How to Choose a Company Name in Singapore

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If you are planning to open a company in Singapore, the first step you need to take is to choose a name for your business.

You need to submit a name application through ACRA’s online business registration and filing portal Bizfile. The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) does the name approval. The ACRA can refuse your company name registration if it is identical or sounds the same as a company already registered.

How to choose your company name in Singapore? What names are allowed? What are the steps for registering the company name?  If you have all these questions in your mind, then check out this guide to help you come up with a perfect name for your company.

Generating Your Company Name

While opening a company in Singapore is a challenging task, picking a company name can be even more challenging. The name that you choose should reflect your business image and should be the identity of your business. It is always best to have a list of potential names for your business before ultimately settling on one. Before you select your company name, here are some points to consider:

  1. Simple and Easy To Spell

Your company name should not be too complicated. Your name should be unique yet simple so that people can remember it easily.

2. Meaningful Name

You need to look for a name that has a meaning. You can also choose words that describe your company in Singapore or business nature.

3. No Obscene Names

The use of obscene names is considered undesirable under Section 7 of the Business Names Registration Act. Therefore, it is best to avoid names that can cause people to feel uncomfortable or distressed.

4. Use Caution around Some Words

Use of certain words like “bank”, “insurance”, “academy” and “education” triggers close inspection and may require additional licenses. Other Government authorities could rule these words and you might require permission before you can proceed to register your company name.

5. Possibility of Future Business Expansion

Though we suggested picking a company name that describes your company in Singapore, avoid picking one that restricts you from expanding your business. For example, if you are planning to sell clothes under a name, it shouldn’t be a problem when you decide to sell accessories under the same company name.

Pro Tip: Use Resources for Help If you cannot decide on a name for your company, you can use various sites that can suggest some good company names for your business. These sites can give you creative name options. You can also combine different suggestions across the different name generators to come up with a unique name for your brand.    

Check for Company Name Availability

Once you have come up with a name for your company, conduct initial research to know if there are any identical or similar names registered with ACRA. How to know if the company name in Singapore that you have chosen is identical to an existing business? It is simple. You can use the Entity Search Function that you can find on the ACRA Bizfile website.

Once you search, the site will then give you a list of company names that may be similar to what you have. There are a few basic rules that set out your company name as identical/similar. There are certain words or factors that are disregarded when finding out if your proposed company name is identical or not. These are:

  1. The word “THE”
  2. Suffixes like Private”, “Pte”, “Sdn”, “Ltd”, and “Bhd” that expresses the type of business structure
  3. The following words or expressions that appear at the end of your company name – “company”, “and company”, “corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Asia”, “Asia Pacific”, “International”, “Singapore”, “South Asia”, “South East Asia” and “Worldwide”
  4. Any word or expression which, the Registrar thinks, is meant to indicate any word or expression listed above
  5. The Plural version of the name
  6. The type and case of the letters, spacing, and punctuation marks. The symbol “&” is considered to have the same meaning as the word “and”

How to Choose a Company Name in Singapore that is Identical?

While ACRA might be strict about identical names, you can still apply for a name that is identical to the name of an inactive older company, business, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership. However, you can do so only after a certain period of time. You can use the identical name of the company under the following cases:

When a business or company is You can register with an identical name after a period of
Ceased or reservation and registration was cancelled 1 year from the date of cancellation or cessation
Wound up 2 years from the date of dissolution
Struck off the register 6 years from the date of dissolution
Limited partnership was cancelled 1 year from the date of cancellation
Limited partnership which gave its notice of dissolution to ACRA 1 year from the date of dissolution
Limited Liability Partnership which was wound up 2 years from the date of dissolution
Limited Liability Partnership struck off the register 6 years from the date of dissolution
Foreign company issued notice to stop the business operations in Singapore or stopped the business activities in Singapore 3 months from the date of cessation
Foreign company which issued a notice of dissolution to ACRA 2 years from the date of dissolution
Foreign company whose name was struck off the register 6 years from the date of dissolution
Pro Tips For Coming Up With Your Company Name If you are still wondering how to choose a company name in Singapore, here are a few simple tips for you to consider.
1. Check for names with similar pronunciations – For example, “The Magnet” can be “De Magnet”
2. Check for names in a different sequence – For example, “Bread and Butter” can be “Butter and Bread”
3. Check for names of countries and places – For example, “RR Trading Singapore”
4. Check for punctuation marks in the name – For example, “Laico Electronics” can be “Laico-Electronics”
5. Avoid words that may require additional licences – For example, “bank”, “academy”, “education”    

Reserving Your Company Name

After checking the availability of your company name, the next step is to get them reserved with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).

Steps to Register Your Company Name

  1. Register your company name online through BizFile+. The name application will cost $15.
  2. Mention the primary and secondary activities of your company while applying. Choose the classification code that best defines your business activity in Singapore.
  3. If your name has been approved, the name will be reserved for 120 days. After which the name will become available for the public to register.

Even after approval, the Registrar still has the right to dictate you to change your company name if anyone places a valid legal complaint within 1 year of your incorporation.

Well, What’s Next?

Choosing the company name is just a part of the extensive process of opening your company in Singapore. There are a lot more that you might not be aware of if this is your first business in Singapore. While you can do it on your own, you don’t have to. Let us handle the entire company name registration process while you focus on growing your business, including how to choose a name that is identical to an existing company and procedures for changing your business name.

We, at Helen Campos (HCCS), have a team of dedicated professionals who could help you with company incorporation in Singapore. We give you the best suggestions and guide you on all matters of your business, right from choosing a company name in Singapore to appointing a company secretary in Singapore for your business to getting an employment pass. Contact us now to know how we can help you!

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