Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.
Trade Promotion and Advertising
There are many specialized trade magazines in Singapore and scores of trade fairs that can be used to promote U.S. goods and services. The major English-language daily newspapers are The Straits Times and The Business Times. The major Chinese daily is Lianhe Zaobao. Leads for local advertising and promotional service agencies can be found via the Singapore Yellow Pages. Major trade fair organizers include Informa Markets, RX Singapore, Experia Events and Koelnmesse.
Pricing is very competitive. Major department stores and retail chains offer fixed-price merchandise, while the smaller shops expect buyers to bargain. Hard bargaining is common in the commercial and industrial sectors as well, where buyers usually want a discount, and vendors inflate their initial offers accordingly. Credit terms of 30-60-90 days are common. Buyers will often retain 10% of the sales price for major electronic equipment purchases until the vendor has installed the machine and it is performing according to specifications.
Typical Product Pricing Structures: Depending on the type of product, importer mark-ups range from 20-40%, while retail mark-ups are often more than 100%. Industrial goods are brought in by stocking distributors, who add on at least 20% before sale to end-users, or by agents whose commissions generally run about 7-10%. These mark-ups are approximate and will vary widely, depending on the product and the contractual relationship.
Sales Service/Customer Support
Good sales and customer support are vital in Singapore. The market so prices competitive that client-focused sales support or customer service can make a big difference. Singapore distributors respond well to training on new products and if properly supported by the U.S. manufacturer, will do a good job cultivating old customers and developing new ones.
Local Professional Services
Legal Services: A list of service providers can be found at The Law Society of Singapore website.
Accounting and Tax Services: A list of service providers in accountancy, finance and business can be found at the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants website.
Principal Business Associations
The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) is the apex business chamber that champions the interests of the Singapore business community in trade, investment, and industrial relations. It represents 27,000 companies, as well as key local and foreign business chambers, that contribute significantly to the Singapore economy.
Its formation was to foster a more comprehensive organization and representation of the business community’s interests in Singapore and abroad.
As the apex business chamber, SBF presents a strong collective voice that:
• Acts as a bridge for between the business community, trade associations and government in Singapore to create and enhance an environment conductive to business.
• Represents the business community in bilateral, regional, and multilateral fora for the purposes of promoting trade expansion and business networking in Singapore and abroad
• Assists companies build competitiveness and resilience through capacity building initiatives and services
As a “Business Voice and Value Creator”, SBF is committed to advocating key issues that impact the Singapore business community, helping enterprises to internationalize globally, develop technology capabilities in the form of digitalization and transformation and assist enterprises in talent development, upskilling and manage manpower challenges.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmChamSG) is the largest and most active foreign chamber in Singapore and the largest in Southeast Asia, representing over 600 member companies and over 5,000 senior business leaders. The United States is the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment in Singapore, amounting to some US$270.8 billion. AmChamSG’s mission is to promote the interests of AmCham members in Singapore and the region by providing insights, advocacy, and connections through its programing and publications. AmChamSG represents its members at the highest levels of government in Singapore and Washington and advocates on policy issues concerning them.
Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services
The business limitations are confined primarily to the professional services such as the legal, accounting and tax services, and engineering and architectural services. Details can be found in the “Investment Climate Statement.”