Establishing a foreign subsidiary in Taiwan

Hi all

I’m wanting to establish a subsidiary here in Taiwan of a medium-size French IT company. I have checked out the English language info here investintaiwan.nat.gov.tw/en/env … mpany.html

… and I can’t see any serious impediments to achieving this, but obviously am going to need considerable professional help to navigate the process. Can anybody recommend from their experience a decent local law firm or business consultancy with a department specialising in helping foreign companies through the registration process (and perhaps as a good local business consultant further down the track too)?

A small “wish list”, in decreasing order of importance:
-My Chinese language skills are OK, but having competent help in good English is definitely desirable
-We’re not quite a Fortune 500 company yet, and would appreciate coming out the other end with all arms and legs still attached, if possible
-I live at the far edge of Hsintian… The Scooter of Wind Called 125 still being my preferred mode of transport, my pigu would appreciate somewhere closer than TianMu at those times when personal visits are necessary

I had a bit of a trawl through earlier discussions for this, but couldn’t find much up to date information addressing this question. Apologies if there is a recent discussion that covers this topic, someone please point me in the right direction!

Also, if anyone else out there has been through the subsidiary-establishing process and has any advice or warnings of any kind, I am all ears and would appreciate the help.

One related question: I live locally and have residency and open work permit via spouse; I always assumed this means I can work where I want with no restrictions (that’s always been the case anyway). The plan starting out is for me to be the sole employee of the planned subsidiary… this web page investintaiwan.nat.gov.tw/en/env … side_work/ seems to indicate no problems, but doesn’t address the issue specifically- anyone see any red flags?

Thanks for any comments on this.

Try to talk to Ann Hu, she’s an accountant, she sets up subsidiaries of foreign companies for a living.

And with an open work permit which you have through your marriage, you can even prove to the authorities that you are allowed to work there, however they don’t check that very often.

Hu?

Joseph Ni and company at Good Earth (886-2-2325-3256, www.goodearth.com.tw) are top notch.

Steel yourself. One of my clients, on the subject of getting the necessary paperwork together to establish a branch office here: “This has been just about the most perverse and bizarre paperwork process I have ever seen.”

Thanks to you both for the advice! For the record, how would I get in touch with Ann Hu?

I think a rep office would be easier, as several people here have set them up. I set one up myself.

The trick with rep office is that the rep office cannot book revenues from Taiwanese clients. Better they are clients of your home office and you only ‘service’ the account. Essentially you become the paid representative of your company.

Not all activities can fit within the confines of ‘representative office’ but if it can, that would be your easiest route.

[quote=“Opihiman”]
Not all activities can fit within the confines of ‘representative office’ but if it can, that would be your easiest route.[/quote]

Had looked into that already… a rep office would certainly be the easiest to get going, but our scope of operations will be way beyond what a rep office is able to do. It looks like a branch office or subsidiary are the two likely options…

Thanks to you both for the advice! For the record, how would I get in touch with Ann Hu?[/quote]

Call her at 02 2381 1022 ext 11. She speaks English, so does Joseph Ni.

Rep office are great, but not always for the rep. Keep in mind that the rep is personally liable along with or in instead of the home office if anything goes wrong. So if your Taiwanese customers orders a machine and it doesn’t arrive, the rep can be sued as well as the parent company.

[quote=“Tomas”]
Steel yourself. One of my clients, on the subject of getting the necessary paperwork together to establish a branch office here: “This has been just about the most perverse and bizarre paperwork process I have ever seen.”[/quote]

Hmmmmm… ok. Did they say anything more specific about areas of difficulty? Having seen the English language info available on the govt. web site, it did seem there’s a lot of paperwork, but nothing too extreme- not with knowledgeable local help anyway.

Oh well- will find out for myself soon I guess!

Make an appointment with Joseph Ni. The first one is free. He’ll be able to answer all of your questions. If you have trouble or questions along the way, feel free to PM me and I’ll try to help.

Hello again. Got another quick question for the forumosan experts. A friend/client who I have worked with for years is opening a large subsidiary in taiwan and I believe their current advisor they are using in NY is taking them for a ride regarding the capital reqs. Does anyone know the basic requirements for this, such as amounts required and whether it must be in cash or is inventory acceptable to meet these reqs.?

I have set up a Taiwanese company, branch office and rep. office. The branch office was hardest to set up but I wouldn’t call it a nightmare if you are used to doing international business.

I doubt a rep. office would be suitable for the OP, they are already trading and it sounds like they need to make sales or handle product within Taiwan. In that case a branch office is a very convenient and cost effective way to do business here.

The capital requirement depends whether you are talking about getting a work permit for your manager(s) or just setting up the office.

If you’re being told there is a large startup capital requirement, I think that’s not the case although the exact situation of your friend’s company may make a difference. I went through the process with me living here already so no visa/work permit hassles to negotiate, although that would probably just mean more time/office fees/paperwork if your friend has nobody on the ground here yet. We started our subsidiary in late 2008 with NTD1M and it could have been a lot less. The capital requirement for starting a foregn subsidiary is the same as for starting a local company i.e. very low, I don’t know the exact $$ figure though. I don’t know about inventory either but I think not.

There’s a lot of info online in good English at Taiwan government websites. This is a good starting point investintaiwan.nat.gov.tw/matter/show_eng.jsp
It doesn’t mention an exact required amount but the exact info may be elsewhere if you fish around. Good luck!

Why was it the hardest for you? I need an advice on that matter since I was thinking B2C business in Taiwan and it seems like it requires at least a branch office.
Thanks,

Ignoring any requirements for foreigner work permits or ARCs, a regular Taiwan company not limited by shares is probably the easiest to set up. Any local CPA can do that for a few thousand NT$ in a short amount of time, less than 1 month for a foreign director.

Then followed by a rep. office which is quite easy to handle on the Taiwan side but needs some authentication etc. of foreign documents and probably takes around 3 months end-to-end.

A branch office needs a lot of documentation from the foreign side which has to be authenticated, and also quite a lot of work on the Taiwan side as well. You also have all the tax reporting requirements of a regular local company but with the added complications of reporting back to your home company as well. It’s not a setup which is well suited to small businesses unless you are doing it purely for tax benefit, e.g. registering a company in HK solely to run a branch office in Taiwan.

If you want to get set up fast and need to make sales or purchases within Taiwan then a regular company is best.