Guide for selecting a PT PMA title in Indonesia

There are certain precepts for choosing the legal name for your foreign company in Indonesia. It is not rare that PT PMA name applications get rejected for various reasons. Which is why we have put together a list of guidelines to help you choose a suitable name for your foreign company in Indonesia.

What does PT PMA mean?

PT PMA, or Perseroan Terbatas Penanaman Modal Asing, stands for a limited liability company with foreign direct investment.

In Indonesia, a company that has any of its shares owned by a foreign national or a foreign company is considered as a foreign company.

It doesn’t matter if there are 100% or even 1% of foreign shareholders, your company is still a foreign company.

Key facts about foreign companies in Indonesia

In this brief video, Marlissa Dessy, the director of Straits Partners, explains the key aspects of registering a foreign-owned company in Indonesia:

If you would like to know more about the process of setting up a PT PMA in Indonesia, take a look at our guide to company registration in Indonesia.

How to choose a PT PMA name in Indonesia

Picking a name for your soon-to-be-established foreign company in Indonesia is an important part of incorporation. In fact, receiving an approval from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights to use your chosen PT PMA name is the first step of the whole company registration process in Indonesia.

#1 PT PMA name has to include at least 3 words

When embarking on the journey of coming up with a company name in Indonesia, one of the requirements that foreign companies need to follow is to use at least three words in their name. This is an ordinance implemented by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.

Let’s say that you are planning to name your company in Indonesia PT Logistics Services. In that case, you would have to add at least one more word to the name. For example, PT Great Logistics Services could already be an acceptable name.

Also, note that all companies in Indonesia, including local ones, have the abbreviation “PT” (Perseroan Terbatas) preceding their name.

Using a different brand name

You can still use a different name for your brand, regardless of the name of your PT PMA. For example, if you want to expand to Indonesia, but your brand name only consists of 2 words, you can still use a 2-word name for your brand.

We suggest registering your brand as a trademark in Indonesia as well since Indonesia is not part of the WIPO protocol. Therefore, your brand would not have international protection here if you have registered the trademark elsewhere but you must register it in Indonesia separately.

#2 Company name in Indonesia cannot be misleading

Be sure to not convey any wrong ideas or impressions. Especially what comes to using your future business activities as part of the name.

For instance, if you want to register your company with the business classification of tourism, you cannot use the word “trading” in the name of your company.

Furthermore, referring to the industry of your company can limit your future opportunities. Even if it is in accordance with your current business activities, having a word that directly states a business classification included in your PT PMA name restricts you from adding other business classifications in the future.

#3 Name cannot be similar to an existing company or government institution

When you pick a name for you foreign company in Indonesia, make sure that it isn’t analogous to names of:

existing companies

international organizations

government institutions

If you’re an international company aiming to open a representative office in Indonesia, it is of course allowed to use the same name. However, you would need a letter from your headquarters to prove that you are a representative of the company.

In any other case, avoid using names that are similar to or even sound similar to other companies’ or institutions’ names.

#4 Don’t use vulgar or obscene words

Indonesia is one of the most religious countries in the world. Avoid using ambiguous words in your PT PMA name that might be considered offensive, indecent, or profane here.

Indonesia has a diverse culture and there are plenty of customs to follow. We have further described the topic of Indonesian business culture in our previous article.

#5 Use Roman alphabet only

There are entrepreneurs want to use Greek, Cyrillic or some other alphabet in their corporate name. Indonesia, however, does not allow to write corporate names using any other alphabet than Roman. PT PMA names have to be clear and understandable to all.

#6 Don’t use series of words and numbers

Another restriction when choosing a corporate name in Indonesia is that you are not allowed to use any letter or number combinations that do not form a word.

Changing your PT PMA name

It is not impossible to change your PT PMA name, should you decide to take up a new name in the future. However, once you change the name, the company also needs a new tax card.

Which, in turn, means that the following authorities need to approve the changes as well:

the local tax office

BKPM

Ministry of Law and Human Rights as well.

Thus, consider that it also means more paperwork and additional expenses.

How to access company registry in Indonesia?

Company registry is a database held by the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) which includes information about companies already registered in Indonesia.

The company registry in Indonesia, however, is not as easily accessible as in some other countries. In order to access the registry, you need to make a request and buy a voucher from the BKPM.

This is not very convenient for foreign companies which is why we do it for them. Simply fill in the form below and we will do the research on your behalf.

Bringing it all together

We at Straits Partners understand that the process of registering a foreign company in Indonesia can be quite time-consuming and laborious.

Feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]

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