Corporate

What are the two most common types of entity formed by inbound investors and
what is the preferred type of company called?
Austria An Austrian limited liability company: Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH).
Alternatively, but less frequently used, an Austrian branch of the overseas company.
China Wholly foreign-owned enterprises (WFOE) and Sino-foreign equity joint venture (EJV). WFOEs are currently chosen in more than 80% of cases.

Starting from January 1, 2020, the new Foreign Investment Law abolishes and unifies laws and regulations applicable to foreign investment companies, leading to significant legal changes. It is foreseeable that the general investment environment of China will become more business friendly with less restriction in future. But the change of law also brings some legal problems (eg existing EJV deals are required to be re-negotiated by following the same corporate governance structure of domestic companies for which a five-year grandfathering period is given).
Czech Republic Most commonly, foreign companies set up a limited liability company (s.r.o.) or a joint-stock company (a.s.) to manage their Czech operations.

Alternatively, a Czech branch of a foreign company may be established.
England & Wales Private limited company (Limited).

Branch (formally known as a UK Establishment) of the overseas company (Used much less frequently than a Limited company).
France Wholly owned simplified joint stock company (Société par Actions Simplifiée or SAS).

A limited liability company (Société à Responsabilité Limitée or SARL).
Germany - Limited liability company – Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH).

- Branch of the overseas company (used much less frequently than a GmbH since this usually constitutes a permanent establishment of the overseas company in Germany, for which the overseas company is taxable and because liabilities incurred by activities of the branch will directly attribute to the overseas company.)
Hong Kong Private limited company.

Branch of the overseas company (used much less frequently than a limited company).
Hungary The most common company form among foreign investors is the limited liability company (in Hungarian: 'Korlátolt Felelősségű Társaság', in short: Kft).

Establishing a branch office (in Hungarian: 'Fióktelep') is the second most common form of entering the Hungarian market.
Ireland - Private limited company (Limited).
- Branch (external company) of the overseas company (used much less frequently than a Limited).
Netherlands Private limited liability company - Besloten Vennootschap (B.V.)

Branch of the overseas company. Used much less frequently than a Besloten Vennootschap (B.V.)
Poland The most preferred type of entity is a limited liability company – spółka z ograniczoną odpowiedzialnością (sp. z o.o.)

Also, but less frequently, a joint stock company – spółka akcyjna (S.A.) is chosen.
Singapore
Private limited company

- Most common and preferred type
- Shareholders must not be more than 50
- Suffix of the entities are usually “Private Limited” or “Pte Ltd”

Representative Office

- Usually a temporary extension to carry out market exploratory activities
- Prohibited from carrying out any commercial or revenue making activities

Branch Office

- An extension of the foreign company and lacks legal identity of its own
- Can engage in commercial or revenue making activities
- Less common than private limited company
Slovakia A Slovak limited liability company – spoločnosť s ručením obmedzeným (“s.r.o.”) (LLC) or a Slovak joint-stock company (“akciová spoločnosť”, “a.s.”) (JSC).

Used less frequently is a Slovak branch office of a foreign legal entity – organizačná zložka (Branch).

Since 2017 – a simple joint-stock company – (“jednoduchá spoločnosť na akcie”, “j.s.a.”) (JSA) - a new type of a company with purely electronic registration of all shares to which different rights may be attached (there is no explicit limit on these rights) and their transfers and with possibility of statutory drag-along, tag-along and shoot-out agreements.
United Arab Emirates The preferred type of legal entity for most foreign investors in the UAE is the limited liability company in the mainland or in one of the international tax-free zones (LLC).

A common alternative is establishing a branch office of the foreign company, and some professional service providers can register a so-called 'civil company' in the UAE mainland.
How long does it typically take to form/register the entity?
Austria
China Usually 2-4 months for a WFOE. Time consuming aspects are, for example, notarisation and legalisation of required documents, as well as the required government processes.

An EJV usually takes longer to negotiate.
Czech Republic Limited liability company / Joint stock company:

Formation of a new entity: It takes approximately two to four weeks from the establishment by notarial deed to registration of the company with the Commercial Register (depending on delivery of all necessary supporting information and documents). The notary can also register a new company directly with the Commercial Register, which can speed up the registration process.
Alternatively, a shelf company can be acquired, which takes around two to three days.

Branch:
Approximately two weeks (depending on the delivery of all necessary supporting information and documents).
England & Wales Company:
Within a working day

Branch:
Within one to two working days once the documentation is completed.
The overall process takes typically one to two weeks.
France It takes eight to ten days following the filing of all legal documents.
Germany Company:
- Formation of new GmbH: up to four weeks, plus the time to set up a bank account which is mandatory prior to incorporation and registration with the commercial register
- Acquisition of shelf company GmbH: two to three business days once all supporting information and documents provided.

Branch:
- Five to ten business days for the registration process once all supporting information and documents provided. The overall process typically up to four weeks.
Hong Kong
Hungary The Hungarian company formation is one of the fastest in the EU. The registration of companies is done by courts of registration in an electronic procedure. The standard registration procedure takes approximately one to two weeks after all necessary corporate documents have been prepared. However, in case the shareholders use standard Articles of Association provided by law, the registration does not take more than 24-48 hours as of filing. VAT registration is also immediate, so you can start working immediately.
Ireland Company:

- Within 5 working days for an online application.

Branch:

- Within three to five working days once the documentation is completed.
The overall process takes typically one to two weeks.
Netherlands Company:
Approximately two weeks depending on timing for receipt of information (after receipt of all information and duly signed documents, formation can in principle be done within one day).
Poland Typically, incorporation and registration of a limited liability company or a joint stock company takes between two and four weeks.

In the case of a limited liability company, it is possible to set up a company within 24 hours when an electronic template of articles of association is used. This type of incorporation imposes some limitations upon the shareholders, e.g. contributions can be made only in cash.
Singapore Approximately one to two days.
Slovakia From formation to registration of a new LLC, JSC, JSA or a Branch with the commercial register (including obtaining business licenses):
Approximately one to two weeks following completion/signing of all documents (the time period may be postponed in case of regulated business activities where special permission is needed).

Acquisition of a shell company (LLC): Approximately two to three days.
United Arab Emirates Onshore, that is outside the tax-free zones, one to two weeks following arrangement of appropriately legalised corporate documents and Arabic translation of the same.

Additional time is often required where, due to the nature of the proposed business to be conducted within the UAE, special approvals from third-party authorities are required in addition to the approval of the company registrar that is located at the Department of Economic Development (“DED”) of the Emirate chosen to establish the entity.

The time frame varies from one tax-free zone to another. A time frame between three to five weeks should be expected in these instances.
Is a bank account required before the company can be formed? If so, how long does that typically take?
Austria Yes. Depending on the swift submission of relevant information and documents requested in the course of the bank’s 'know your client' check; approximately ten days+.
China No. A bank account can only be opened after incorporation.

Foreign exchange control regulations need to be strictly observed during operations.
Czech Republic Yes, a bank account is required for the payment of the initial contributions. The opening of a special bank account for contribution payments depends on the swift submission of relevant documents required by the respective bank (e.g., KYC form); approximately ten days.
England & Wales No, but please note it can take some time for the account to form once the company has been established.
France It takes one to up to six months depending on the bank’s KYC, but using a French public notary with a pre-existing bank account is an alternative to shorten the process so that the French bank account can be opened further to the registration of the company.
Germany Yes. It can take three to twelve business days +, but using a shelf company with a pre-existing bank account can shorten the process.
Hong Kong No.
Hungary It is not required to open a bank account before the registration, but a certificate by the managing director on the payment of the capital contribution into the company’s cash desk, suffices. After registration of the entity, a bank account shall be opened within eight days.
Ireland No, but please note it can take some time for the account to form once the company has been established
Netherlands No.
Poland A bank account is not required before the company can be formed. However, the Polish entrepreneurs law states that making or accepting payments related to a business activity takes place via the entrepreneur's payment account, whenever the other party to the transaction from which the payment arises is another entrepreneur and when the one-off transaction value, irrespective of the number of payments resulting from it, exceeds PLN 15,000 or the equivalent.

Thus, a company is required to open a bank account at a later stage. Usually, banks require that a company willing to open an account presents an excerpt from the National Court Register, or, in case it has not been registered yet, its Articles of Association and its REGON number given by the Central Statistical Office.
Singapore
Slovakia No.
United Arab Emirates For incorporation purposes of an entity in the UAE mainland, it is currently not required for the new entity to have a bank account. A bank account is, however, required when the new entity starts to hire employees as their wages are required to be paid through a so-called 'wage-protection-system' requiring payments to be made from a local bank account. Currently companies registered in the mainland of the UAE as well as in certain tax-free zones are obliged to register with this system.

Furthermore, a few company registrars for specific tax-free zones will only complete the company registration and/or issue the new entity’s business license after opening of a local bank account and depositing the new entity’s share capital.

The bank account opening process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the bank’s KYC requirements and the need to arrange legalised documents from the UAE entity’s shareholders and ultimate beneficial owners.