With one of the most attractive tax systems in the world, a strategic spot for business connectivity and communications, the presence of a professional and talented workforce, a legal system of high integrity, Singapore is a highly popular country that attracts many foreign businesses! Singapore is an Asian business hub with more than 37,400 foreign companies operating from abroad and 7,000 multinational companies, more than half carrying out business operations from within the country.

If you’re a foreigner looking to set up your business in this successful city, there are several options for you. We share four different ways you can register your foreign business in Singapore!

1. Subsidiary Company

Looking to set up a business in Singapore in the long term? You most likely should incorporate a subsidiary company to maximise the benefits and cost savings available only to tax-resident companies! Subsidiary corporations are locally incorporated private limited companies that are deemed to be independent legal entities, separate from their parent companies, and considered tax-residents. These businesses thus enjoy being taxed as Singapore-based corporations, eligible for various lucrative tax schemes and incentives and more direct access to local funds.

Companies in Singapore can be fully foreign-owned, which means that foreigners can establish a subsidiary company here and still own 100% of its shares. Other than needing to appoint at least one ordinarily resident director, meaning that the person has to be a Singapore citizen, Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) or EntrePass holder, companies can freely employ local or foreign workers to conduct operations.

2. Branch Office 

What is a branch office? A branch office in Singapore is an extension of the foreign parent company, not considered a separate legal entity. This means that the foreign parent company will share the liabilities of the branch office, and not be protected from them. The branch office will also hold the same name as the parent company, unlike a subsidiary company which can choose either a same or different name, as long as the name is approved by Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). While branch offices do enjoy some tax incentives and schemes, they are deemed non-resident companies and do not qualify for the full range of benefits available to resident or subsidiary companies.

You can take note to appoint at least one ordinarily resident authorised representative, required under the Companies Act, to oversee all statutory compliance matters.

3. Representative Office

If you are exploring business options in Singapore, checking out whether it is viable to set up your business here, or creating an opportunity to extend your business activities into the Asia Pacific region, a representative office is likely the most suitable option for you. A representative office functions as a temporary administrative arrangement for conducting market research or studies of feasibility, but cannot conduct business activities to earn profits.

Take note that your representative office will only be valid for a year before it has to be renewed again, and this can only go on for a maximum of three years. You also have to appoint a chief representative, who is a staff from the parent company, to relocate to Singapore for the fulfilment of his duties. No more than 5 local staff can be hired – as you see, this arrangement works best on a short-term basis, not if you are choosing to set up in the long run. 

4. Transfer of Registration 

Making a transfer of registration to Singapore will turn your foreign company into a Singapore company and qualify you the same benefits enjoyed by any other Singapore corporation. Your overseas company will cease to exist, and your Singapore business will now have to comply with the Companies Act. Transferring registration is great because it allows the company to maintain reputation and track record in its area of expertise, instead of having to start it up again.

Altogether, there are many ways that you can register or incorporate your company in Singapore, and it is recommended that you get in touch with a corporate service provider to offer professional advice, manage all necessary and supporting documents, appoint required personnel, and walk you through the entire process.

Get in touch with our expert team for reliable incorporation services, here.