startups exploring new markets and cultural dynamics.

Fastcorp stands at the forefront of corporate consultancy, offering expertise in navigating Singapore’s corporate setup landscape. With a deep understanding of Singapore’s opportunities, Fastcorp guides entrepreneurs through establishing and scaling their ventures. We leverage Singapore’s dynamic ecosystem for business success.

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