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Global guide: Starting a business

Global Guide: Starting a business

Our guide on starting a business provides high-level information for foreign investors aiming to start a business in selected jurisdictions.

Topics covered include the main vehicles for starting a business, key formalities for setting up a company or a branch, whether foreign restrictions apply and some tax and employment highlights.

It is intended merely to highlight issues and not to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice, but we hope it proves useful. We have included the contact details of some of our experts who have contributed to this guide, but you should also feel free to get in touch with your own Linklaters contacts about any of the issues raised.

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Key themes

Ways of doing business

In order to start a business in another country, you need to decide how to set up and operate abroad. In general, some of the most common ways are operating through a company or setting up a branch. Each country has its own different types of companies and a detailed analysis should be made in each specific case of which type of company is best suited to the specific needs of the planned investment. It is a cost decision, but also a strategic one, which should be studied. In our guide, we analyse the key formalities for incorporation of each alternative investment vehicle, as well as the possibility (or not) of purchasing an off the shelf company. Other options such as investing in an ongoing business through joint venture agreements are not analysed in this guide, but you can check our Global Guide - Joint Ventures.

Foreign investment restrictions

Investment by foreign investors in certain key sectors may be subject to prior approval in certain countries. In these cases, carrying out the foreign investment without authorisation or in breach of set conditions may be considered a serious infringement and result in penalties. Our guide analyses whether foreign investment restrictions apply in each jurisdiction and sets out reporting requirements.

Corporate governance and ongoing obligations

Our guide will help you understand the rules applying to the governing bodies of the company, as well as the main ongoing obligations applicable to companies in each jurisdiction; such as keeping corporate books, accounting obligations, obligations regarding any registries or publication requirements.

Employment highlights

Before starting the business and hiring employees, investors must be mindful of applicable employment regulations in the destination country, to comply with any requirements for registration and notification to the relevant labour authorities. In most countries workers’ social rights are guaranteed, but their implementation can differ greatly from country to country. Our guide will provide you with a general overview of the applicable legal regime.

Tax highlights

Taxes will vary depending on the destination country. Taxation and the taxes to be paid in the host country for carrying on an economic activity are other fundamental aspects when setting up a business abroad. It is important to know the country’s tax system in order to comply with formal tax obligations.

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