Singapore Representative Office Setup Services in Singapore
A foreign company that is interested in exploring the viability and potential opportunities in Singapore and the region, may set up a Representative Office (“RO”) before committing any large scale investments. Unlike a subsidiary or a branch office, a Singapore RO is viewed only as a liaison office and as such has no legal status. It cannot conduct any business activities of profit yielding nature. For most sectors, RO approval process is a straightforward process assuming the foreign company is an established entity and the scope of planned activities falls within the scope of a RO. A RO has the benefit of allowing a foreign entity to assess the business environment in Singapore before deciding to set up a permanent establishment.
Please note that due to the preference of most of our clients on other type of business entities in Singapore, we are no longer providing the services of setting up representative office to our clients. The followings are mainly for information purposes only.
Singapore has established itself as a reputable financial and regional trading centre. It is the world’s busiest port and a top location for investments in the Asia Pacific region.
Factors such as strategic location, a competitive workforce, pro-business environment and forward looking economic policies have enabled Singapore to be the world’s gateway to Asia.
With effect from 1 January 2012, a RO of foreign commercial entity may operate in Singapore for a maximum of three (3) years from its commencement date, provided that the RO status is evaluated and renewed. ROs which decide to continue their presence in Singapore thereafter should register their operations with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore.
If you run a foreign company and wish to set up Singapore operations, you have three options:
In this page, we are going to explain how to set up a Representative Office in Singapore. Note that most small and midsized foreign companies register subsidiaries in Singapore rather than setting up a branch office or representative office. To explore your other options, see foreign company setup options in Singapore.
Requirements to set up a Representative Office in Singapore
Kindly be reminded that the application is subject to approval by the authorities. Assuming that your overseas company is an established company and your intended activities fall within the scope of activities allowed for a RO, there shouldn’t be any problems with the approval process.
The foreign parent company that wishes to set up a RO in Singapore must fulfill the following criteria:
– The foreign parent company must have a sales turnover in excess of US$250,000;
– The foreign parent company must have been established for three years or more; and
– The representative office of the foreign parent company must adhere to the maximum headcount of five employees as stipulated by the authorities
A RO may engage a small number of local employees as support staff but must appoint a chief representative staff member from the head office who will relocate to Singapore and oversee its activities. Since a RO cannot be involved in commercial activities, the staff strength should be reasonable and be kept to the essential minimum. The authorities have stipulated that a RO can hire only up-to a maximum of five employees.