Tips for doing business in Singapore

    Hello!! everyone, today we have tips for doing business in Singapore for everyone who interested to invest in this country. Singapore is the country that many investors interested to invest and do business there because Singapore is one of the world’s highest standards of living, Singapore is a prosperous, modern and clean country. The diverse population of Singapore, consisting mainly of Chinese, Malay and Indians, does not possess one single dominant national identity. Drawing on a variety of traditions, different ethnic groups all consider themselves important parts of the diverse society of Singapore. Successfully doing business with Singaporeans requires an understanding of the population’s different cultural traditions and background.

1. Singapore Culture – Key Concepts and Values

  • ‘Kiasu’ – The Singaporean concept of ‘kiasu’ literally means ‘fear of losing’ and is often used to describe the social attitude of Singaporean people. The concept refers to Singaporeans’ desire to always want to be the best, come first and never lose out. The word is so widely used by Singaporeans that it is incorporated into their English vocabulary. Kiasu has both positive and negative connotations; some say it keeps standards high whereas others claim it leads to a graceless society. The concept of Kiasu reflects the value Singaporeans place on competitiveness and strong work ethics.
  • Concept of Face – An important value in Singaporean culture is that of saving and maintaining ‘face’. To avoid losing face, Singaporeans control their behaviour and emotions
    in public, do not confront or criticise other people openly and employ an indirect communication style. Losing face has negative consequences on a person’s family and other social groups to which the person belongs as well as on individual reputation, credibility and authority.

2. Business practice

  • As each ethnic group has a different way of using names, it is advisable to ask a Singaporean what he/she would like to be called. When meeting a person for the first
    time, it is wise to use the appropriate title and last name until told differently.
  • A light handshake is the common form of greeting in business situations.
  • Normal business attire consists of dark trousers, long-sleeved shirts and ties for men, and blouses, skirts or trousers for women. Due to the hot and humid weather, jackets
    are not usually required. Although Singapore is a liberal country, women should make sure they do not wear clothes that are too revealing.
  • In business discussions, Singaporeans tend to be calm and composed and do not openly show their emotions. Speaking too loudly is considered rude.
  • Negotiations are often conducted at a slow pace and Singaporeans are likely to bargain hard.

3. DOs and DON’Ts

  • DO make sure you carefully inspect business cards from your Singaporean counterparts before putting them away.
  • DO speak in a quiet and gentle tone with your Singaporean counterparts.
  • DO be careful giving gifts, especially to government employees as this may be considered bribery which is prohibited by strict laws in Singapore.
  • DON’T take ‘yes’ from your Singaporean counterparts literally. Singaporeans will rarely answer a question with a blunt ‘no’. ‘Yes’ can mean maybe and even ‘no’.
  • DON’T make intense eye contact with a senior or older person as this will be seen as a sign of disrespect.
  • DON’T be impatient in business negotiations as this will be seen as a weakness by your Singaporean counterparts.
Jaraswan Jarasjaruwan or Pear is a full-time MIM student. She got a Bachelor’s of Science from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. After she graduated, she worked as an educational consultant in Thailand for 2 years. Pear chose to study international business at Portland State University because she is interested in the business field and also the reputation of the university. Currently, Pear is studying Chinese as a third language. Also, she will choose Global Marketing as her specialization in the Master of International Management program.
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