Singapore Industry Guides

Information You Need to Succeed

Setting Up an Advertising Agency in Singapore

Legal Requirements

Register Your Business on ACRA

The first step in any business venture is registering the company with ACRA, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore. Once approved, your company will receive a business licence with a Unique Entity Number (UEN), which is required for the application of other licences and permits.

Advertising Agency Licensing Requirements

Depending on your advertising agency’s scope of operation, one or a combination or all of the licenses listed below may be required:

For displaying billboards in Singapore, approval from the following authorities is necessary:

      • the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), if the ads will be placed on various buildings
      • the Land Transport Authority (LTA), in case of companies placing ads on their car fleet
      • from relevant property associations, if the boards are placed on private buildings

Internet Service & Content Provider Licence

Content providers are automatically licensed under the current Class Licence Scheme. An advertising agency must abide by the regulations and rules set forth in the Class Licence Conditions and the Internet Code of Practice.

Other Formalities to Consider

      • CPF Employer Registration
      • Work Permit

Notable Advertising Agencies in Singapore

Ogilvy & Mather Singapore
McCann-Erickson Singapore
Saatchi & Saatchi
MullenLowe Singapore
Leo Burnett
Dentsu Singapore
TBWA Singapore
DDB Worldwide Singapore
XM Asia
J Walter Thompson

How is Broadcast Media Advertising Regulated?

The basic premise of the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP), which is reviewed on a regular basis by the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS),  is that all advertisements should be legal, decent, honest and truthful. Advertisements appearing in any form or media for any goods, services and facilities are subject to SCAP’s stipulations. In addition, IMDA has developed a series of guidelines and codes of practices for the infocomm and media sectors. Requiring advertisements to be truthful, lawful and not to contain any misleading claims, the Television and Radio Advertising Codes have been issued to protect the interests of viewers as consumers.
With regard to holders of class licences, paragraph 16 of the Schedule to the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification states that a licensee shall remove or prohibit the broadcast of the whole or any part of a programme included in its service if the MDA informs the licensee that its broadcast is against the public interest, public order or national harmony, or offends good taste or decency. In the case of online advertising, internet content providers and ISPs are considered class licensees and must also comply with paragraph 16 of the Schedule to the Broadcasting (Class Licence) Notification.

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