Singapore, from the past few years, has established itself as a reputable financial and regional trading centre. It is the world’s busiest transshipment port and a top location for investments in the Asia Pacific region. Factors such as its strategic location, competitive workforce, pro-business environment and forward-looking economic policies positions Singapore as a natural gateway to Asia and the region. Naturally, an investor will find it ideal to set up their business in Singapore.
A foreign company which is interested in establishing its presence in Singapore but does not intend to actually carry out any business there can get in the country by establishing a representative office. Such foreign companies by setting up a representative office can analyze, interpret and understand the potential of Singapore and surrounding markets for their business. After completing Singapore representative office registration, the RO is considered as a temporary setup engaging mainly in administrative tasks such as market research and feasibility studies.
Since a representative office is established in a foreign country with a purpose of conducting market research and feasibility studies on the viability of establishing a permanent business, Singapore allows following activities for an RO establishing in their country:
A representative office in Singapore cannot indulge in the following activities:
The representative office registration is done by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore. Register with the same by filling up an application form which is easily available online on the official website of IE. The IE takes around 5 business days to approve the application. Once approved, they will send a Letter of Approval via email. The registration is valid for one year and is subject to a renewal annually. International Enterprise Singapore sends out a renewal notice two months prior to the expiry of the registration. It is mandatory for the renewal to be completed seven days before the expiration date. A representative office must upgrade to a Branch Office or a Subsidiary Company after a period of three years.
Note that all the documents must be in English or an official English translation of the documents must be submitted.
Since a representative office registration is valid for one year, there is an option to renew it annually to continue with the operations. The IE will send you a notice 2 months prior to the renewal deadline of a representative office. Just like the registration process, the RO must be renewed by submitting an application through IE’s website. Typically, audited financial statements are not required for renewals. However, IE may still require the parent company to submit the latest financial statements in order to renew a representative office. A representative office can operate for a maximum of 3 years in Singapore.
If you are looking for setting up a representative office in Singapore, then we at Business Setup Worldwide can help you with it. Contact us today for information related to the same.