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Company Formation in Korea


The set-up of a company in South Korea requires the elaboration of specific documents such as the articles of association of the business. A special visa might be required for foreign investors according to the Korean Commercial Code. Our specialists in company formation in South Korea are ready to explain to you the requirements for opening an enterprise in this country.

 Quick Facts  
Types of companies

– general partnership,

– limited partnership,

– private limited liability company,

– public company

Minimum share capital requirements for LTD

USD 1

Minimum number of shareholders

At least one shareholder is required to open a company in Korea.
Local manager required (YES/NO)

No, there is no need for a local manager to start a business in Korea.

Incorporation timeframe (approx.)

Approx. 4 weeks

Corporate tax

Corporate tax is levied at rates rangining from 10% to 25% depending on the annual profits.

Dividend tax

– 15.4% for payments made to residents,

– 20% for payments to non-residents

VAT rate

10%

Number of double tax treaties (approx.)

Approx. 90 double tax treaties

Registered address availability (YES/NO) Yes, registered addresses are available for company formation in Korea.
Shareholders annual meeting required

Annual shareholders meeting must be held.

Availability of electronic signature

Electronic signatures are accepted in South Korea.

Annual return filing requirements

Interim tax returns must be filed for the first 6 months, annual tax returns must be filed no later than 3 months from the end of the financial year.

Full foreign-ownership availability

Full foreign ownership is allowed.

Tax exemptions/incentives 

– foreign tax credits,

– corporate tax exemptions for SMEs,

– tax exemptions for increasing employment,

– research and development incentives

Company formation services support in Korea 

We offer company registration services in Korea.


Company formation steps in South Korea 

If you want to open a company in South Korea, there are several steps you need to complete. After choosing the most suitable legal form, you must:

  1. reserve the company’s trading name;
  2. draft the Articles of Association in the case of private and public companies;
  3. file these documents alongside other papers with the Companies Register;
  4. set up a company bank account with a financial institution of your choosing;
  5. apply for a tax identification number;
  6. apply for the necessary licenses, depending on the industry to operate in.

No matter the type of entity you decide on, it must have at least one shareholder and one director. There are no citizenship or residency requirements for any of them if they do not live in Korea.

As a general rule, business registration in Korea with the Trade Register takes about 2 weeks. However, the bank account opening and licensing procedures can lead to a longer timeframe for the company to start operating. It takes around 3 weeks to have the bank account set up and approved.

If you want to start a business in South Korea as a foreign investor, we invite you to discuss the requirements with our local consultants. They can conduct all the due diligence processes required for you to incorporate the chosen legal structure as soon as possible.

Types of companies in South Korea

The legal structure in which an entrepreneur can organize his/her business entity is closely connected to the size and profile of the company. Whether you intend to be the only owner of your enterprise or to work in a partnership with certain local and foreign investors, the Korean state offers you several alternatives. Some of the most popular legal forms in Korea are the following:

• General Partnership (Hapmyeong Hoesa).
• Limited Liability Partnership (Hapja Hoesa).
• Joint Stock Corporation (Chusik Hoesa).
• Limited Liability Corporation (Yuhan Hoesa).

If you want to set up a private business in South Korea you are not allowed to use in the name of the company the term hoesa which means corporation.

Our consultants in company registration in South Korea remain at your disposal for more details regarding the particularities of the business structures available in this country and for personalized company formation services.

What is the minimum share capital for company registration in South Korea?

One of the main advantages of choosing South Korea for starting a business is that there is no minimum share capital required to create a private company. However, it is necessary to establish the required amount in accordance with the activity sector in which it will operate. For this purpose, you can reach out to our business registration agents in South Korea who will guide you.

Special requirements for foreign investors in South Korea

As a foreign entrepreneur who wants to have full control over one’s business in Korea, the following types of companies are available for registration:

  • the local company;
  • the branch office which can be set up by a foreign company;
  • the liaison office available for a foreign enterprise.

These types of companies fall under the Foreign Direct Investment laws and must comply with certain requirements. In the case of local companies, the minimum investment is KRW 100 million, which is the equivalent of approximately USD 90,000.

In this case, the incorporation procedure is slightly different, as the first step to complete is to notify the Foreign Direct Investments Board about the intention of opening the company.

Additionally, you must also obtain an entrepreneur visa that will later enable you to obtain a Korean residence permit.

If you want to open a company in South Korea as a sole shareholder, please get in touch with our experts who will advise on all the requirements you must meet. We also have a team of immigration lawyers in South Korea who will help you relocate here.

Tax considerations for companies in Korea

If you want to start a business in South Korea, you must also prepare to become liable for taxation here. Domestic businesses are liable for the corporate tax that applies to their worldwide income. Foreign-owned ones, such as the branch office, will pay the tax on the income they generate in Korea. For this purpose, they are required to file audited tax returns every year.

The corporate tax is the main levy to consider when owning a company in Korea. It applies at the following rates, based on the profits generated:

  • 10% on profits of maximum KRW 200 million per year;
  • 20% + KRW 20 million on profits of ranging between KRW 200 million and KRW 20 billion;
  • 22% + KRW 3,980 million on profits between KRW 20 billion and KRW 300 billion;
  • 25% + KRW 65,580 million for profits of more than KRW 300 billion.

Get in touch with ourimmigration lawyers in Korea for guidance in relocation.

What to consider when opening a company in South Korea

One of the most essential elements when starting a company in South Korea is to have a clear image on the executive board of your future business. The number of the shareholders and the directors should be already clear when you start the registration procedure.

You might wonder as well what are the costs for setting up a company in South Korea? Apart from the expenses required for registration, you should take into consideration as well the investment capital that you will need to deposit in a local bank. There is no minimum social capital requirement imposed by law, therefore investors have the freedom to decide for themselves. The total time spent with the formation procedure is generally not longer than two weeks.

Feel free to contact our Korean company formation consultants in order to receive professional help when starting a business in this country. You will find out what is the most efficient procedure for opening a company or immigration to South Korea.