Singaporean Snapshot

Stephen Yagielowicz

With more than 80 percent of its five plus million residents online, Singapore is a sophisticated and vibrant Asian city-state on the cutting edge of technology; but limited in its tolerance of “objectionable” content due to its conservative cultural sensibilities.

This makes the market a tricky one for adult entertainment promoters, but as with the legitimate use of mainstream social networks for adult marketing, a deft approach might reap substantial rewards.

We are primarily concerned with the purveyors and distributors of pornography, unless you engage in such activities, the mere act of visiting such sites is not an offense.

According to Singapore’s Media Development Authority (MDA), accessing porn on the Internet is not illegal, and that the country does not monitor or track users’ access to any sites on the Internet nor does it interfere with what individuals access in the privacy of their homes.

Access is not the same thing as production or promotion, however.

“We are primarily concerned with the purveyors and distributors of pornography,” states an MDA spokesperson. “Unless you engage in such activities, the mere act of visiting such sites is not an offense.”

As for the types of Internet content that may be regulated, the MDA says it does not pre-censor Internet content, nor are ISPs required to monitor the Internet — but ISPs are now required to limit public access to what the MDA calls “high-impact illegal sites as a statement of Singapore’s social values.”

For example, adult tube sites YouPorn and RedTube were among those named as part of 100 websites reportedly blocked by Singapore as part of a high-profile action in 2008.

“Internet Content Providers (ICPs) are required to exercise judgment with regard to content posted on the Internet according to the definition of what constitute prohibited material in the Internet Code of Practice (,” the MDA spokesperson explains, adding that “The MDA is concerned primarily with pornography, violence and the incitement of racial or religious hatred.”

The MDA’s authority is limited to material that is provided to the public and does not regulate what companies provide to their employees, or private communications between individuals, such as via email and Internet Relay Chat (IRC).

The Internet Code of Practice prohibits material that is objectionable on the grounds of public interest, morality, order or security, as well as the “national harmony,” or that is otherwise prohibited by applicable laws in Singapore, and requires ISPs to deny access to sites specified by the MDA as containing prohibited material.

Among the considerations for determining whether or not material is prohibited are whether the content depicts nudity or genitalia “in a manner calculated to titillate,” or if it promotes sexual violence, coercion or non-consent. Forget homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia, as they are specifically forbidden; as are any depictions of a person or persons “clearly engaged in explicit sexual activity,” seemingly putting the kibosh on most porn.

Think softcore will save you? It might, but while it’s an extremely subjective matter, if the material appears to depict persons under 16 years of age engaged in sexual activity, or in a sexually provocative manner (perhaps including the non-nude ex-girlfriend niche), or in any other “offensive” manner, that’s right out too.

There’s a similar provision to the U.S.’ Miller Test, which considers any intrinsic medical, scientific, artistic or educational value, put don’t expect that to take you too far.

Of course, these are matters for prospective adult entertainment marketers to discuss with their attorney before making any moves.

Entrepreneurs that find acceptable business models that balance the risk with the reward will find a range of companies ready to help them, as Singaporean content, billing, traffic and monetization options are all available for bringing erotica into this culturally restrictive, but prosperous and tech-forward nation.

For example, adult payment solutions companies such as offer credit card, ‘Click and Buy,’ Premium SMS and mobile content billing for Singapore; while offers mobile content and billing, and reports success in converting Singaporean traffic from its affiliate network.

As for traffic acquisition, offers 3 million daily ad impressions for Singapore, from sites such as (web and mobile) as well as the network of sites — while boasts 10 times that volume — with more than 35 million impressions per day from Singapore, and is “looking for new solutions daily.”, Wister’s, W2M Adult (, and other companies also offer a range of solutions for advertisers, affiliates and publishers targeting the Singaporean mobile market, illustrating the vibrancy of the region and the wealth of service providers ready to help you extend your brand into this profitable State.


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