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Global Expansion Made Easy: Registering Foreign Companies in India

registering foreign companies in India
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Globalization may have gotten its kick start in the 1990s in India with the liberalization laws and ever since then, it has been making headlines with various major companies investing or starting up their manufacturing units in the country. Companies have started to expand globally given the benefits of outsourcing and cost-effective measures. To state what it means formally Global expansion refers to a growth strategy that involves taking business operations, products, and services from a home market into target markets abroad. It’s also referred to as “international expansion,” “overseas expansion,” and “foreign expansion.” the importance of global expansion for businesses is necessary as it helps tap into new markets, gain a competitive advantage, acquire world-leading experts, reduce business costs and provides greater stability.

 As a fast-growing nation that also ranks as the world’s largest democracy, setting up foreign companies in India can be intriguing. India‘s key structural reforms and rise in government investment have made it a stable economy beneficial for global companies to invest in. India has become a powerhouse in technological innovation and is a recognized force for investment alongside the United States and China. Another major factor that has driven global companies to invest in India is the massive consumer market dominated by a healthy middle class.

Registering a foreign company in India can be a complex and time-consuming process, but with the right guidance and understanding of the regulatory requirements, it can be a rewarding endeavor. By following the steps laid out, a company can be better prepared to navigate the registration process and successfully establish its foreign company in the booming Indian market.

1. Understanding India’s Business Environment

India’s sizeable middle-class population becomes an asset for the country in inviting global companies to invest in the country by catering to their needs. India’s business expansion potential makes it an attractive market to invest in.

Global corporations view India as one of the key markets from where future growth is likely to emerge. The growth in India’s consumer market would be primarily driven by a favorable population composition and increasing disposable income. political stability is a variable of great importance in a country’s evolution since, across time, it was identified as causing a low level of economic growth, but also it was presented as a consequence of poor economic development. India has had a stable political and legal framework that constantly keeps in check companies on the radar if they are any embezzlement. This makes the companies abide by the rules and ensures fair work ethics in the working sector. 

With the growing consumer base and increasing purchase power given to consumers, many companies experience a larger share of profit. 

2. Legal Framework for Foreign Companies

The companies in India are classified in their structure based on the 2013 Companies Act, the number of members in the company, according to the liability of the company, its control levels, and listings. Other types include foreign companies, producer companies, and small companies.

It is pertinent to note that companies must be fully aware of India’s regulatory and legal compliances. The Statutes and Regulations that must be complied with for Setting a Subsidiary in India by a Foreign Company are the Companies Act 2013,  Companies (Registration of Foreign Companies), Rules, 2014, Income Tax Act 1961, GST 2017, SEBI Rules and Regulations, FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) 1999,  Foreign Exchange Regulations, RBI Compliance Requirements. 

The Companies Act 2013 is an act of the Parliament of India on Indian company law which regulates the incorporation of a company, responsibilities of a company, directors, and dissolution of a company.

3. Key Steps to Register a Foreign Company in India

a) Pre-registration:

Before deciding to register the company in India, it should conduct thorough market research and study sources that are feasible. This helps assess whether the company is fit for entering the market and if they have any chance of growth in the country. 

A business legal structure, also known as a business entity, is a government classification that regulates certain aspects of your business. Choosing the right business structure from the start is among the most crucial decisions you can make. To make space for all companies, QSS Global understands the requirements of the different sectors and its team of experienced consultants ensures excellent efficiency. 

 b) Registration Process:

The first step in foreign company registration is obtaining a DSC for the company’s authorized representatives. A DSC is an electronic signature used for filing documents and forms online with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). Each director of the foreign company must obtain a DIN, which is a unique identification number issued by the MCA. The DIN application form can be filed online, and the required supporting documents must be submitted along with the application. The company must reserve a unique name for your foreign company with the Central Registration Centre (CRC) of the MCA. Prepare the necessary incorporation documents, such as the Memorandum of Association (MoA) and Articles of Association (AoA). After the foreign company is registered, you must obtain a PAN and TAN for tax purposes. These numbers are essential for complying with Indian tax laws and regulations. Depending on your business sector and activities, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits to operate in India. Also, an Indian head would be a better help in compiling how the laws and market work. QSS Global in this aspect, helps clients recruit top talent for Sales and Marketing roles by acquiring candidates from multiple sources to allow a highly skilled and talented team in the making based on the client’s requirements.

Also Read: India Market Entry Roadmap: From Planning to Execution for Global Businesses 

4. Taxation and Incentives for Foreign Companies

Tax incentive provisions normally have conditions applicable for the period within which the preferred activity should be undertaken and the period for which the tax incentive is available. As per Section 139 of the Income Tax Act (IT Act) every company, both domestic and foreign, is mandatorily required to furnish their tax returns for an assessment year. According to Section 90 of the IT Act, non-resident companies are provided the benefit of both the IT Act and the double taxation agreements entered by India with other countries, and they can choose the more beneficial rules to apply. India offers tax relief at both the central and state level. Additional incentives are available to investors in specific sectors, while 

India’s special economic zones (SEZs) offer comprehensive tax relief. Deduction of 100% of profits and gains derived from export business for first 5 years of commencement, 50% of profits and gains derived from export business for next 5 years, 50% of plowed-back profits and gains from export business for next 5 years is a key incentive provided in India. 

5. Operational Considerations and Challenges

Registering international companies in India has many challenges ahead. The company can essentially send a foreign manager for the time being to find resourceful talent. A major aspect of hiring is finding good local talent and human resources who can manage and adapt to the company’s work language. There is also a need to remove the barrier of culture and language which can be tackled slowly as the company employees learn the workings of the company and can interpret it. Difficulties might pose in many forms but once the market entry is done and profits start coming in, these challenges will be kept in the past. 

India has a well-established statutory, administrative, and judicial framework to safeguard Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), however, it is still facing problems with the enforcement of IPRs. India has notified the Intellectual Property Rights (Imported Goods) Enforcement Rules, 2007. The rules comply with border measures as required by the TRIPS Agreement empowering the Customs Officers to enforce IPR over imported products. even before operations begin, investors get entangled in legal disputes concerning property, operations in general, etc. As a result, foreign enterprises must jump through multiple hoops to obtain the necessary permits and approvals to begin doing business in India. Citizens and foreigners alike must wait months, if not years, to obtain the 100 or more approvals required to start a business. Collaboration with local business partners, on a technical, financial, and legal level could thus help you avoid initial risks and save time and money. 

Also Read: A Comprehensive Guide to Management Consulting: Strategies, Processes, and Benefits

6. Benefits and Potential of Registering a Foreign Company in India

South Asia is among the fastest-growing economic regions in the world. Coupled with a rapidly increasing middle class, it is a lucrative market for global foreign investments. The outsourcing of talent results in cost-effective labor and a skilled workforce. It also in a way works in employing the ever-growing large population of the country. Working at a global company subsidiary gives employees an outlook into how things work on a global level and give them an experience of a new kind. There is also a potential for foreign companies in India to expand and diversify their workforce. If a company gets maximum output from the Indian market they might as well start collaborating with Indian companies to further get into the market. With the help of the government and its reform policies, initiatives taken to support foreign investment also ensures new companies enter the market all around the year. 


In all of it, global expansion to India has become easy after the liberalization policies but the process of fully integrating remains a fairly long process. Therefore measures should be taken to make a simplified global expansion process.  But again, the wait is worth it for all the benefits that the market of India provides. A lucrative market with booming middle-class consumers and fair competition among competitors helps the company to provide better services. Companies should be encouraged all over to explore India’s market and leverage its growth potential because it definitely is the technological and cultural hub of the new world. 

But the companies should not forget that with making a decision as big as entering the markets of India, there needs to be a second opinion must take for whether the market serves the interest of the company. It is also beneficial to seek professional advice and guidance for a smooth registration process and avoid any later consequences as a result of ignorance.  

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