Myanmar has improved its business environment by opening up its market; the country is coming out of a long period of isolation which has curtailed rapid economic growth and development opportunities. The new constitutional democratic government of Myanmar has started framing Company laws to legally structure the company registration and streamline the business operations in the country.
The Myanmar government’s focus is currently in developing the infrastructure, accelerating the growth through reforms and measures. Similarly, the Myanmar Investment Commission has been set up by the government to attract international investment into the country to improve the economic condition, offer employment to citizens and make Myanmar a competitive place to do business.
What is a Branch Office?
A branch office or foreign branch office referred to a company that is registered elsewhere outside Myanmar but setting up a branch in the country for offering its goods and services to the Myanmar market. The foreign branch office needs to be registered with the governmental agencies before starting their operations in the nation.
Business set up in Myanmar is possible by starting a Branch Office. Branch office in Myanmar can perform all the business activities. The permitted activities for a foreign branch office depend upon the experience of the parent company in the industry (i.e., construction, manufacturing, banking etc.) However, certain limitations and restrictions are placed on core industries such as energy, infrastructure, defence, health industry and banking.
However, the companies can start their ventures in the restricted industry by joining with a Myanmar partner firm through a Joint Venture or tie-up with major players in Myanmar to expand your operations like providing supply chain, logistics and other allied activities.
Types of Business Activities permitted for a Foreign Branch Office in Myanmar
- Engineering projects
- Retail & Sales
- Tourism & Hospitality
- Transport & Logistics
Unlike the Representative Office (RO) which has numerous limitations on its operations, the Branch Office can perform all the activities of business inside Myanmar taking advantage of the market. However, the foreign branch business entity needs to register themselves with the local tax authorities as a Myanmar Tax Resident and need to submit annual tax returns.
Advantages of Setting a Branch Office in Myanmar
The leaders of democratic Myanmar are not looking for money but talent and skills that are brought in by the businesses which operate internationally. The government is looking for entrepreneurs, business pioneers and international players to bring their industry-specific experience while using their global talent, knowledge and technology to expand their business in Myanmar.
The goal is to establish excellent infrastructure and focus on enhancing specific areas of industry and business in the country to catch up with development on par with other Asian countries. Myanmar has remarkable business opportunities for entrepreneurs and business leaders seeking fresh markets to solve emerging problems with innovative solutions.
Furthermore, there is a scope for foreign businesses to use the branch office to explore the opportunities, challenges and viability of doing business in Myanmar. You can operate your business as a branch office in Myanmar without incurring expensive costs while understanding the local culture, consumer psychology, legal ecosystem, business practices, and market scenario. This gives you the chance to form meaningful partnerships with existing businesses and assess the formidable competitors in the industry.
- Total foreign ownership allowed
- No local ownership or tie-ups required
- No limited liability requirements
- Lesser corporate filings
- Can hire and employee Myanmar national or residents
- Can setup local office anywhere in Myanmar
- Can lease or rent spaces
- Relatively less expensive to set up and run operations
- Usually used as a starting entity as it allows most of the business operations for limited requirements
- Branch office in Myanmar does need to obtain a MIC Investment Permit
- Large multinational companies can take advantage of their expertise and enter into the Myanmar market for offering comprehensive products and services
Requirements for Setting up a Branch Office
- Must be a foreign business legally registered anywhere outside Myanmar
- Must have the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Ass
- Must have a company director or investor or shareholder
- If the owner or investors want to operate the branch office remotely, he/she must appoint a local director who is a Myanmar citizen or resident who is in the country for more than 186 days a year
- Must file annual tax filings to the Myanmar tax authorities
Documents Required for Registering a Branch Office in Myanmar
- Application to the DICA
- List of the directors, investors and shareholders in the venture
- Copies of passports of directors or investor in case the owner is an individual
- Home address proof of the director and investor
- Copies of Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association if branch office started by corporate
- Original copy of the resolution
- Copy of the certificate of incorporation
- Myanmar local office address
- Audited financial statements of the company in the last two years
- All the documents in languages other than English need to hire a certified translator to convert the essential documents to English then get the papers notarized by Myanmar Embassy
Myanmar is gradually becoming a hotspot for international business as the country is opening up to foreign firms. Business leaders who want to expand their business and don't want to lose this opportunity can work towards leveraging the nascent Myanmar market and establish a profitable business in the country. Contact us for more information on starting a promising business in Myanmar. Our Myanmar team can guide you on where to invest, what industry to choose and assist you in setting your company in Myanmar.