- Business Meeting
- Public Holidays
The liberal, open and business-oriented city-state is one of the important hubs of international trade. It follows that the country is generally part of global trade flows and the prevailing business culture reflects this fact. While the general level and day-to-day interaction will not differ in principle from other developed “Western” countries, the ethnic specifics of the country lying at the junction of cultures and trade routes of Asia must be taken into account. It is necessary to think that many transactions and negotiations can be carried out online, at a distance, and therefore technological know-how and an emphasis on the efficiency of negotiations are expected.
The range of options for approaching Singaporean partners is quite wide. It must be taken into account that Singapore is located in one of the centers of world trade and therefore many cases will realistically be part of global processes and flows negotiated within multinational corporate structures and supply chains that need to be engaged in elsewhere than in Singapore. In any case, in order to establish new contacts, in addition to fairs, whether international or held locally, you can use all the possibilities of the digital environment and various free and paid databases. Although the business environment is used to online meetings, it should be expected that sooner rather than later a face-to-face meeting will be necessary, especially if the business relationship is to continue for a longer period of time.
In terms of formality, business negotiations with Singaporeans do not fundamentally differ from the experience of negotiations with partners in Europe, the USA, or in global business relations. Clothing at regular meetings is usually adapted to tropical humid weather, i.e. “business casual”, often only trousers and shirts or less formal dresses for ladies. Singaporeans love to eat, so meeting places and gifts can be planned with this in mind. It is necessary to respect the agreed start and end times of meetings and meeting places, to plan ahead and to be very precise and prepared in all meetings. Perhaps the only major difference from European and American partners is that it is not very common to invite business partners to your home.
Certain specifics of the negotiations are related to a typical feature of the Southeast Asian region, which is a certain dogmatism and a tough business style. This starts with respect for the hierarchy of partners (correct order of addressing, dealing with a representative at the same level, etc.), but it also involves respecting (internal and state) procedures, regulations and standards. Any attempt at a non-standard arrangement giving the impression of circumventing regulations or perhaps even reminiscent of a bribe are strongly rejected. In practice, however, it can also be a certain negotiation tactic, when proposed changes or innovative anchoring of relations are rejected, pointing to binding standards or the necessity of consultations within the structure of the business partner. It can often be a matter of a certain one-sided dictate, stemming from often unbalanced contractual relations, when the local player is a stronger entity (typically a landlord-tenant relationship, or a small foreign company-large distributor). Another feature common when dealing with Singaporeans of Chinese origin is a shift in the course of negotiations, when at the beginning the partner is seemingly willing to negotiate on all issues and indicates a readiness to make concessions, so that at the stage when the other party shows a clear interest or gets into the situation when he needs to close the negotiations, came the phase of hard negotiations and almost principled reluctance to make any concessions. However, the general rule of all negotiations is maximum formal politeness and a calm demeanor without any negative emotions or even expressions of displeasure or malice. But this also gives rise to the frequent “silence” after a certain period of time, which must be interpreted as a rejection of the proposal with both parties saving face.
From the point of view of the Czechs, business communication with Singaporeans is probably not characterized by any fundamental differences. The language of business communication is usually English, which is expected from a foreign partner at a fluent level, however the level of the locals may fluctuate. Apart from e-mail and the classic telephone, the standard media in Asia are ubiquitous smartphone applications, most commonly WhatsApp. Even if, unlike most other countries in the region, it is possible to do business with Singapore at a distance, a personal meeting, at least at the beginning and at key moments of the relationship, is very beneficial and even expected. Visit Animalerts for more information about Singapore culture and traditions.
No special recommendations beyond the information above.
Exact dates can be found on the website of the Ministry of Manpower. Attention, some holidays, if they fall on a weekend, are moved to Monday.
New Year: 1. 1.
Chinese New Year: February – the first and second days of the first lunar month of the Chinese calendar
Good Friday: same as in the Czech Republic
Labor Day: 5/1
Hari Raya Puasa: Muslim holiday of breaking the fast after the end of Ramadan, follows the lunar calendar
Vesak: May/June, associated with the first full moon of the traditional Vesakha month
Hari Raya Haji: Feast of Sacrifice, celebrated on the 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah of the lunar Islamic calendar
Statehood Day: 9/8
Deepavali (Diwali): the Indian festival of lights, according to the lunar calendar, the second half of October or the first half of November