If you are looking for potential opportunities in Singapore to advance your corporate goals and access the local market, then setting up a Representative Office (RO) might be a good option.
Wondering what exactly it is? A Representative Office (RO) is basically a temporary administrative office that is set as a liaison for coordinating, managing, and overseeing the non-commercial activities in Singapore for a foreign company.
Although an RO has no legal status, it is not viewed as a separate entity from its parent company.
Singapore is becoming a hub for corporate activities. Many foreign companies want to enter Singapore and determine the kind of opportunities available in the country, as well as the surrounding regions. However, in doing so, many companies don’t want to invest any financial resources and yet, conduct certain non-commercial activities to determine corporate prospects.
In this regard, representative office registration in Singapore can bring a lot of benefits. With an RO, your company can research the local market, conduct competitor analysis, and evaluate the market conditions to evaluate commercial opportunities in the country.
Companies can choose to either set up a subsidiary or branch office in Singapore within three years. An RO can only operate for a total of three years in Singapore. A branch office is basically an extension of the parent organization and is allowed to conduct similar business activities.
On the other hand, a subsidiary is a locally incorporated company, which is majorly owned by the parent organization. The subsidiary can have a different scope than the parent company.
Foreign companies who wish to extend their business in Singapore can also do reconciliation through which the company can transfer its registration to Singapore from another company. In this way, the business would become a Singapore-registered company.
What needs to be considered before setting up a RO in Singapore?
Since an RO does not have legal status, it cannot engage in any profit-making or trading activity. In this way, it cannot sign contracts, negotiate, or trade. ROs are only eligible to conduct market research, as well as feasibility studies. An RO can take part in trade exhibitions, handle product inquiries, gather data about the market, and research product demand.
In case the RO fails to meet the aforementioned requirements, it can be de-registered. It is also essential that the RO operates under the same name as that of the parent organization. However, it should still include the term “Representative Office” in its official name in Singapore. This term should be present on the staff name cards, plaque, and all the other relevant communication methods.
Any foreign company that is willing to opt for a representative office set up in Singapore should be running for the past three years or more. It should also have a sales turnover of more than US$250,000.
It is also essential for the RO to appoint a Chief Representative Officer (CRO) who can relocate the head office of the parent organization to Singapore and manage all of its foreign activities. Additionally, the RO is only allowed to hire a maximum of four employees as support staff.
A foreign company will have to contact a corporate secretarial firm in the country to help you with the application. You can also set up an RO through document couriering and emails.
It usually takes one or two weeks for authorities to approve your request.
Have more questions regarding the representative office? Contact us for more details.