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Doing Business in Singapore (with description)

Flag of Singapore
Exchanging Greetings: As Singapore is a multi-racial soicety, it is best to take note on the appropriate ways of exchanging greetings. With the Chinese, add a bow to a handshake; with the Malay, let your hand brush theirs, then place your hand on your heart. Greet an Indian with a bow and palms together. When a man meets a woman, it is best to let the lady lead.
Business and Social Protocol: Politeness is the keystone of business dealings that allows foreigners to cross cultural boundaries smoothly. To raise your voice, appear too aggressive or lose your temper is to "lose face." Speak in calm, quiet tones. Praise your company's accomplishments but not your own.
What They Actually Mean: In order to not offend, Singaporeans rarely give a direct no. "Yes" can mean everything from "I agree" to "Can't you see my lack of enthusiasm really means no?" Giving an evasive answer, silence or completely ignoring your question may mean that the actual answer is no.
Personal Contacts - The Way of Doing Business: Business moves slowly. It is rare for business deals to be concluded in one meeting. One should accept all social invitations. Singaporeans form business relationships with individuals (personal contacts), not companies. Hence, if you change your representative, expect to start the "getting acquainted" process from square one.
Business Attire: Standard business attire is quite formal but can be tailored to suit Singapore's hot, tropical climate. Men should wear a shirt and tie and women should wear a dress or skirt and blouse. Suits and coats should be worn to official functions.
Introductions: As in most Asian countries, business cards are essential for introductions. Cards should be given and received with both hands, particularly when dealing with Chinese people, and each card should be carefully studied for a few seconds. To place a business card immediately into your pocket may cause offence.

Singaporean citizens of Chinese descent will usually have a three-syllable name. Chinese surnames precede given names. Hence, a man named Goh Tuck-seng should be referred to as Mr Goh.

Malays and Indians have their given names before their father's name but are addressed by their given names. For example:
Malay Man : Mohamed bin Ibraham
Address as : Encik (pronounced "enchee") Mohamed, ie Mr Mohamed
Malay Woman: Hasnah binte Abdullah
Address as : Cik (pronounced "chik") Hasnah if the woman is unmarried or Puan Hasnah for married women

Singaporean citizens of Indian descent frequently have long names. The name will often include the initials of the person's father, given in initials. For example:
Indian Person: Subramanian S.O. Manickavasagam
Address as : Mr Subramanian

Most business people from Singapore also use English Christian names.