Recent development

The Ministry of Trade (MOT) has introduced a new platform for the registration of a number of licenses, including the franchise registration certificate, which is also known as the STPW. Through this new system called the integrated licensing information system or SIPT, franchisors or franchisees must submit all of their STPW-related applications online. However, in certain cases where the system is not working, the application will be submitted manually.

Implication for franchisors and franchisees

The system is launched based on MOT Regulation No. 85 on Integrated Trade Services and MOT Regulation No. 86 on Online Licensing Services Provisions and Digital Signature. The new system terminates all manual submission for STPW, whether it be a new application, an amendment or an extension. Consequently, all franchisors or franchisees must have an access right to the SIPT by signing up at their website. A franchisor or franchisee can also grant a power of attorney to another person or another entity to serve as coordinator to do the online submission and maintain its account.

How the system works

Access right
A franchisor or franchisee must first sign up with the SIPT to obtain a username and a password. Here are the steps:

  1. Fill out the online company profile form and upload the required supporting documents. The requirements vary based on the type of registration, such as whether the registration is for either a foreign or a local franchisor.
  2. Fill out the identity form of the company's person in charge, which could be one of its directors, and then upload a scan copy of the person's identity card.
  3. Fill out the identity form of the entity coordinator (if any), and then upload a scan copy of the person's identity card together with the power of attorney.

Within a maximum of two working days after the submission is completed, the MOT will issue either an acceptance, which includes a password and a username, or a rejection containing the information on which data needs to be fixed. The company's person in charge and the coordinator will be notified through email.

Submitting an application
After obtaining the username and the password, the applicant should be able to log in to the system and start filling out the online registration form and uploading all of the required documents. The required documents are set out in the online system after the applicant logs in. The applicant needs to upload colored scan copies of all the supporting documents in either PDF, JPEG or PNG formats. The size of each document is limited to a maximum of 2MB.

The information entered must be accurate and consistent with the uploaded supporting documents. Any dissimilarity would cause the MOT to reject the application, hence delaying the whole process. In that case, the applicant must resubmit the application by supplying the correct information. Upon completing the submission, the MOT will give a registration number for the applicant to check the progress of the application online.

Within a maximum of two working days after the submission was completed, the MOT will issue either an STPW for a correct and complete submission or a rejection containing the information on which data needs to be fixed. The STPW is automatically generated on the website where the digital signature of the authorized representative is shown. The applicant can print the STPW on its own.

Original Documents
By the launching of the online system, applicants no longer need to submit the original documents to the MOT. However, the original documents must be kept by the applicant or its attorney since the MOT carries out random checks to verify the data after the STPW has been issued. It remains to be seen how the MOT official will implement this random check.

Amendment and Extension of the STPW
The steps on how to apply for an amendment or extension of the STPW is similar to that of a new application for an STPW. All of the requirements are set out in the online system. The applicant needs to upload all of the supporting documents to the system.

Cancellation of the STPW
As of the issuance of this client alert, the online system has not yet accommodated the option to cancel an STPW. However, cancellation of an STPW can be done manually by sending a letter to the MOT stating the reason why the entity wants to revoke it.

Actions to consider

A franchisor or a franchisee who intends to make a new application, amend or extend their STPW may consider signing up at the SIPT system to obtain an access right. Otherwise, it may wait until the relevant time because the access right becomes invalid if not used for a year.

 

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