Setting up a business

Austrade can help you get the basics right for setting up a business in Australia.

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Austrade helps investors make better business choices and provides information and connections. This guidance can help you understand what’s involved in setting up a business in Australia. This includes referrals to professional advisers to help investors understand regulations and taxation issues.

International investors entering Australia

Investors may:

  • register as a foreign company
  • establish a new Australian company
  • establish a subsidiary which operates as an Australian company
  • purchase an existing Australian company.

Registering as a foreign company

Foreign entities may carry on their business in Australia as a foreign company. This still means you will need to register with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).


  • outlines the criteria that define foreign companies
  • outlines the rights foreign companies hold in Australia
  • is also responsible for the ongoing regulation of foreign companies.

Visit ASIC's guide for registration and regulation for foreign companies

Establishing an Australian company

The first step in establishing an Australian company is to consider the business structure. 

The 4 common types of businesses in Australia are:

  • sole trader
  • partnership
  • trust
  • company. 

Each of these has its own tax and legal implications.

Business structures

For information on different business structures see for help on deciding on a business structure. Australian companies are incorporated businesses that are also distinct legal entities. They must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

For information on how to establish a company in Australia, see ASIC’s guide to registering a company.

Acquiring an Australian company

You may decide to set up in Australia by purchasing an existing Australian company.

Obtaining business premises in Australia

State, territory and local governments facilitate the purchase, lease and development of commercial property in Australia. Approvals, assessments (including environmental assessment) and regulatory requirements will differ between jurisdictions.

All state and territory governments assist investors with various aspects of the investment process. They also offer a range of programs to encourage business, innovation and growth within their jurisdictions.

For more information, visit:

Australian Stock Exchange

Australia has one of the most vibrant stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region.  

  • The primary stock exchange in Australia is the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
  • Australian and international companies may apply for listing on the ASX.
  • To obtain and maintain an ASX listing, companies need to meet the prescribed requirements set out in the stock exchange listing rules.

For more information such as disclosure and reporting, see the guide to listing on the ASX.

Register a trademark or domain name

Australia protects corporate identities. The Australian Intellectual Property laws sets out how to register your trademark and domain names.

Contact a specialist

Austrade specialists can answer your questions on investing and finding opportunities in the Australian market.