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Singapore: Types of Company

Branch, Subsidiary and Representative Office

A foreign company may establish a branch or subsidiary in Singapore. The foreign company's head office is ultimately responsible for a branch. Moreover, a branch does not benefit from tax incentives and exemptions enjoyed by local businesses. The branch must bear the same name as the head office, and must have a registered office address in Singapore. Two ordinarily resident agents in Singapore must be appointed by the branch to accept notices and services of process.

Earnings and capital can be repatriated to the parent company, and income attributable to or derived from activities outside Singapore is not subject to Singapore corporate income tax. A branch must be registered with ACRA; registration fees are SGD300 for a foreign company with share capital, or SGD1,200 for one without share capital, plus SGD15 for name approval.

Alternatively, a foreign company can establish a subsidiary as a locally incorporated private limited company, with the parent company as its majority or only shareholder. The subsidiary is a separate legal entity from its parent, and its liabilities do not extend to the parent. The subsidiary can benefit from the same tax incentives and exemptions as local companies. See under "Private Company Limited by Shares" for registration and filing requirements.

A representative office cannot trade in Singapore. Instead, it undertakes marketing and oversight activities in Singapore on behalf of the foreign parent company. Depending on the activity the representative office represents, it must register with either International Enterprise Singapore or the Monetary Authority of Singapore.



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