Sales Representative in Singapore

Overview by

Commercial Intermediaries

Trading Companies
  • Type of Organization
In Singapore, it can take the shape of an Agent or a Distributor. An agent acts as an importer and typically purchases the product on his own account and stocks the products before selling it to the retailer or even to an end user.
  • Type of Organization

There are two types of wholesalers:

- Import-export wholesalers. They are particularly useful for their logistic organization, information processing, product promotion and selection.

- Normal wholesalers who mainly offer a logistic service, stocking goods so as to supply retailers, as they need them.

However distribution and sales channels in Singapore are simple and direct.

Using a Commercial Agent

The Advantages
Appointing an agent can be advantageous since they have a better understanding of Singapore market and can take care of your interests in your absence. Also, because of Singapore's role as a regional hub most local distributors will also have knowledge of regional distribution rules and regulations.
Where to Be Vigilant

Though due diligence study is necessary before establishing a relationship, but generally most of the Singapore companies are aggressive when it comes to representing new products and usually respond enthusiastically to new opportunities.

Elements of Motivation
Exclusivity, higher sales commissions, incentives for achieving sales targets, etc.
The Average Amount of Commission

- 3% to 10% for regular business transactions, and from 10% to 20% for occasional transactions

- 1 to 5% in the case of bulk materials (iron ore or coal)

- up to 25% in the case of medical, laboratory, scientific analytical instruments, and software products.
Breach of Contract
It depends upon the terms and conditions of the contract. But, in case the local agent goes to court, the foreign company can expect a fair judgment.
Finding a Commercial Agent
Find Sales and Distribution Service Providers in Singapore on

Setting Up a Commercial Unit

The Advantages
Setting up a commercial unit in the country is an advantage for tax reasons.
Where to Be Vigilant
Setting up a commercial unit in Singapore should be considered in case the foreign company has long term business interests in the country.

Also, one must be vigilant about factors like cost of the office space, and availability of desired manpower.

Different Possible Forms of Settlement
  • A Representative Office
Such an office can obtain market data and other information and provide necessary promotional and service support. A representative office has to register with International Enterprise Singapore. Expatriate employees have to apply to Ministry of Manpower for employment passes. However, a representative office must not involve itself in commercial transactions.
  • A Branch Office
A branch office may take and fill orders and carry out a full marketing program, including advertising, recruiting a sales force, and performing promotional activities. A branch office must file regular financial statement with ACRA.
  • A Company
Setting up a wholly-owned corporation will involve more time and expense, but it can offer an effective means of guaranteeing better protection for proprietary information, obtaining credit, and penetrating markets.


Evolution of the Sector
Franchising is very popular and well developed means of marketing in Singapore. There is a good growth potential for franchises as the Singapore government continues to actively promote franchising as a form of small business start-up and expansion and encourages the acquisition of foreign master franchises.
Some Big Franchises
McDonald's, fast food
Starbucks, coffee
Ben and Jerrys, ice creams
Carls' Jr., fast food
Avis, Car rent
Hertz, Car rent
Contours Express, sport
For Further Information
Franchising and Licensing Association of Singapore
Singapore International Franchise Association
Find more on about Selling to Singapore.

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