Basic requirements for an ASEAN expansion

SEA’s GDP is growing at an estimated 5% and is expected to be the 3rd or 4th largest economy by 2030. With a 641 million population the market potential is pretty obvious. But of course, it is a challenge to expand a business into this emerging market.

Last week I attended to a pretty interesting session by In Corp Enterprise Services about what’s needed to open a company in different SEA countries. Singapore is definitely the easier option with very low minimum requirements:

No alt text provided for this image

But unfortunately that’s not so common in the rest of the SEA countries. So let’s check the situation for Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam:

Processing time for a new entity

No alt text provided for this image

Goes from a few days and steps in Singapore, to 3 months and a long process in Philippines. Interesting to check the World Bank’s ranking for a difficulty estimation.

Restrictions of foreign ownership and negative list

No alt text provided for this image

Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and to a certain extent Malaysia, maintain a foreign negative list that restricts foreign ownerships of entities formed locally. Depends on the industry of your business.

Local resident directors and secretaries

No alt text provided for this image

In Singapore is at least 1 local resident director that can be Singapore citizen, PR or employment pass holder. And at least 1 local resident company secretary.

Paid up capital requirements

No alt text provided for this image

As I mentioned earlier in Singapore the minimum capital is just 1$.

Corporate tax

No alt text provided for this image


Take all of this from my ignorance, but considering an expansion into SEA I believe it’s a great business opportunity for many. So I hope this can give some initial light to know what would require. Recommended to check these resources: Enterprise SingaporeSME portaland Startup portal.