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What is the difference between an independent company and a subsidiary company?

What is the difference between an independent company and a subsidiary company? | Bestar
What is the difference between an independent company and a subsidiary company? | Bestar

What is the difference between an independent company and a subsidiary company?

While both exist in the business world, independent companies and subsidiary companies differ in their ownership and control structure:

Independent Company:

  • Ownership: Owned by individual shareholders or a group of investors, and no single entity holds a controlling majority stake.

  • Control: Management and decision-making are independent, without any external influence from another company.

  • Operations: Operates independently, managing its own finances, day-to-day activities, and strategic direction.

  • Liabilities: Solely responsible for its debts and obligations.

Subsidiary Company:

  • Ownership: Owned by a controlling entity called the "parent company" which holds a majority stake (usually more than 50%) of the subsidiary's shares.

  • Control: Parent company has significant influence over the subsidiary's operations, often through appointing board members, setting broad strategic direction, and potentially approving major decisions.

  • Operations: May have some level of operational independence, but ultimately operates within the framework established by the parent company.

  • Liabilities: While generally a separate legal entity, the parent company might be liable for the subsidiary's debts under certain circumstances, depending on specific laws and the nature of operations.

Here's a table summarizing the key differences:


Independent Company

Subsidiary Company


Diverse shareholder base with no controlling entity

Controlled by a parent company


Independent management and decision-making

Significant influence from parent company


Manages independently

Operates within parent company's framework


Solely responsible for debts and obligations

May have some shared liability with parent company in specific situations

Additional Points:

  • Subsidiaries can be wholly-owned by the parent company, meaning they own 100% of the shares, or they can have minority shareholders along with the parent company.

  • Companies can have multiple subsidiaries, forming a corporate group under the parent company's umbrella.

  • Forming a subsidiary offers advantages like entering new markets, managing risk, and gaining tax benefits. However, it also creates a more complex corporate structure.

Which type of company, independent or subsidiary, is better?

There's no simple answer to which type of company, independent or subsidiary, is definitively "better" in Singapore. Both structures offer distinct advantages and disadvantages, and the optimal choice depends on your specific business goals, resources, and risk tolerance. Here's a breakdown to help you decide:

Independent Company:


  • Full control and decision-making: You have complete autonomy over your company's direction and strategies.

  • Simpler structure: Less complex setup and management compared to a subsidiary.

  • Potential for higher profits: Profits are not shared with another entity.


  • Limited access to resources: May face difficulty obtaining funding or resources compared to larger companies with established networks.

  • Increased risk: Solely responsible for all liabilities and potential failures.

Subsidiary Company:


  • Access to resources: Can leverage the parent company's resources, brand recognition, and market access.

  • Risk mitigation: Parent company might offer financial and operational support, potentially reducing individual risk.

  • Tax benefits: May qualify for specific tax benefits available to subsidiaries in Singapore.


  • Reduced control: Parent company can influence your decision-making and restrict your operational autonomy.

  • Shared profits: Profits are shared with the parent company.

  • Increased complexity: Setting up and managing a subsidiary involves more complex legal and financial processes.

Additional Singapore-specific considerations:

  • Singapore's pro-business environment: Both independent companies and subsidiaries can benefit from Singapore's supportive environment. Singapore's government actively supports businesses, fostering a favorable environment for both independent and subsidiary companies.

  • Grant eligibility: Some government grants and incentives might have specific requirements regarding company structure (independent or subsidiary). Research relevant programs to see if they apply to your situation.

  • Your specific industry: Analyze the typical company structures within your industry in Singapore to understand the prevailing trend.

  • Long-term goals: Consider whether you aim for complete independence and control (independent) or potential growth opportunities with support from a larger entity (subsidiary).

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your unique circumstances and business aspirations. It's recommended to consult with professional advisors, such as accountants or business consultants, who can offer personalized guidance based on your specific situation and help you navigate the complexities of each option within the Singaporean context.

How Bestar can Help

What is the difference between an independent company and a subsidiary company?

Bestar, located in Singapore, offers a wide range of accounting and financial services to businesses of all sizes and structures, including both independent companies and subsidiaries. Here are some ways we can specifically help you:

  • Company Formation and Registration: Whether you're establishing an independent company or a subsidiary in Singapore, Bestar can guide you through the entire process, ensuring compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements.

  • Accounting and Bookkeeping Services: We can handle your day-to-day accounting needs, including bookkeeping, payroll processing, and tax preparation, freeing you to focus on running your business.

  • Tax Planning and Compliance: Bestar can help you understand and optimize your tax obligations in Singapore, whether you're an independent company or a subsidiary. We can also ensure you meet all relevant tax filing deadlines.

  • Financial Reporting and Analysis: We can prepare financial statements tailored to your specific needs, providing valuable insights into your company's financial performance. This is crucial for both independent companies and subsidiaries for decision-making and meeting regulatory requirements.

  • Business Consulting: Bestar's consultants can offer strategic advice and guidance on various aspects of starting and running a business in Singapore, considering your specific company structure, whether independent or subsidiary.

Seeking Expert Advice:

For a comprehensive understanding of the implications of each structure and personalized guidance considering your specific business goals and the Singaporean context, consult with Bestar. We can provide tailored advice and assist you in making informed decisions while navigating the legalities and complexities involved.

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