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Register Company in Laos
Beginning a new business in any country can be a daunting thing for an investor who is doing it for the first time. But one good thing about beginning a new business anywhere is that usually there are basic structures and processes to follow that serve as a guideline on where and how to begin.
Laos is thought to be one of the more difficult countries in the world when it comes to registering a company and starting a business. The time between filing the application and receiving the necessary paperwork can sometimes be an unnecessarily long process. Still, that doesn’t stop companies from registering a company in Laos because there are foreign-owned companies that are running businesses in the country.
Registering a company in Laos requires foreign investors to choose an industry before they set out to spend their valuable time and money only to find out it is not possible to start a business. That is because some industries in Laos are not open for foreign investments, so a background check would need to be done to determine if the business you have in mind can be opened.
Types of business structures in Laos
For foreign investors, there are two options available for registering a company – either choose to go with a Representative Office, or establish a Limited Company.
A Representative Office – as the name implies, a Representative Office represents a legal entity registered in another country. This is suitable for foreign investors who need and want to have a formal, recognised presence in Laos. This representative would collect data on investment opportunities and ensure coordination between the relevant ministries of the Laos government while the head office remains based overseas. The activities that can be undertaken by this type of entity includes:
- Collecting data and conducting feasibility studies for potential investments
- Act as the focal point in Laos for the head office
- Monitoring the implementation of any MOU or agreement between the head office and the local government
A Limited Company – this structure is used by almost all foreign direct investments in Laos, whether or not the company involved is completely foreign-owned or partnered with a Laos resident. Foreign investors will receive protection for their investments under the local law and multiple business entry visas for the investors and their families which are linked to the investment. Under this entity, the intellectual property of foreign investors is also protected under the local law.
Documents required to register a company in Laos
Among the documentation that is required to register a company in Laos are:
- Articles of Association which are required for every business registration
- The Joint Venture Agreement or the shareholder agreement
- The Lease Agreement. In the case of a Limited Company, the company will need to take a lease on a premise before embarking on the registration application
- Bank statements that support the financial viability of the investor
- The personal details of the investor which include copies of the passport and resume
- The business plan outlining the nature of the intended business and its operations
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