How to Set Up a Subsidiary Company?: Complete Guide

A subsidiary company is a distinct legal organization that is owned and managed by another business, typically known to as the parent company or holding company.


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    In the realm of business expansion and strategic growth, the term “Subsidiary Company” holds significant importance. It’s not merely a corporate jargon but a pivotal concept that can shape the trajectory of businesses, enabling them to grow and penetrate new markets while keeping control and lowering risks. 

    In this comprehensive guide, we delve into what subsidiary companies are, their key characteristics, types, establishment processes, benefits, structure, and control dynamics. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a budding business enthusiast, understanding the nuances of subsidiary companies is crucial for informed decision-making and sustainable growth.

    What is a Subsidiary Company?

    A subsidiary company is a distinct legal entity that is owned and managed by another business, typically known to as the parent company or holding company. Ownership is the defining feature; the parent firm owns a controlling interest, or more than half (50+%) of the voting stock of the subsidiary. This control gives the parent company the power to influence the operations and decision-making processes of the subsidiary.

    Key Characteristics of a Subsidiary Company

    Several key characteristics distinguish subsidiary companies:

    • Legal Independence: Because subsidiaries are independent legal companies, they are able to enter into agreements, hold property, and incur debts in their own identities.
    • Control: The parent company may not always be able to exercise full control over the subsidiary, even though it still has jurisdiction over it. Rather, influence is often achieved through share ownership and board presence.
    • Financial Reporting: Subsidiaries typically prepare their own financial statements, which are consolidated with those of the parent company for reporting purposes.
    • Risk management: By operating in various markets or industries, subsidiaries can assist the parent business in distributing risk.

    Types of Subsidiary Companies

    Subsidiary companies can take various forms, including:

    Wholly-Owned Subsidiaries 

    These subsidiaries have 100% ownership of the shares, which allows the parent firm total control over the subsidiary’s business operations and decision-making procedures.

    Majority-Owned Subsidiaries 

    This kind allows the parent firm to share control with other shareholders but still have substantial influence on the subsidiary’s operations because it holds more than 50% of the subsidiary’s shares.

    Joint Ventures 

    Sometimes, companies may establish subsidiaries through joint ventures with other entities, sharing ownership and control to pursue specific projects or ventures.

    Foreign Subsidiaries 

    These subsidiaries are established in foreign countries, allowing the parent company to expand its global presence and access new markets.

    Process of Establishing a Subsidiary

    Establishing a subsidiary involves several steps:

    1. Market Research 

    To find prospects and determine whether it would be feasible to establish a subsidiary in a specific market or sector, do in-depth market research.

    2. Legal and Regulatory Compliance

    Make that the subsidiaries are established and run in the target jurisdiction in accordance with all applicable local rules and regulations.

    3. Corporate Structuring

    Decide on the corporate structure of the subsidiary, including its legal form, shareholding structure, and governance arrangements.

    4. Registration and Incorporation 

    Submit the required paperwork, such as the articles of incorporation, shareholder agreements, and other legal documents, to the appropriate authorities in order to register and incorporate the subsidiary.

    5. Operational Setup

    Set up the subsidiary’s operational infrastructure, including offices, staffing, supply chains, and distribution networks, as required for its business activities.

    Benefits of Establishing Subsidiaries

    The establishment of subsidiary companies offers a myriad of benefits for businesses seeking growth and expansion:

    • Market Expansion: Subsidiaries provide a platform for penetrating new markets, reaching diverse customer segments, and capitalizing on emerging business opportunities.
    • Risk Mitigation: Businesses can reduce the risks associated with market swings, legislative changes, and economic downturns by diversifying their operations among a number of subsidiaries.
    • Operational Flexibility: By providing operational autonomy, subsidiaries enable businesses to customize their strategy, goods, and services to meet the demands and preferences of regional markets and customers.
    • Resource Allocation: Organizations can increase production and efficiency by leveraging synergies, streamlining procedures, and optimizing resource allocation through subsidiary enterprises.
    • Brand localization: Through subsidiaries, businesses can modify their marketing approaches, product offerings, and brand messages to better align with regional languages, cultures, and customs.


    In today’s competitive world, subsidiary firms are an effective instrument for corporate expansion, diversification, and risk management. Realizing the full potential of your organization and seizing expansion opportunities require a thorough understanding of the complexities involved in setting up, running, and managing subsidiaries. Establishing subsidiary firms strategically can help any organization, regardless of size—from established global corporations to emerging startups—achieve unprecedented success.

    For expert assistance in setting up your subsidiary company and navigating the complexities of international business expansion, OnDemand International stands ready to support you every step of the way. OnDemand International offers comprehensive support tailored to your specific needs, ranging from virtual office solutions and banking services to company registration and compliance. Get in touch with us right now to start your path to company success!


    While a branch is only an extension of the parent business’s operations in a new place, it lacks legal independence, a subsidiary is a distinct legal entity owned or managed by a parent firm.

    If a subsidiary’s shares are listed on a stock exchange, then the subsidiary may be traded publicly as long as the parent firm maintains majority ownership or control.

    Tax implications may vary depending on the jurisdiction and corporate structure of the subsidiary.