Foreigner starting business

I was curious if anyone knew of the legalities surrounding opening a business in Taiwan (for a foreigner). This is my problem… I am starting a company that combines online business with brick and mortar. It is somewhat like an event organizing business. I have looked into registering the business and have been told that on top of the 25 -45% tax rates for corporate business, you need to prove a bank account balance of NT500,000 (although this can be returned after verification). I have also inquired about an international business operating in Taiwan as a branch office and this will reduce the tax rates to a mere 25% :unamused: but the cost associated with registering a company in the British Virgin Islands (so I wouldn’t get hit twice with taxes) are about US$1600.00 for set up fees and then an additional US$800.00 per year.
I was thinking of not registering and then just claiming my income as personal on top of my job. I asked at the MOEA and they said they were not sure if this was legal or not. I also inquired about a foreigner opening up business as a sole proprietor or in a partnership company and was told that these options are not available for foreigners. At this point, due to the heavy tax restrictions, I am thinking of going this route regardless.
I am also looking for a merchant account provider (in order to accept credit card and debit card payments online).
Most of the merchant account providers require a U.S tax ID number and address. Does anyone currently have a business that accepts online payments? If so, can you tell me what was involved in setting it up and what the costs were?
I do have a Chinese investor that is also a good friend of mine but I am not sure if I want to trust someone with 100% ownership of my company in order to avoid the red tape and tax burden.
Any info would be greatly appreciated. You can post here or send info to my email account at

[PM me for more info.]

There are a number of ways for foreign business to operate in Taiwan. This memo provides an introduction to some of the most common types.

Of the four types of companies under Taiwan

I was hoping someone would start a thread like this. There have been similar in the past, but they’re all a bit vague and disorganised so I held off merging them together.

Please feel free to add anything useful to this one, including offshore company set-up services and self-sponsored ARC issues.

For my part, I am pretty sure that pretty much anyone can obtain a US taxpayer ID. You just have to ask the IRS for it, and it’s not necessary to be a US resident. (If you are a US resident than your social security number does the trick.)

Also, if you’re just setting up a subsiduary company here (and not planning to have the parent company trade) then the parent company need not be ‘offshore’ - ie low/zero tax. You can buy a company ‘off the shelf’ in the UK for less than

I used to post some information on setting up a company (I set up a branch office for a foreign company more than two years ago). The problem is, the information I used to have might not be up to date anymore (and that might refer to other posts regarding this topic as well). Still, if I can be of any help, feel free to PM me.


I went through the process a year ago. I went the route of a local limited liability company at the 500K capital amount. It cost me NT$60K to have an accountant set it up. I also have extensive experience in how to get work permits/ARCs for foreigners that own their company. A foriegner can own his or her company as long as it is approved by the Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. HOWEVER, this doesn’t not guarantee you that your company can cut you a work permit/ARC as the owner. BEWARE! This is the biggest misconception foreigners have in setting up a company in Taiwan. I’ve seen many tears shead over this.

Please PM me for details.

OK,I’m single and live in Taiwan with my gf(both South Africans).Can we start our own school or must one of us get married to a Taiwanese?

Dear all, hello.

We are about to open a brunch of a Swiss company in Taipei.
Can anyone please advise us about a good and not very expensive office building where we can rent a small office ?

We are also looking to hire two people with perfect english. One position is for a sales proffesional and the second one is more technical. A big prefference is to persons with previous experience in FPD (Flat Panel Display) industry.

Thank you !
Kara Gurevich


Try Taipei 101 kara. What do you sell? :bouncy:

I require the services of a business lawyer, accountant and business consultant.

Fluency in English required.

Your recommendations are highly appreciated.

Thank you.


Please provide details for applying and acquiring an import licence with Taiwan as destination for imports.

Indicate relevant authorities, fees, duration for approval, etc.

Many thanks.


Try your local accountant.

I paid NT$8k for mine, including a company registration.

You will need a legal address, and a local to front.

It took a month.

Try “this month in Taipei”.

Try Joseph,

I think his business is called goodearth. It’s over the starbucss on Ming Seng East Road next to the Union Bank between Fu Hsing and Tun Hua.

He speaks excellent English and specializes in setting up companies for foreigners.

We produce parts for flat display industry .
By the way, thanks a lot for your posts on the “travel” room.
Makes my weekends here more fun :slight_smile:

All this seems slightly overwhelming for someone who might be starting a one person company with perhaps one local hire.

Is it actually possible for someone who has been here awhile to start a one person ‘consultancy’ and meet all the requirements? I would like to legitimise freelance work and have the ability to meet with potential clients directly. Without starting a business locally I assume this isn’t possible.

Does anyone have this guy’s number? I’ve tried visiting his office but he seems to keep erratic hours.

His office didn’t exist when I last went there (about a month ago.)

Are there any legalities/probs I should be aware of if my business partner and I put the business in his name as he has a (new) Taiwanese passport?

We need to get the company registered ASAP. His Taiwanese passport arrives in a few days. Can he go and register a business with his passport, or will there be more red tape for him to go through before he can own his own business?

Am I allowed to be 50-50 business partner, or do I have to own a minority share?

Is it expensive to set the business up this way?

Any advice would be much appreciated.


I was told that a business entity with a foreign partner would still be subjected to the foreign business entity rules. So, that means having a Taiwanese business partner wouldn’t help you much per se. You might as well just go all the way by yourself. And we have a thread for that information here: [url]Foreigner starting business