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Doing Business in Singapore VS The British Virgin Islands


Business Environment

The flexible legislative regime in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is among the main reasons it is often chosen as a jurisdiction for investment managers to set up their fund vehicles. At present, there are over 2,200 regulated funds and almost certainly a similar amount of unregulated fund vehicles established in the BVI. The BVI has three main characteristics investors are seeking, which is political stability, an efficient and reliable legal system and experienced industry practitioners on the ground.  The BVI is a top choice for companies and investors looking to set up offshore in the most reputable of offshore locales. The BVI has seen more than 160,000 companies registered in the territory even in spite of its small population size. The BVI has no corporate income tax, customs duties, wealth tax, or VAT. Nevertheless companies are required to maintain proper records and prepare annual accounts. Accounts do not have to be filed and auditing is not required, but copies of the accounts must be held available for inspection.


Benefits of Highest Reputation and Tax Exemption

Setup costs on the British Virgin Islands are slightly higher here than elsewhere and compliance screenings take slightly more time, but the overall value is great: Offshore companies on the BVI can enjoy the benefits of highest reputation and tax exemption. Also, the local authorities keep things very simple for offshore companies. All you need is a single shareholder and your company is up and running. You do not need to hold meetings in the state, nor does anybody involved in the business need to be a resident there. The British Virgin Islands are considered an overseas territory and unlike other commonwealth nations, it is still closely supervised by United Kingdom. The BVI has one of the largest, most developed, and most diversified economies in the Caribbean, with a nominal GDP of over $1 billion dollars (2008). The territory is home to only about 30,000 people. Since the adoption of the BVI International Business Companies Ordinance in 1984 there have been over 450,000 companies incorporated, demonstrating the dominance of the British Virgin Islands as a major offshore jurisdiction.


World’s Best Transportation Hubs For Sea and Air Cargo

As for Singapore, its favourable geographic location allowed Singapore to become one of the world’s best transportation hubs for sea and air cargo. Its container ports are the busiest in the world – they have 200 shipping lines with links to some 600 ports in 123 countries.The country currently has the most extensive network of free trade agreements (FTAs) in Asia. Singapore has already signed agreements with key economies such as US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, members of the European Free Trade Association, Jordan, China, Chile, South Korea, India and Panama. Negotiations are in progress for FTA agreements with Middle East and South Asian economies. Furthermore, Singapore has signed over 40 investment guarantee agreements (IGAs), which should help protect investments made by Singapore-based companies in other countries against non-commercial risks. Over the years, Singapore has made significant strides in many areas, notably in economic and living standards.


Robust in IP and Copyright Laws

To facilitate businesses who wish to make Singapore their home, the country has ensured that IP and copyright laws are robust and in synergy with global laws on IP protection. In fact, the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) was so impressed by Singapore’s reliable IP environment that it decided to set up it’s first Asian regional office here in 2009. In Singapore, there are over 123 commercial banks, 154 fund managers and 291 capital markets services license holders. This enables entrepreneurs to raise funds at rates as low as 1 percent per annum. So availability of funding, especially if you have a world-beater idea, is never an issue. Singapore has an extensive network of Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with over 50 countries. These agreements are designed to ensure that economic transactions between Singapore and the treaty country do not suffer from double taxation.