Foreign Company Registration Options in Singapore


Are you interested in the South-Asian markets? It will do you no harm to look beyond the horizon and register a company in Singapore with ACRA to capitalize on a worthwhile opportunity. Singapore is an entrepot that serves East and West. It is also an attractive business hub for foreign MNCs and SMEs to establish their headquarter or regional office to consolidate their business.

Foreigners cannot incorporate a company in Singapore on their own. If you are such an entity, you will make the task simpler by appointing a professional provider of services for company incorporation in Singapore. Here are your options. As per ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority), you can set up a:

  • Subsidiary company
  • Branch office
  • Representative office

Subsidiary Company

Setting up a subsidiary company is very similar to private limited company registration. Both are basically limited liability companies. Subsidiary’s shareholders are either the local or foreign corporations.

  • A subsidiary has a separate identity from its parent.
  • It is liable for its own debts and losses.
  • The parent’s liability is limited to the capital it has in the subsidiary’s shares.
  • Foreign subsidiaries in Singapore are treated as a local company.
  • It has at least one local director.
  • A subsidiary can claim tax exemptions, benefits, and rebates offered by the Singapore authorities.
  • The parent can own 100% shareholding.
  • The subsidiary name can be different from its parent company.
  • The subsidiary needs a local registered office address.

Branch Office

You can also register a branch office with ACRA to extend your business operations. It is considered as an extension of the parent company.

  • It has no separate entity from its parent.
  • The parent is liable for its debts and losses.
  • Its management follows the M&AA of the parent company.
  • It is not a local company and cannot claim some of the tax exemptions enjoyed by the local companies.
  • Its name is similar to that of its parent company.
  • It needs to hire at least 1 Singapore resident as an authorized representative.
  • It needs a local registered office address.

Representative Office

The foreign companies which intend to do market research and surveys in Singapore legally set up a representative office.

  • A Singapore representative office has no legal status.
  • It is a temporary administrative arrangement of its parent.
  • It is not allowed to carry out any business activities.
  • The parent is responsible for their activities in Singapore.
  • It needs to be staffed by a representative from the head office of the parent company.
  • It can not hire more than five local support staff.
  • It cannot operate beyond three years.

Singapore ranks 2nd for the ease of doing business indicator. It has streamlined compliance responsibilities, lower tax rates, strong IP protection, world-class communication networks, infrastructure, sea, and air-links. All these factors are conducive to forming a business.


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