5 Best Cities in Asia to Set Up Businesses for Foreigners

Starting a business overseas could be twice as strenuous as doing it in your own country. You have to discern other country’s tax regulations as well as their laws when it comes to setting up a business.

If you are looking for a country with low startup costs and limited bureaucracy, the Asian region is one of the best options.

A 2016 survey by the US News Best countries revealed that these Asia-Pacific cities topped the list as the best places for new business:


Gone were the days when Thailand is extremely against foreign startups.

The Thai government has begun to ease up some regulations about business ownership. Foreigners planning to set up a business in Thailand can now enjoy the tax and legal incentives to launch their business in the country.

According to Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Country Director for Thailand, the country is steadily making progress to ease the process of doing business.

Kuala Lumpur

The Malaysian government has a broad range of incentives to investors. It will only take two days to file the necessary documents with the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

The entire registration and business establishment process will not take you more than a week to complete.


With a goal to increase investments, the Philippine government has recently amended the limitations on foreign investments.

One of which is the new law that allows full foreign ownership in finance companies.

Even President Rodrigo Duterte is open to amending the constitution to extend foreign ownership in business corporations in the Philippines.


Singapore has a younger, educated population that can provide the skilled work that is essential in labor market.

When it comes to digital connectedness and logistics performance, Singapore is the only Asian country that made it to the 2016 Digitalization Index of trade credit insurer Euler Hermes.

If you want to live and manage your own business in Singapore, simply get the approval from the Ministry of Manpower before registration.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong strives to lessen the paperwork related to starting a business.

The government has a one-stop company and business registration service that does the job in as fast as two days.

Furthermore, you can take advantage of the reasonable registration fees in Hong Kong.

The Best Asian Business Setup for Foreigners

While these Asian countries are accommodating when it comes to foreign investors, you also have to consider that they still have a few restrictions. Study their regulations first before coming up with a business plan.

Moreover, take extra steps in deciphering these limitations before making your final decision.

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