September 22, 2010 - There are three business models a foreign company can adopt if it wants to have a presence in Singapore: a subsidiary company, branch office, or representative office which is ideal for companies wanting to explore the viability of their business before plunging into a full-blown operation.
“A representative office is usually popular among foreign companies that are operating in a speculative market and want to know if they have a high success rate in the country,” business solutions provider AsiaBiz Services said.
In legal terms, a representative office is an extension of a foreign parent company. With this arrangement, the main headquarter is directly liable for the acts, losses, and debts of its Singapore representative office.
Meanwhile, foreign companies should consider that a representative office is only allowed to conduct market research and other non-commercial activities that should not generate revenue.
“It is important to note that a representative office is not really a legal business entity per se since its activities are very limited,” AsiaBiz said.
According to the business registration firm, these are the only activities a representative office can be engaged to: oversee the activities of its foreign parent company; provide customer assistance that will not involve repair or technical services; and perform market research to determine the viability of its parent company’s nature of business.
Foreign companies and businessmen should only see a representative as a short-term arrangement since the government does not allow anyone to operate this for more than three years.
To legally operate a representative office, a chief agent from the main headquarter must be relocated in Singapore to supervise the activities of this office. Aside from this requirement, foreign companies are only allowed to hire a limited number of staff, both local and foreign, who will run the operation and activities of its Singapore-based auxiliary office.
Because foreign companies and businessmen are prohibited to register their own business in Singapore, it is a legal requirement to appoint a professional registration firm that will act on their behalf during the application process.
“This requirement is stated under the Singapore Companies Act in an effort to prevent foreign companies from overlooking corporate policies and law,” AsiaBiz added.
To register a Singapore representative office to the International Enterprise Singapore, foreign companies should provide these following documents: registration of foreign company or its certified copy of the Certificate of Incorporation; copy of audited financial statements; and copy of the headquarter’s latest annual report.
For more information:
address: 120 Telok Ayer Street Singapore 068589
We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.
Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.