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The 3 Common Structures
For foreign companies that wish to establish a presence in Singapore, they may register a Singapore subsidiary, a branch office, or a representative office. These three (3) different structures are specifically catered to both business that do not plan to relocate staff to Singapore and for also for those who has intention to do so.
A subsidiary is a private limited company incorporated in Singapore whose majority shareholder is a foreign company. Newly-formed companies enjoy full tax exemption on the first S$100,000 of chargeable income during the first three consecutive years of set up.
If a foreign corporation does not want to incorporate a company, they must register a branch office in order to commence business to generate revenue and profits. A branch office is an extension of a foreign parent company registered outside of Singapore.
A representative office (RO) is usually set up when a foreign company wishes to establish a presence in Singapore, but does not have the intention to commence any business. This is a short-term setup, and is not allow to engage in commercial revenue-generating activities.