Start a Representative Office in Australia: Features & Benefits

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the procedure of establishing a representative office in Australia, outlining the steps, required documents, and the myriad benefits that come with this strategic move.


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    In the dynamic landscape of global business, expanding your company’s presence in strategic locations can be a game-changer. Australia is a desirable location for entrepreneurs seeking to build a presence in the Asia-Pacific area due to its strong economy and conducive business environment. If you’re considering setting up your business in Australia, starting a representative office could be the key to unlocking a world of opportunities. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of establishing a representative office in Australia, outlining the steps, required documents, and the myriad benefits that come with this strategic move.

    What is a Representative Office?

    Before diving into the process of establishing a representative office in Australia, it’s essential to understand what it entails. A Representative Office functions as an extension of a parent company located outside of Australia. It’s primarily used for non-commercial activities like market research and establishing business connections. This setup is ideal for companies looking to explore the Australian market without the commitment of establishing a full-fledged subsidiary.

    Why Choose Australia for Your Representative Office?

    1. Choosing Australia for your representative office presents numerous advantages. Firstly, Australia’s economy is known for its resilience and stability, offering a secure environment for foreign investments. The country’s GDP growth, coupled with its strong financial sector, provides a robust economic backdrop for businesses.
    2. Secondly, Australia boasts a highly skilled and multicultural workforce, which can be invaluable for companies looking to understand and penetrate diverse markets. The workforce is well-educated and English-speaking, reducing the language barrier significantly.
    3. Thirdly, Australia’s strategic geographical location serves as a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region, one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. This location offers businesses a unique opportunity to expand their reach not just in Australia but also in neighboring Asian markets.
    4. Furthermore, the Australian government is renowned for encouraging foreign investment. With transparent regulations and incentives for foreign businesses, the process of setting up an office can be more streamlined and less cumbersome compared to other regions.
    5. Lastly, the quality of life in Australia is a draw for attracting top talent. The country’s healthcare, education, and lifestyle are rated among the best worldwide, making it a desirable location for expatriates and local employees alike.

    Steps to Start a Representative Office in Australia

    Step 1: Conduct Market Research 

    Before taking the plunge, conduct thorough market research to understand the local business landscape, identify potential challenges, and assess demand for your products or services.

    Step 2: Legal Structure 

    Select the Representative Office’s legal framework. In Australia, a Representative Office is typically established as a ‘Foreign Company.’

    Step 3: Registration 

    Enroll your business with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). This involves submitting necessary documents, including the company’s constitution, details of directors, and a registered office address in Australia.

    Step 4: Appoint a Local Representative 

    Nominate an individual resident in Australia to act as the local representative. This individual acts as the point of contact between the local government and the Representative Office.

    Step 5: Open a Bank Account 

    Set up a bank account for your Representative Office with an Australian financial institution. This account will be used for routine operational expenses.

    Documents Required for Establishing a Representative Office in Australia

    • Certification of Incorporation or a similar document proving the parent company’s legal existence.
    • Memorandum of Association or equivalent, detailing the company’s structure and objectives.
    • Board resolution authorizing the establishment of the representative office and appointing a representative.
    • Identification and credentials of the appointed representative.
    • Financial statements or bank references to prove the financial standing of the parent company.
    • Detailed business plan, including proposed activities and objectives of the Australian office.
    • Lease or rental agreement for the Australian office space (if applicable).

    Features of a Representative Office in Australia

    • Limited Scope of Activities: Representative offices are often only allowed to carry out non-commercial tasks including brand marketing, liaison work, and market research.
    • No Direct Sales or Revenue Generation: These offices are not allowed to engage in activities that generate income or direct sales.
    • Dependence on Parent Company: Financially and operationally, representative offices depend on their parent company.
    • Regulatory Compliance: While they enjoy certain exemptions, representative offices must still comply with local regulations, including registration and reporting requirements.
    • Temporary Structure: Often viewed as a temporary arrangement, ideal for companies assessing the market before making larger investments.

    Benefits of Setting Up a Representative Office in Australia

    Australia boasts a stable economy, a transparent legal system, and a skilled workforce, making it the perfect location for companies wishing to increase their global presence.

    Let’s explore the specific advantages of starting a representative office in Australia:

    1. Low-Risk Market Entry 

    Establishing a representative office is a prudent approach for companies to enter the Australian market with minimal risk. Unlike establishing a subsidiary or branch office, a representative office requires less capital investment and incurs lower operational costs. This low-risk strategy is particularly beneficial for companies at the initial stage of exploring a new market.

    2. Market Research and Customer Insights

    A representative office in Australia provides an excellent platform for conducting in-depth market research. Businesses can obtain important data regarding customer preferences, regional market trends, rival research, and legislative environments. This direct market exposure is crucial for making informed decisions about potential full-scale operations in the future.

    3. Brand Presence and Recognition 

    Having a physical presence in Australia through a representative office significantly boosts a company’s brand visibility. It demonstrates a commitment to the Australian market, which can enhance brand recognition and build trust among local consumers and business partners.

    4. Strategic Networking Opportunities

    A representative office facilitates direct contact with local businesses, industry leaders, and government agencies. These interactions are vital for building a professional network, understanding industry dynamics, and finding potential partners or clients. It also opens doors to industry-specific events and trade shows, providing further networking opportunities.


    Establishing a representative office in Australia offers a low-risk strategy for businesses to explore and understand the market without the commitment of setting up a larger operation. The benefits of market exploration, cost-efficiency, and simplified compliance make it an attractive option for entrepreneurs seeking a low-risk entry into the dynamic Australian market. 

    OnDemand International can streamline the process of setting up a representative office in Australia. Our expertise in local regulations, market trends, and legal requirements makes us an ideal partner for navigating the complexities of establishing a foreign office. With our assistance, businesses can focus on growth and exploration while ensuring compliance and efficiency.


    No, a Representative Office is not permitted to engage in commercial activities. Its primary function is to support and promote the interests of the parent firm.

    The registration process can vary, but with proper documentation and compliance, it typically takes a few weeks to a few months.


    Generally, most businesses can establish a Representative Office in Australia, but certain industries may have specific regulatory requirements.

    Compliance requirements include registration with ASIC, adherence to taxation laws, and compliance with employment regulations.