Nature of representative offices
What is a Representative Office (RO)?
Foreign companies interested in exploring potential business opportunities in Singapore may set up a Representative Office (RO) before committing to a business venture. It allows a foreign entity to assess the business environment in Singapore before deciding to set up a permanent establishment.
A RO is a temporary set-up with no legal status so it cannot engage in any trading or business activities which yield a profit.
An application to register a RO must be submitted to Enterprise Singapore. For more information on Representative Office, click here.
According to Enterprise Singapore,
Foreign entities from the manufacturing, international trading, wholesale, trade and trade-related business sectors that are keen on exploring the viability of doing business in Singapore, or are interested in using Singapore as a launch pad into the Asia Pacific, may wish to set-up a Representative Office (RO). By setting up an RO, it allows a foreign entity to assess the business environment in Singapore before deciding to set up a permanent establishment.
An approved RO of a foreign commercial entity may operate in Singapore for a validity period of one year only from its commencement date. An extension of RO will only be granted on a case-by-case basis, and is subjected to approval for up to a maximum of three years. ROs which decide to continue their presence in Singapore thereafter should register their operations with the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore.
Foreign entities from the following sectors may approach the respective bodies for more information on RO setup in Singapore:
- Banking, finance, financial exchanges and insurance sectors may approach the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
- Foreign law practices may approach the Ministry of Law (MinLaw).
All other foreign entities looking to register and incorporate a local branch office may approach the Accounting & Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
Click here for more information on setting up Representative Offices in Singapore.