A representative office is a temporary establishment set up by a foreign company in Singapore to conduct market research and establish contacts. It serves as a liaison between the parent company and the local business community, without engaging in any commercial activities that generate income.
The Role of a Representative Office
The primary role of a representative office is to promote the parent company’s products or services and conduct market research. It may also serve as a communication channel between the parent company and its clients or partners in Singapore.
A representative office is strictly prohibited from conducting any commercial activities, such as manufacturing or trading. It must confine its activities to promotion and liaison on behalf of its parent company. All expenses incurred by the representative office must be funded by the head office or foreign corporation.
Registration of Representative Office in Singapore
A representative office is required to be registered with the Government Statutory Board, Enterprise Singapore (ESG). The ESG only registers representative offices from the manufacturing, trading, trade logistics and trade related service sectors. Other sectors such as banking, finance, insurance, education, travel agency, consultancy and management services, legal, real estate and property development do not come under the purview of the ESG.
Certified copy of the parent company’s incorporation certificate by a Notary Public in the origin country.
Copies of the parent company’s annual reports and audited accounts for the past year.
Application form duly signed by the Chief Executive Officer or an authorized signatory of the parent company
Any other information which will support the application such as brochures of the parent company
Letter from the parent company confirming the appointment of the local representative
The representative office is prohibited from carrying out any business activities which will generate income. Expenses incurred by the representative office are totally funded by its head office, principal or foreign corporation. The representative office will not be required to submit any tax return to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.
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