For Navin Suri, who was heading Bank of New York Mellon’s asset management business in Hong Kong, Singapore was the obvious choice when it came to setting up.
He said he had always heard about the “ease of doing business” in Singapore, but even he was taken aback when it took him less than 30 minutes to set up his data technology company in 2014.
From getting his registration number to signed MoUs, it all got done between 10.40 and 11.10 pm SGT. “I even got a prompt from the government with suggestions as to how I could set up a website,” says Suri, co-founder of Percipient.
South East Asia is also a fantastic gateway for startups looking to go global. Chandrima Das, the founder of Bento, says they were working towards an international clientele and hence their decision to be based in Singapore and focus on the Asean market to start with. “Today my focus on the Asian market has paid out. We are actively targeting and working with clients in Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and other countries. For instance, we work today with Siam Commercial Bank, which has an 11 million customer base, a base we have acquired despite, or because of being based in Singapore. If you look at just Singapore the entire population base is 5.6 million,” she says.
Das says being regulated in Singapore also helps immensely. “Because not only are the Singaporean authorities fast and efficient, they are also highly stringent when it comes to security checks and audits. After we got our fund management license from Singapore, we knew it would be much easier for us to enter Thailand and Indonesia,” she says.