Singapore is emerging as the number one destination for Indian companies and they already cover the variety of business branches. At the end of the previous year, Indian firms invested USD 2.06 billion in Singapore making a total direct overseas investment of USD 2.49 billion, which is a 32% increase from December two years ago.However, this comes as no surprise, given that Singapore is a prominent business center in the world, closer than other popular destinations such as Paris or London.Likewise, these two countries have a lot in common. Firstly, India and Singapore have established quite a flow of trade between them. And secondly, they share the common law, English language, but most importantly, the success of the InMobi Company.
Regarding the law, the existing flow of trade comes from the signed India-Singapore third protocol for amending the double tax treaty from 1994. With this new agreement, the double taxation agreement (DTA) on transfer pricing is eliminated, providing much better conditions to Indian companies in Singapore regarding capital gains as well as the capital on the sale of shares.
Therefore, the smartest business move is incorporating an Indian company in the Singapore market. But before making the final decision, be sure to follow the footsteps of InMobi to secure the success through steady market growth.
How InMobi Turned from a Startup to a Leading Brand
InMobi is a global mobile advertising and discovery network giant with over 1.5 billion unique mobile devices worldwide. This platform differs from the rest, as it enables customers to discover new products and services while allowing the brands, developers, and publishers to engage consumers via mobile advertising at the same time.
The company’s CEO, Naveen Tewari, founded the company with his team in 2007 which made a remarkable impact and spread over time to 22 offices in 17 countries across 5 continents. Known as the mKhoj at first, the brand was later renamed to InMobi to suit the international public better.
That being said, the company didn’t immediately experience such success. The growth was only visible a few years later thanks to the KPCB and Softbank funding which helped the firm to grow and scale in various markets.
On the other hand, Naveen gladly shares his entrepreneurial insights, claiming it’s much easier nowadays to reach 100 million people with smaller budget investments. In addition, he advises working on innovative ideas and launching them, so if the project gains traction just put the money in it. Or at least, that is the way InMobi experiments over the market.
Another useful piece of advice for startups is to let go of common misconceptions that you need more people for an organization to grow. Naveen says: “You need to ensure that you don’t grow your team size as you scale. You may not need a thousand, maybe just ten. By adding more people you essentially are slowing down the system.”
So when we look at the InMobi business operations, it makes sense the fact they have doubled or tripled down on technology. According to Naveen, “We have built multiple platforms to go after the entire value chain of the ad business. We made acquisitions to fill that up. We have also deepened our strengths in local markets – in the UK, Europe and launching ourselves in Korea, China, and Japan.”
But the entire focus of InMobi is not mainly directed to the global market. In order to become a thriving business, organizations need to show appreciation for their workforce. Yet again, InMobi took over the title of the most colorful working space which takes care of their employees.
Simply put, basic business requirements include:
- Recognizing the market potential;
- Working on innovative ideas;
- Investing in projects which gained traction;
- Scaling the business with a few essential employees;
- Caring for the workforce and work environment;
Choosing Singapore Means Procuring Numerous Business Perks
Talking about market potential, Indian companies should recognize all of the perks Singapore has to offer. There must be some alluring benefits, since so many organizations shift their base or incorporate the Singapore holding company, even if their principal target is the Indian market.
We have already mentioned the double taxation agreement changes, but what does this actually mean for the business? The benefits of DTA between India and Singapore are:
- The profits of an enterprise are taxable only in the state where the business is carried out. Meaning, company’s taxes will only be charged in India, if the Singapore-based business has a permanent establishment there.
- DTA taxes are lower than tax rates in the countries who are parties to the agreement.
- DTA taxes on interest are 10% of the total amount if the interest is paid on a loan (or guaranteed by the bank) and 25% of the total amount in other cases.
- DTA tax rate for royalties is 10-15% depending on the type of royalty for non-residents.
- DTA dividend taxes are 10% for the minimum of 25% of shares a recipient company holds and 15% for other cases.
- DTA between India and Singapore encourages bilateral cooperation by exempting the Singapore resident from capital gains both in India and Singapore in the case of selling shares of the Indian company. However, this doesn’t apply to those trying to take advantage of the capital gains exemption because the treaty added “Limitation of Benefits (LOB)” clause for this particular purpose.
Although capital gains taxes were applicable only in the investor’s resident country, due to the new amendment it was validated for the shares acquired before April 1, 2017. What the new amendment implies is that between April 1, 2017–March 31, 2019, for capital gains tax on the sale of shares in the country where the company is a resident, the rate of capital gains tax will be 50%, as opposed to the previous and future taxation with a 100% tax rate.
Another Successful India-Singapore Example
Around the time InMobi was founded, another company started to flourish. Flipkart or an online shopping destination business is a good example of a company worth USD 11 billion incorporated in Singapore with operations in India. Up until this date, company founders Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal had the luck of receiving a total $2.5 billion of investments from 16 investors.
Like InMobi, they started as a start-up business with only $6,200 of the budget invested in website creation. Later on, they gathered the necessary funds in 11 rounds, which boosted the company’s growth to the powerhouse it is today.
The reality is that many people look at moving their business to Singapore as a lucrative business strategy. And the reason is quite obvious; being a business pro-active environment with a low tax rate, Singapore attracts Indian entrepreneurs. Multiculturalism and diversity are yet another powerful attractor.
At the end, there is nothing risky or dangerous preventing entrepreneurs from taking their business to Singapore. Since all the roads lead to profit and productivity, Singapore awaits those wishing to explore new business opportunities.
When it comes to building a business from scratch or scaling it, Singapore is the place to go. The benefits it offers to Indian-Singapore collaboration are too good to be missed. Hence, many high-profile Indian business forces and inventive entrepreneurs rush to settle up and grow their roots in Singapore. After all, it is the number one destination in the world for the ease of incorporating a company and doing a booming business with low taxes, guided by their generous government laws.