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Business Opportunities in Bangladesh for Foreign Investors

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Navigating Business Opportunities in Bangladesh for Foreign Investors: Considerations for Foreign Investors

Bangladesh is a land of vibrant opportunities for foreign investors. The nation’s open and dynamic market beckons entrepreneurs from across the globe to explore its potential. Whether you are considering establishing a company or setting up branch and liaison offices, is here to provide guidance on the essential considerations for foreigners looking to invest or register companies in Bangladesh.

Setting up a Company in Bangladesh

Foreigners looking to establish a company in Bangladesh must be mindful of several crucial considerations. Here are the key points you should keep in mind:

1. Bank Account and Initial Capital

One of the mandatory requirements for company incorporation in Bangladesh is the opening of a bank account in the name of the proposed company. To initiate this process, you will need to obtain name clearance from the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSC). Moreover, the initial paid-up capital must be brought into the country. This step is fundamental to kickstart your business journey in Bangladesh.

2. Minimal Physical Presence

Foreign investors should note that all company incorporation formalities can be handled without the necessity of any of the foreign individuals involved physically visiting Bangladesh. However, there may be an exception when opening a bank account, which depends on the choice of bank. This streamlined approach facilitates the investment process, making it accessible to international entrepreneurs.

3. Foreign Directors and Shareholders

In Bangladesh, there is no restriction on the nationality of directors and shareholders. This means that all directors and shareholders can be foreigners, ensuring that the company structure can be tailored to meet the needs and preferences of the investors.

4. Visa Requirements

For foreigners who intend to incorporate a private limited company in Bangladesh but do not plan to relocate to the country, there is no requirement to obtain any special Bangladeshi visa. This flexibility allows foreigners to operate the company from overseas and visit Bangladesh on a business visa whenever necessary to attend to company matters on a short-term basis.

However, if foreigners have plans to relocate to Bangladesh to manage and operate the company, they are required to obtain a work permit. This work permit is essential for compliance with Bangladeshi labor laws and regulations, ensuring a smooth transition for those looking to be actively involved in the daily operations of their businesses.

Branch and Liaison Office Registration in Bangladesh

In addition to the option of forming a private limited company, foreigners can also explore the possibility of setting up branch and liaison offices in Bangladesh. These alternatives offer distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Formation of a Branch Office

A Branch Office of a foreign company can engage in commercial activities in Bangladesh with prior approval from the Board of Investment (BIDA). However, it’s important to understand that a Branch Office can only have local sources of income from the approved field of business activities in Bangladesh with the prior approval of the Inter-Ministerial Committee, and proper justification supported by relevant documents.

The formation of a Branch Office in Bangladesh involves fulfilling similar requirements as those for a Liaison/Representative Office. However, it may not be a viable option for projects that require the renewal of branch office permission, as it is subject to this renewal process. Additionally, it may not serve as an ideal special purpose vehicle for certain projects, especially when they require carrying out off-balance sheet functions separate from the parent company.

Formation of a Liaison/Representative Office

A Liaison/Representative Office is a more limited entity compared to a Branch Office. It can perform only specific activities, which include:

  • Maintaining liaison and coordination between the principal company and local agents, distributors, and exporter institutions through various forms of communication.
  • Collecting, compiling, analyzing, and disseminating business information related to its field of activities as specified in the approval letter from BIDA.

A crucial point to note is that a Liaison/Representative Office will not have any local sources of income in Bangladesh. All setup and operational costs, including salaries of expatriates and local employees, will be borne by the parent company abroad.

Moreover, no outward remittances of any kind from Bangladesh sources will be allowed, except for the amount initially brought in from abroad, which is the unspent part.

Branch and Liaison Offices as Business Entities

It’s essential to recognize that a Branch or Liaison Office is considered a legal entity in Bangladesh after being registered with the Board of Investment. However, they are still viewed as extensions of the foreign company, rather than separate legal entities. As such, the parent company is implicitly liable for all the debts and liabilities of the Branch or Liaison Office. This can limit the range of activities that such offices can undertake and may not be a viable option for certain projects.

Foreign investment and company registration in Bangladesh offer tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs worldwide. stands ready to provide expert guidance, ensuring that all aspects of the process are handled efficiently and in compliance with local laws and regulations.

Whether you choose to establish a private limited company, a Branch Office, or a Liaison/Representative Office, it is crucial to understand the specific advantages and limitations of each option. By considering these key factors and aligning your business strategy with the right choice for your goals, you can embark on a successful journey of investment and entrepreneurship in Bangladesh.

Certainly, here’s a table with breakdown of the key considerations for foreigners looking to invest or register companies in Bangladesh:

StageStage DescriptionKey ConsiderationsRequirementsAdditional Notes
1Initial PreparationName clearance, initial capital, and bank account.– Open a bank account in the company’s name. – Obtain name clearance from the RJSC. – Bring the initial paid-up capital into the country.The bank visit may be required, depending on the chosen bank.
2Registration ProcessHandling incorporation formalities without physical presence.– All incorporation formalities can be managed without the need for physical presence.A streamlined approach for international investors.
3Director & Shareholder CompositionForeign nationals as directors and shareholders.– No nationality restrictions on directors and shareholders.Flexibility in structuring the company.
4Visa RequirementsBusiness visa vs. work permit for foreigners.– No special Bangladesh visa required for company incorporation if not relocating. – Work permit needed if planning to relocate to operate the company.A work permit is essential for hands-on involvement in the business.
5Branch & Liaison OfficesComparison of formation options.– Formation of a Branch Office allows commercial activities with prior approval. – Formation of a Liaison/Representative Office has limited activities and no local source of income.The choice depends on the nature of business and project requirements.

This table provides an overview of the key considerations at each stage of the investment and company registration process in Bangladesh for foreign investors.

As a foreign investor, you can take advantage of Bangladesh’s growing economy and business-friendly environment with confidence, knowing that is your trusted partner in navigating the complex landscape of company registration and investment in this dynamic country.


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