Registration of a representative office in Singapore
A representative office in Singapore for a foreign company does not have any legal business existence in Singapore. A Singapore representative office is merely a part of the foreign parent company and not a separate registered business. In this regard it differs substantially from a subsidiary company. The parent company of a representative office is fully liable for all the debts and liabilities of its Singapore representative office. Thus we consider it the least desirable way for foreign companies wishing to enter Singapore.
Overview of Singapore representative office
- 100% foreign company ownership
- Must be named the same as foreign company and include “Representative Office” in the name
- Can not generate income or engage in revenue generating activities
- Can support an Employment Pass for its employees (limited to maximum of 5)
- Registration is valid for only three years. If the foreign company wishes to continue having a market presence in Singapore it has to upgrade to a branch office or a subsidiary company.
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Singapore Representative Office
Why we do not recommend setting up a representative office?
Why a subsidiary company is better than a representative office
A representative office is merely for the purpose of assessing business opportunities and does not allow a foreign company to engage in any revenue generating activity. As a representative office for the foreign parent company debts and liabilities incurred by the representative office in Singapore are the responsibility of the parent company. Learn more on why incorporating a subsidiary company is best.
Singapore representative offices offer no liability protection
As a representative office it is not a separate entity from its foreign parent, the foreign parent company will be fully liable for its activities and debts.
Ownership by a foreign business
Representative offices are extensions of foreign companies
A foreign company can fully operates its representative office in Singapore but it is treated as a foreign entity and is not eligible for any of Singapore’s tax or treaty benefits.