More so than any other time in history, the digital revolution is changing the global economy through how it has enabled micro entrepreneurship around the world. This phenomenon is particularly prominent in Asia, where advancements in technology have dissolved many of the barriers that enterprising individuals used to face.
In this digital age, being an entrepreneur is no longer a sacrificial decision made by the passionate few, as it opens doors to a world of opportunities and a huge market for any business. In addition, the rising affluence in Asia has also resulted in greater freedom for many, who would otherwise be traditionally tied down by their filial or familial obligations.
1. Silicon Valley is no longer king
Silicon Valley may have started off as the “original” entrepreneurial ecosystem, but Asia is catching up, with the highest number of start-ups originating from countries like China, India and Singapore–a phenomenon that would not have been made possible without the digital revolution sweeping the world.
Student exchange programs and exposure to foreign markets in an increasingly globalized economy has also brought over much of the entrepreneurial spirit previously missing from the relatively conservative Asian culture, where most were risk adverse and more inclined to “traditional” job routes–and locals aren’t the only ones leading the trend. Increasingly, even foreign entrepreneurs prefer to set up shop in Asia, where the market is more dynamic, competition for certain sectors less intense; and overall costs are more manageable.
Emerging economic centers in Asia such as Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Singapore have already launched their own Silicon Valleys, leveraging on their understanding of the rapidly growing Asian markets to gain an advantage over their western counterparts.
Singapore–the new entrepreneur’s destination of choice?
Singapore in particular, seems to be at the epicenter of it all. With first-class infrastructure, government subsidies, grants and tax concessions, government policy is encouraging more and more to encourage entrepreneurship.
For any entrepreneur, Singapore stands out simply because it is extremely easy to do business there–after all, the tiny nation-state successfully bagged the World Bank’s top no. 1 rank for the Ease of Doing Business for the tenth consecutive year.
In addition, the huge number of tax incentives and concessions that businesses can enjoy help entrepreneurs save a huge amount of costs. For example, newly incorporated companies that meet the qualifying conditions can claim for full tax exemption on its first S$100,000 of chargeable income for each of its first three consecutive years of assessment. A further 50% exemption is given on the next S$200,000 of chargeable income for each of the first three consecutive years of assessment .
2. Timing is perfect
More importantly, the key reasons why so many companies, whether start-up or multi-national corporations look towards Singapore, is the magic combination of its highly educated bilingual workforce and the impressive 74 Double Taxation Agreements (“DTAs”), 41 Investment Guarantee Agreements (“IGAs”) and 21 Free Trade Agreements (“FTAs”) / Economic Partnership Agreements (“EPAs”) , which facilitates foreign investment and trade whilst relieving companies of the additional costs of double taxation.
For example, Rikvin, a one-stop corporate solutions provider, assisted a U.S. based telecommunications company that wished to expand its market reach to India through an acquisition of a mobile app company based in India, but was initially hesitant due to the anticipated bureaucratic and tax problems of this multi-jurisdictional investment.
With Rikvin’s advice and assistance, the U.S. based telecommunications company incorporated a subsidiary based in Singapore to invest in the said Indian mobile app company . By doing so, this enabled it to capture the lucrative market in India, whilst reducing its exposure to tax problems that could have arisen due to the multi-jurisdictional investment.
Through Rikvin’s expertise in tax, the U.S. holding company now enjoys a tax-efficient structure through its subsidiary in Singapore; and can enjoy deferred tax benefits. Moreover, Singapore presents an uncomplicated business environment and is an established financial hub. Companies that wish to leverage off the benefits of Singapore’s DTAs, IGAs, FTAs and EPAs would do well by consulting Rikvin, a one-stop corporate solutions provider that prides itself on its knowledge and expertise on Singapore’s business friendly policies; and its use of innovative software that makes it the fastest incorporator of companies in Singapore.
Complementing its trade friendly policies is the nation-state’s close proximity to the emerging economies in Asia. In 2014 alone, Singapore’s world-class Changi Airport managed an impressive 54.1 million passengers ; and the nation-state is within six hours’ flight from half of the world’s population, a statistic that will further improve as technology enhances the speed and efficiency of travel. Digital entrepreneurs on the other hand, are especially comforted by the fact that Singapore is ranked second globally for its intellectual property protection, as noted in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 .Naturally, if reaching out to the exciting Asian market is something you’re considering, start right by getting on board with one of the experts in the business. Regardless of the size of your company, getting a foothold into the lucrative Asian market should be a strategic move made with the help from reliable and experienced business advisors.