Staying in Asia After Teaching? How to Start a Business as a Foreigner

Your teaching gig in Asia is going great. You’ve mastered the culture (and the lyrics to the latest BTS album). So what’s next?

If you decide to stay in Asia, you may need more financial support besides your teaching job. Your first thought might be getting another one, but how about starting a business? Awesome idea, right? 

Your teaching job will give you an edge, but there’s still a lot you need to learn on the business end. It can be anything, from work ethics, to navigating good service tax for the goods or services you’ll offer.


What Kind of Business Can You Start in Asia?

The trick to any good business idea is having one that fills a gap in the marketplace. It doesn’t mean you have to invent something from scratch. For example, your business idea can be an improvement of an existing product. 

Here’s a list of a few business ideas you can consider.


Since you’re already familiar with this, it’ll be a more comfortable venture. Your business can focus on teaching career-based skills such as computer programming. The diversity will help you grow your business.


Staying healthy is a growing trend, and more people are searching for ways to achieve their goals. There are plenty of opportunities to tap into this market. You can offer yoga classes, personalized fitness regimens, or anything else. 


The beauty industry has been around for ages and will likely stay relevant forever. There are many possibilities to explore with such an enterprise. You can sell beauty products or even offer services like makeup and manicures.


We live in a fashion-forward world, and the fashion scene is always changing. This means tonnes of people will always be ready to buy the next in-thing from you.

What You Need to Start a Business in Asia

The exact requirements vary according to the type of business you want to start and the location. Regardless, the general requirements for starting any business are the same. The only difference might be the documentation you might need to run a business in a foreign country.

The list below contains some of the most common requirements you’ll need to get started.

Business Plan

A business plan outlines your idea in detail, target market, goals, and startup costs. Having this plan in place will give you a guideline to follow to ensure the success of your business.


It’s no mystery that running a business comes with a lot of expenses. Getting estimations of how much money you might need is a good start to planning for how you’ll cover the costs.

Legal Business Structure

Choosing what type of entity your business is before you register it is a necessary legal step. It affects certain aspects of a company, like how you file your taxes. There are several business structures to choose from based on how you want to run your business.


The documents you’ll need to register your business will depend on the structure you choose. So, if your business is a corporation, you’ll need an “articles of incorporation document.” You may also need an Entrepreneur Pass, especially if your business will be in Singapore.


To make things official, you’ll need to register with the government and local tax authorities. This involves submitting the documents mentioned above and other company details during registration. During the registration process, you’ll have to open a business bank account as well.

Insurance Policy

The right kind of insurance will protect you in the event of incidents such as theft or a customer lawsuit. 

When you’ve taken care of all the legal stuff required to get started, you can focus on marketing your business and building your brand. You may need someone familiar with the area to help with your marketing. It’s the best way to ensure an effective campaign.

Pros and Cons of Starting a Business


  • You create your wealth and have full control over your finances
  • Some countries offer incentives for foreign investors and tax advantages for business owners
  • Flexible schedule


  • A language barrier between you and local customers
  • Breaking even may take a while
  • You’re likely to meet a lot of failure along the way


Owning a business is quite fulfilling, even though it comes with a whole lot of work. It’s even more challenging when you’re trying to break into a foreign market, but that’s nothing proper research and perseverance won’t fix.