Saturday, April 13, 2024
Saturday, April 13, 2024

Things To Know Before Starting Foreign Subsidiary Company In India

by Vartika Kulshrestha
Foreign Subsidiary Company In India

Starting a foreign subsidiary company in India can be a promising venture, given the country’s burgeoning economy and vast consumer base. However, this endeavor requires meticulous planning and a comprehensive understanding of the Indian business landscape. In this 1500-word article, we will explore essential factors and considerations that any foreign investor should be well-acquainted with before establishing a subsidiary in India. From legal structures and regulatory approvals to taxation, cultural sensitivity, and exit strategies, this guide aims to provide a holistic overview, ensuring that you are well-prepared to navigate the intricacies of the Indian market and maximize the potential of your foreign subsidiary.

Let’s delve in things we must know before starting foreign subsidiary company in India. 

Legal Structure of Foreign Subsidiary Company in India

When starting a foreign subsidiary company in India, choosing the right legal structure is crucial. Here are some options to consider:

  • Private Limited Company: Common choice for its simplicity and limited liability. Requires at least two shareholders and two directors, with one being a resident of India.
  • Public Limited Company: Suitable for larger businesses looking to raise capital through public shares. Requires a minimum of seven shareholders and three directors, with one resident director.
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): Offers limited liability without extensive compliance requirements. Requires a minimum of two partners, with no resident director requirement.
  • Branch Office: An extension of the parent company, subject to RBI registration, and with limited activities.
  • Joint Venture: Partner with an Indian company to create a new entity for shared business activities.
  • Wholly-Owned Subsidiary: Establish a 100% foreign-owned subsidiary, providing full control but subject to Indian regulations on foreign ownership limits.

Regulatory Approvals of Foreign Subsidiary Company in India

Regulatory approvals are essential when establishing a foreign subsidiary in India:

  • Sector-Specific Approvals: Depending on your industry, you may require approvals from agencies like RBI, SEBI, or DPIIT, following sector-specific guidelines.
  • FDI Compliance: Ensure compliance with FDI regulations, including government approvals for sectors with higher FDI limits.
  • Company Registration: Register your company with the ROC and obtain a Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Tax Registrations: Register for PAN and GST to meet tax obligations.
  • Import/Export Licenses: Obtain permits from DGFT for importing/exporting goods.
  • IPR Protection: Consider IP registrations for trademark, patent, and copyright protection.
  • Labor and Environmental Compliance: Adhere to labor laws, environmental clearances, and employment approvals.
  • Banking and Finance: Open an Indian bank account and understand currency exchange regulations.
  • Customs and Excise: Secure approvals from CBIC if dealing with excisable goods.

Minimum Capital Investment of Foreign Subsidiary Company in India:

When starting a foreign subsidiary company in India, understanding the minimum capital investment requirement is essential. Here’s what you need to know:

Minimum Capital Requirement: 

Indian regulations specify a minimum capital requirement for certain types of companies. For example, a private limited company typically requires a minimum authorized and paid-up capital, but this amount is relatively low and can vary. It’s crucial to confirm the specific capital requirement for your type of business and sector.

Capital Infusion: 

After incorporation, you must infuse the minimum required capital into your subsidiary’s bank account in India. This capital is used for the company’s operational expenses and cannot be repatriated until certain conditions are met, such as the completion of required filings and approvals.

Business Viability: 

While there may be minimum capital requirements, it’s essential to determine the actual capital needed for your business to operate effectively and grow. Ensure that your subsidiary has sufficient funds to meet its operational and expansion needs.

Legal Compliance: 

Ensure that you follow all legal and regulatory requirements regarding capital infusion. Accurate record-keeping and compliance with financial reporting obligations are crucial to maintain good standing with Indian authorities.

Professional Advice: 

To determine the appropriate amount of capital investment for your specific business, it’s advisable to consult with financial experts and legal advisors who specialize in foreign investments in India. They can provide guidance on capital requirements and financial planning.

Local Directors and Shareholders of Foreign Subsidiary Company in India

Appointing local directors and shareholders for your foreign subsidiary in India is crucial:

  • Director Requirement: At least one director must be an Indian resident to ensure compliance with local regulations.
  • Shareholder Mix: While there are no nationality restrictions for shareholders, a mix of local and foreign shareholders may align with your business strategy.
  • Nominee Directors: Consider appointing a resident director if necessary for compliance.
  • Shareholding Agreements: Clearly define ownership rights and responsibilities in shareholder agreements.
  • Compliance: Ensure compliance with reporting requirements and maintain accurate records.
  • Local Expertise: Local directors and shareholders can provide valuable market insights and navigate cultural nuances.
  • Professional Guidance: Consult experts in Indian corporate law to ensure compliance with legal requirements.

Taxation and Compliance of Foreign Subsidiary Company in India

Navigating taxation and compliance in India is crucial:

  • Tax Structure: Understand India’s tax system, including income tax and GST, and seek local tax advice for efficient planning.
  • GST Registration: Register for GST if applicable and follow compliance rules for goods and services.
  • Transfer Pricing: Comply with transfer pricing regulations for related party transactions.
  • Withholding Tax: Abide by withholding tax requirements for payments to non-residents.
  • Audits: Conduct annual audits and maintain accurate financial records as per Indian company law.
  • Tax Planning: Optimize tax liability within Indian tax laws with expert guidance.
  • Compliance Reporting: Stay updated on regulatory changes and fulfill reporting obligations.
  • Local Advisors: Work with local chartered accountants and legal experts for specialized advice.
  • Customized Strategy: Tailor your tax and compliance strategy to your subsidiary’s specific needs in India.

Labor Laws and Employment of Foreign Subsidiary Company in India

Complying with labor laws and employment regulations in India is vital:

  • Labor Laws: Familiarize yourself with India’s labor laws governing wages, working hours, and employment conditions.
  • Employment Contracts: Create clear, legally compliant employment contracts outlining roles, compensation, and terms.
  • Minimum Wage: Ensure employees receive the mandated minimum wage.
  • Working Hours: Adhere to working hour limits and overtime regulations.
  • Employee Benefits: Provide mandatory benefits like provident fund and gratuity.
  • Termination Procedures: Understand legal procedures for employee terminations.
  • Trade Unions: Be aware of labor unions’ presence and engage constructively if necessary.
  • Social Security: Comply with social security contributions.
  • Employee Safety: Maintain a safe workplace as per regulations.
  • Compliance Reporting: Keep records and submit required reports.
  • Local Advisors: Seek guidance from local experts familiar with Indian labor laws.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Be culturally sensitive in the diverse Indian workplace.

Cultural Sensitivity and Localization:

Cultural sensitivity and localization are key:

  • Diversity Awareness: Embrace India’s diverse culture, languages, and traditions.
  • Language Consideration: Respect regional languages alongside English for effective communication.
  • Customs and Respect: Learn local customs, etiquette, and business protocols to build positive relationships.
  • Religious Awareness: Be mindful of religious holidays and practices.
  • Adaptation: Tailor hiring, management, and product/service strategies to accommodate cultural differences.
  • Local Partnerships: Build strong relationships with local partners and suppliers.
  • Consumer Behavior: Understand regional variations in consumer behavior.
  • Festival Planning: Plan around major festivals and celebrations.
  • CSR Alignment: Align corporate social responsibility with local community needs and values.
  • Training: Provide cultural sensitivity training to employees.


In conclusion, establishing a foreign subsidiary in India is a promising endeavor, but it comes with complexities that require meticulous planning and adherence to local regulations. From selecting the right legal structure to navigating tax compliance, labor laws, and cultural sensitivities, thorough preparation is essential. Seeking local expertise and building strong relationships are keys to success. India’s diverse market offers significant opportunities, but understanding and respecting its cultural nuances and business environment is vital. With careful consideration and adherence to legal and cultural norms, your foreign subsidiary can thrive and contribute to your global business success in this dynamic and growing economy.

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