Singapore VS. Thailand – Which Is Better For Doing Business

  • Post category:Singapore

Singapore vs Thailand, two well-known South East Asian nations, are frequently thought of as jurisdictions suited for a company’s Asian headquarters as corporations around the world embrace a look-east policy.

Singapore vs Thailand

In the World Bank’s “Doing Business” assessment from the previous year, Thailand came in at number 18, just behind first-place Singapore.


Company Incorporation

Due to its low-cost competitiveness, Thailand draws in business from the advanced Western nations. Thailand has not yet caught up to Singapore in terms of business facilitation, although making some improvements over the past five years.

According to the World Bank Doing Business report, Singapore company registration is simpler than incorporating a business in Thailand. When it comes to “Starting a business,” Thailand is in 91st place, with Singapore holding the third spot. Singapore merely requires 3 steps and 1-2 days to incorporate a corporation. On the other hand, it takes 27.5 days and 4 procedures to establish a business in Thailand. 

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) oversees corporate service providers, public accountants, financial reporting, business registration, and financial reporting in Singapore.

Moreover, Singapore makes it much simpler and quicker to obtain a building permit. In Singapore, obtaining a construction permit takes just 26 days, vs 157 days in Thailand, according to the Doing Business report. The longest waiting period for a building permit is 73 days, according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority. In Singapore, it takes 10 days to get a building plan approved.


Singapore’s corporation tax rate is restricted at 17%, while Thailand’s is 20%. Singapore was ranked fifth globally in the Doing Business report by the World Bank due to its competitive tax rates and effective online tax filing and payment processes. 

On the other side, Thailand comes in at number 70 for the same criterion. Businesses in Thailand make 22 tax payments a year and invest 264 hours in filing, preparing, and paying taxes, according to the Doing Business report. Singaporean enterprises, in contrast, spend 82 hours annually filing, preparing, and paying taxes, and they make five tax payments.

Foreign investment

The government of Singapore provides various incentives for international companies to locate in the city-state. Singapore encourages free trade and places few restrictions on international business dealings. Thailand’s legal framework can be complex and bureaucratic, and its tax incentives are more focused on specific sectors and regions. However, Thailand has established “investment promotion zones” to encourage foreign investment.

Intellectual property protection

Singapore has a well-established and robust legal framework for intellectual property protection, which includes strong laws for trademarks, patents, and copyright. The country is also a signatory to numerous international IP treaties and conventions and has a dedicated Intellectual Property Office (IPOS) that provides various services and initiatives to help businesses protect their IP.

On the other hand, Thailand has been making efforts to improve its IP protection regime, but it still faces challenges such as high levels of piracy and counterfeiting. The country has implemented various measures to strengthen its IP laws, including establishing a dedicated IP court and working with international organizations to improve enforcement.


Singapore’s bureaucracy is known for being highly efficient, transparent, and corruption-free. The government is proactive in implementing policies and initiatives that help businesses thrive. The country has also been investing heavily in digital infrastructure, which has further streamlined bureaucratic processes and made it easier for businesses to operate.

In Thailand, the bureaucracy can be more complex and slow-moving. Corruption can also be an issue in some areas, which can make it more difficult for businesses to operate. However, the government has been working to improve the business environment and reduce bureaucracy and has implemented various reforms to streamline processes.

Overall, while both countries offer advantages for doing business, Singapore is generally considered to have a better bureaucracy and is more conducive to business growth. 

Labor Force

Both domestically and internationally, Singapore offers a workforce that is highly educated and skilled. According to the Global Competitiveness Report, Singapore has the best “Labour Market Efficiency” in the world. Using the same measure, Thailand was placed 62nd.

Living Environment

In terms of the living environment, both countries offer a high quality of life, but there are some differences to consider. Singapore is known for its clean streets, efficient public transportation, and excellent healthcare system. However, Singapore is also known for its high cost of living, which can be a challenge for some people. Thailand, on the other hand, offers a lower cost of living, a vibrant culture, and a warm climate. However, there may be issues with air pollution in some parts of Thailand, and the healthcare system may not be as advanced as Singapore’s.

Here are some rankings for various factors that may affect the living environment in Singapore and Thailand:

Factor Singapore Rank Thailand Rank
Quality of Life 25 63
Cost of Living 14 55
Healthcare System 6 58
Education System 3 49
Environmental Quality 39 121
Personal Safety 14 20

Here is a table summarising the rankings of Singapore and Thailand in the “Ease of Doing Business” report for 2022:

Indicator Singapore Thailand
Overall Rank 2 21
Starting a Business 3 84
Dealing with Construction Permits 1 37
Getting Electricity 9 59
Registering Property 2 77
Getting Credit 3 47
Protecting Minority Investors 5 33
Paying Taxes 1 97
Trading Across Borders 10 54
Enforcing Contracts 4 63
Resolving Insolvency 1 25


Year Category Singapore’s Rank Thailand’s Rank Source
2016 Ease of Doing Business 1 49 World Bank, 2016 Ease of Doing Business Report
2015-2016 World’s Most Competitive Economy 2 32 World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report
2016 Ease of Paying Taxes 5 70 PWC, IFC, World Bank’s 2016 Paying Taxes Survey
2015 World’s Freest Economy 2 75 Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom
2015 World’s Best Country for Expat Financial Quality of Life 2 20 HSBC’s 2015 Expat Economics Report
2015 Country with Least Corruption Perception 8 76 Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index
2015 World’s Best Country for Business 8 75 Forbes’ Best Countries for Business Index
2015 World’s Most Competitive Economy 1 30 IMD, World Competitiveness Yearbook
2014 Country Most Open to Trade 1 57 World Economic Forum, Global Enabling Trade Report
2010 Most Efficient Bureaucracy in Asia 1 3 Political and Economic Risk Consultancy Survey 2010
2010 Best Place for Asians to Live 1 62(Bangkok) ECA International’s 2010 Location Ratings System
2010 World’s Lowest Risk City for Employers 3 54 Aon Consulting’s People Risk Index
2009 Country with Lowest Tax Misery 11 14 Forbes Tax Misery and Reform Index

Reach out to us at Relin Consultants to know more.


Which country is more business-friendly?

Singapore is often considered the most business-friendly country in the world due to its low taxes, efficient government bureaucracy, and strong legal system. Thailand, while also relatively friendly to business, can be more challenging due to bureaucracy and corruption.

What are the tax rates like in each country?

Singapore has some of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world, with a headline rate of 17% and various tax incentives available for certain industries. Thailand’s corporate tax rate is currently 20%, with some exemptions available for certain types of businesses.

How easy is it to set up a business in each country?

Setting up a business in Singapore is generally straightforward and can be done online within a few days. In Thailand, the process can be more complicated and time-consuming, with more paperwork and regulations to navigate.

Which country has a better workforce?

Both Singapore and Thailand have highly educated and skilled workforces, but Singapore is known for its exceptional talent pool in areas such as finance, technology, and engineering. Thailand has a larger population, which can make it easier to find workers in certain industries.

What are the cultural differences when doing business in each country?

Both Singapore and Thailand have unique cultural differences that can affect how business is conducted. Singapore is a highly cosmopolitan and diverse city-state with strong Western influences, while Thailand has a more traditional and hierarchical culture with a focus on relationships and personal connections.