Singapore Representative Office Registration in Singapore

For foreign investors who are looking to explore their relevant market in Singapore before setting up a business there and investing huge sums of money, registering a representative office is the perfect choice, as it gives you the freedom to exist in Singapore as an extension of the company and to collect market intelligence using surveys and other methods.

In this guide, you will find all the key requirements you need to know about setting up a representative office in Singapore.


Representative Office—Not A Separate Legal Business Entity

A representative office does not hold a legal status in Singapore as it is only an extension of the parent company, and cannot create contracts or get involved in trading or engaging in other activities that are bound for a legal business entity.

Bottom line:  A representative office exists for the sole purpose of providing the parent company with market research.


Requirements for a Representative Office Registration

Here are the key facts and requirements that you should know of, about the registration of a representative office in Singapore.

Name of the Representative Office should be the Same as that of the Parent Company

Since a representative office is not considered as a separate legal entity in Singapore, its name should be the same as that of the parent company.

The Maximum Number of Employees should be 5

The number of employees of a representative office should not exceed from five.

Sales of Parent Company should be above US $250,000

In order to set up a representative office, the sales turnover of the parent company should be no less than US $250,000.

Parent Company should be Established for At Least Three Years

The parent company should be set up for three years or more before setting up a Representative Office in Singapore.

Representative Office is Operable for Three Years

A representative office is allowed to operate for only three years, after which, if it wishes to continue operating in Singapore, it should convert to either a Branch Office or a Subsidiary Company.

A Representative Office is Only Allowed to do Market Research

A representative office is bound by the Companies Act in its activities. Here is a list of the activities that a representative office is allowed to do:

  • Collect data about clients and markets.
  • Conduct relevant research that helps to figure out the product demand, user requirements and understand the target market.
  • Gather data regarding the process of setting up a permanent business entity in the country.
  • Handle brand queries and build trade contracts.
  • Get involved in exhibitions and trade shows.

Following is the list of activities that a representative office is prohibited to carry out:

  • Trading (import or export).
  • Leasing warehouses or the office premises to a third party.
  • Entering into a business contract.
  • Issuing invoices.
  • Sourcing or identifying suppliers or sources of raw materials or industrial parts.
  • Offering consultancy services.
  • Engaging in advertising or marketing for the company.
  • Coordinating activities for the parent company.
  • Carrying out supervisory activities.


Documents Required for Registering a Representative Office

Any foreign company that wishes to set up a representative office in Singapore should use the services of a legal entity in Singapore, such as a corporate law firm, who will apply for the registration on their behalf.

The documents required for the registration are as follows:

  • The completed application.
  • One copy of the incorporation certificate or the registration certificate by the parent company.
  • One copy of the latest annual report and audited accounts of the parent company.
  • An endorsed undertaking to abide by the terms and conditions in Singapore.

All documents are required to be in English. Any documents in languages other than English should be duly translated.


Contact us today to know more about setting up your own representative office in Singapore!