Thursday, 16 April 2015

How to Set Up a Business in Hong Kong- Part 1

Setting up a company in Hong Kong is fast, straightforward and inexpensive. In under a week (if you take a shelf company), your company could be up and running. The same rules apply to everyone, local and foreign.

Here are the steps in setting up a business in Hong Kong:

1.       Selecting a company name and structure

To form and register a local limited company in Hong Kong, you need to choose a unique company name. The Hong Kong Companies Registry maintains an index of company names and we can quickly check to see whether your desired company name is already in use.

There are different company structures to suit different business requirements: 
The most commonly used company structure is a private limited company. The company must be incorporated at the Companies Registry and registered with the Business Registration Office of the Inland Revenue. Processing (incorporation) time is four working days with a further week for activation (putting in place the officers of the company).

If a company incorporated outside Hong Kong has established a place of business in Hong Kong, it is required to register with the Companies Registry within one month of the establishment of the place of business as an overseas company (under Part XI of the Companies Ordinance). It is not a separate legal entity from the parent. Processing time is three weeks to four weeks.

A representative office cannot make sales. Such an office is useful if a company wishes to explore the Hong Kong market before making a larger investment, or indeed if it is never intended to derive sales, e.g. if it is intended to be a marketing office only. It would typically fulfill functions such as promotion and liaison work. If a company needs to enter into a transaction that creates a legal obligation, its business structure will need to be changed to either a limited company or a branch office of a parent company.  

2.       Company incorporation

Most of the limited companies incorporated in Hong Kong are private companies limited by shares. It takes four working days after the date of submission of application for a Certificate of Incorporation to be issued to a company limited by shares. Incorporation can also be done online.

A private limited company in Hong Kong requires at least one director and one secretary. If a company has only one director, the director cannot be the secretary of the company at the same time. A non-Hong Kong resident, whether an individual or a corporate, can be appointed as a director. A company secretary is required by law and this must be a Hong Kong resident (whether an individual or a corporate).

From 4 March 2014, all new Hong Kong private companies will have to have at least one natural person as a director. Existing companies will have a grace period of 6 months in which to comply. Primasia will be offering director services, subject to certain conditions, to enable companies to more easily meet this requirement.

The registered office of a limited company must be situated in Hong Kong. There is no requirement for shareholders to be Hong Kong residents. A shareholder (sole or otherwise) can be a director of the company.


Need more information?
Please contact:
John Barclay -Email
Teresa Tam - Email 
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Website: Primasia HK / Primasia China
LinkedIn: Primasia
Primasia Corporate Services Limited
Tel: +852 2882 2088
Suite 1106-08, 11/F., Tai Yau Building, No. 181 Johnston Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

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