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Hong Kong Company Formation

company registration in hong kong

Hong Kong Company Registration

If you’re considering the registration or establishment of a company in Hong Kong, look no further. This comprehensive article presents effective strategies for successfully incorporating a company in Hong Kong.

Renowned for its thriving economy, Hong Kong has emerged as a highly desirable investment hub for contemporary global startups. With its captivating tourist attractions and reputation as a shopper’s haven, Hong Kong offers an ideal setting for establishing a Private Limited Company. As the GDP of this cosmopolitan city continues to soar, opportunities for business expansion are on the rise.

Compelling Advantages of Launching a Business in Hong Kong

Strategically situated in the heart of Asia, Hong Kong offers unparalleled advantages for establishing a private limited company. Its strategic location provides convenient access to China, the world’s most populous country, opening doors to a vast market and abundant business prospects. Notably, the low tax burden, government initiatives, and robust protection of private rights stand out as significant factors that make Hong Kong an attractive choice for company incorporation.

Moreover, embarking on a business venture in Hong Kong is a hassle-free and streamlined process. The requirements for company formation are straightforward, and the entire registration procedure can be completed online within a mere 24 hours. Hong Kong proudly boasts one of the world’s freest markets, embracing a diverse range of legal business activities, further contributing to its appeal as an ideal business destination.

Incorporating a Private Limited Company in Hong Kong: A Step-by-Step Guide

The process of incorporating a private limited company in Hong Kong is relatively straightforward, although it can be time-consuming. Whether you are a local or foreign individual looking to register your company, it is highly recommended to engage the services of professional firms well-versed in the regulations governing company incorporation in Hong Kong.

Here are the essential steps and requirements for setting up a company in Hong Kong:

Step 1: Choose a Company Name

Before initiating the company incorporation process, you must select a unique name for your company and ensure its availability. Note that certain words and expressions may require the consent of the Chief Executive before their use in a company name, such as “Chamber of Commerce,” “Trust,” “Savings,” etc.

Step 2: Determine the Company

Structure Similar to any business entity, you will need to assemble a team of directors, shareholders, and a company secretary. The following requirements must be met for opening a private limited company in Hong Kong:

a) Director A minimum of one director is required, who can be a natural person (at least 18 years old) of any nationality or a corporate body.
b) Shareholder A minimum of one shareholder is necessary, who should be a natural person (at least 18 years old) of any nationality, with a maximum limit of 50 individuals. A significant controller holding 25% or more shares is also required.
c) Shares & Capital At least one share with a minimum paid-up share capital of HK$1.
d) Company Secretary A Hong Kong resident or a Hong Kong corporate body is required as the company secretary. (Note: TCSP refers to Trust or Company Service Provider License)
e) Registered Office Address A local registered office address in Hong Kong is mandatory. If you haven't finalized a physical office in Hong Kong, PREMIA TNC can register the company under our local office address, which can be changed in the future.

Step 3: Proceed with Company Registration

To establish a private limited company in Hong Kong, you need to submit the following documents:

  • Articles of association for the company (copy)
  • Incorporation form (duly completed) with details of the company name, registered address, shareholders, company secretary, directors, and shareholder capital registered on incorporation
  • Passport copies and residential address proof for foreigners
  • Hong Kong ID copies and proof of residential address for Hong Kong residents


Step 4: Open a Corporate Bank

Account After successfully registering your business, you may need to open a bank account in Hong Kong. The documents typically required for opening a corporate bank account include:

  • Account application forms
  • Company registration documents
  • Copies of passports and address proof for each member
  • Bank statements of each member or related corporation(s)
  • Bank reference letters for each member
  • Proof of business activities such as contracts, invoices, etc., of the company


Step 5: Fulfill Annual Maintenance and Filing Obligations

To maintain your company’s active status and avoid penalties from the government, it is essential to adhere to the following ongoing compliance requirements for a Hong Kong company:

  • Annual renewal of the Business Registration Certificate: Apply for renewal one month before the expiry date.
  • Annual General Meeting (AGM): Hold the AGM annually within 18 months of company incorporation.
  • Annual return with the Companies Registry: File the annual return within 42 days after the anniversary of company incorporation.
  • Employer’s return with the Inland Revenue Department: Submit each associated form within the prescribed period.
  • Annual Tax Return: File audited accounts together with the profits tax return annually.

By following these steps and fulfilling the necessary obligations, you can successfully incorporate and maintain your private limited company in Hong Kong.

Step 6: Compliance with Employment Regulations

When operating a company in Hong Kong, it is important to comply with employment regulations. This includes adhering to laws related to hiring employees, providing appropriate employment contracts, and ensuring compliance with labor standards and regulations. Familiarize yourself with the employment laws in Hong Kong to ensure a smooth and legally compliant operation.

Step 7: Consider Taxation Requirements

Hong Kong is known for its favorable tax environment, with a simple and low tax system. However, it is essential to understand and fulfill the taxation requirements for your company. This includes registering for taxes, such as profits tax and payroll tax, and filing annual tax returns accurately and on time. Seek professional advice from tax experts or accountants to optimize your tax planning and ensure compliance with tax regulations.

Step 8: Obtain Business Permits and Licenses

Depending on the nature of your business activities, you may need to obtain specific permits or licenses to operate legally in Hong Kong. Research and identify the permits or licenses relevant to your industry and ensure you comply with the necessary regulations. This may involve applying for licenses related to finance, healthcare, construction, import/export, or other specific sectors. Consulting with relevant government departments or engaging professional assistance can help navigate the licensing process effectively.

Step 9: Maintain Proper Record Keeping

Keeping accurate and up-to-date business records is crucial for the smooth operation and compliance of your company. Ensure that you maintain proper accounting records, including financial statements, invoices, receipts, and other relevant documents. This will facilitate financial reporting, audits, and overall transparency. Consider using accounting software or engaging professional accounting services to streamline record-keeping processes and maintain compliance with accounting standards.

Step 10: Stay Informed and Seek Professional Assistance

As regulations and business landscapes evolve, it is important to stay informed about any changes or updates that may impact your company. Regularly review government announcements, legal updates, and industry trends to ensure your business remains compliant and competitive. Consider engaging the services of professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, or business consultants, who can provide expert guidance tailored to your specific needs.

By following these steps and seeking professional assistance where needed, you can navigate the process of incorporating a private limited company in Hong Kong successfully. Embrace the advantages of Hong Kong’s business-friendly environment and take full advantage of the opportunities it offers for your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Types of Companies in Hong Kong

Hong Kong offers various types of company structures to cater to different business needs. One of the common types is a sole proprietorship, which is suitable for small-scale businesses operated by a single individual, such as a grocery store.

Setting up a Sole Proprietorship in Hong Kong

The process of establishing a sole proprietorship in Hong Kong is relatively straightforward. The key requirement is registering the business with the Inland Revenue Department’s Business Registration Office and obtaining a Business Registration Certificate. This registration must be completed within one month from the business’s commencement date.

The Business Registration Certificate also serves as the sole proprietorship’s profits tax filing number. To register a sole proprietorship, the following documents/information are typically required:

  1. Completed application form, including proposed business name and date of commencement

  2. Hong Kong identity card of the sole proprietor

By fulfilling these requirements, aspiring entrepreneurs can easily set up a sole proprietorship in Hong Kong and embark on their business ventures.

Advantages of a Sole Proprietorship

  1. Simplicity of Setup: Establishing a sole proprietorship is straightforward. The main requirement is obtaining a business license from the Business Registration Office. This application should be submitted within one month of commencing the business.

  2. Profit Entitlement: As the sole proprietor, you have exclusive rights to the profits generated by the business. This serves as a strong incentive to work diligently and maximize earnings.

  3. Lower Tax Rate: Sole proprietors enjoy a more favorable tax rate compared to limited companies. The profits tax rate for a sole proprietorship ranges from 7.5% to 15%, offering potential tax savings.

Disadvantages of a Sole Proprietorship

  1. Limited Sources of Finance: Sole proprietors may face challenges in accessing additional financing for their business. It is crucial to carefully manage finances and ensure sufficient capital to avoid potential liquidity problems.

  2. Unlimited Personal Liability: One significant drawback of a sole proprietorship is the concept of unlimited personal liability. This means that the sole proprietor is personally responsible for all business debts and losses. It can create substantial financial and emotional pressure if the business encounters difficulties.

Partnership Business Structure in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, individuals can choose the partnership business structure, allowing two or more people to conduct business together with the aim of making a profit.

There are two types of partnerships governed by the Partnership Ordinance (Cap. 38) in Hong Kong:

  1. General Partnership: All partners in this type of partnership have unlimited liability, meaning they are personally responsible for the firm’s debts. They are also involved in the day-to-day management of the business.

  2. Limited Liability Partnership: This type includes both general partners and limited partners. Limited partners do not participate in the management of the business and have limited liability. However, there must be at least one general partner with unlimited liability and responsibility for running the business. Limited liability partnerships are commonly used by professionals, such as law firms, or in small-scale business setups. The maximum number of partners is typically 20, except for certain approved professions such as solicitors, accountants, and stockbrokers.

Advantages of Partnership

  1. Division of Labor: Each partner can contribute their specialized knowledge and skills to the business, allowing for a division of labor and efficient utilization of expertise.

  2. Shared Business Risk: Partnerships distribute the business risk among multiple individuals, making it easier to raise capital and reducing the burden on a single person.

  3. Lower Tax Rate: Partnerships enjoy a lower profits tax rate compared to limited companies, ranging from 7.5% to 15%.

Disadvantages of Partnership

  1. No Separate Legal Existence: A partnership does not have a separate legal entity, which means the general partners have unlimited liability for the partnership’s obligations and debts.

  2. Decision-Making Boundaries: All partners are bound by the decisions made by any of the general partners. Consequently, a poor decision made by one partner can have an impact on the entire business.

Setting up a Partnership in Hong Kong

To establish a partnership in Hong Kong, the partnership agreement or deed must be registered with the Business Registration Office of the Inland Revenue Department within one month of commencing the business.

After registration, it is mandatory to display the Business Registration Certificate at the place of business.

To register a partnership business in Hong Kong, the following documents/information are typically required:

  1. Completed application form, including the proposed business name and commencement date.

  2. Hong Kong identity cards of the partners.

By fulfilling these requirements and completing the registration process, individuals can successfully set up a partnership business in Hong Kong and begin their joint entrepreneurial journey. It is recommended to seek professional advice to ensure compliance with all legal obligations and optimize the partnership’s structure and operations.

Private Company Limited by Shares

A private company limited by shares is the most common type of company incorporated under the Companies Ordinance of Hong Kong. In this type of company, the liability of the shareholders is limited to the capital they have initially invested.

Setting up a Limited Company by Shares in Hong Kong

When it comes to company registration and incorporation, you do not need to personally visit Hong Kong. We can assist you by preparing and sending the necessary documents via email and handling the relevant filings on your behalf.

There are two options for incorporating a limited company:

  1. Tailor-Made Company
    • E-registration (Online Submission): Under this option, the proposed company will be incorporated according to your preferred name, and we can obtain the Certificate of Incorporation and Business Registration Certificate within 2-3 hours. The following conditions apply:
      1. The company will have an individual director and shareholder.
      2. Notarized certified true copies of the original and valid identification documents of the director and shareholder should be obtained from a Notary Public in your country, or certified true copies can be provided by a Hong Kong Certified Practicing Accountant or HK Lawyer.
    • Paper Submission: With this method, the company will be incorporated using your preferred name, and the incorporation process typically takes around 6 working days for the Certificate of Incorporation to be issued.

  2. Ready-Made Company (Shelf Company)

If you do not have a specific preference for the company’s name, you can choose from a list of shelf companies that are readily available. By selecting a shelf company, you can use it immediately, and the entire process can be completed within 2-3 days.
Whether you opt for a tailor-made company or a shelf company, we are here to assist you in establishing your private limited company in Hong Kong efficiently and effectively.

Advantages of a Private Company Limited by Shares

  1. Limited Liability: Shareholders’ liability is limited to the capital they have invested in the company. Their personal assets are protected, providing a level of security.

  2. Separate Legal Entity: A private company limited by shares has its own legal identity distinct from its shareholders. It can own assets, enter into contracts, and conduct business in its own name.

  3. Perpetual Succession: The company has perpetual succession, meaning it continues to exist even if shareholders leave or new shareholders join. This provides stability and continuity for the business.

  4. Greater Credibility: Having “Limited” in the company name enhances credibility and professionalism in the eyes of clients, suppliers, and business partners.

We are committed to assisting you throughout the incorporation process and ensuring a smooth and efficient establishment of your private company limited by shares in Hong Kong.

Public Limited Company in Hong Kong

A Hong Kong Public Limited Company operates as a company limited by shares and offers its shares and debentures to the public. It has the ability to have more than 50 shareholders without any maximum restriction, and there are no restrictions on the transfer of its shares.

Advantages of a Public Limited Company

  1. Easier Capital Raising: Compared to private limited companies, partnerships, or sole proprietorships, public limited companies have an easier time raising capital and attracting investors. They have more options for raising funds, including potential listings on the stock market.

  2. Good Prospectus: Public limited companies have the option to go through the Initial Public Offering (IPO) process and list on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (HKSE)’s Mainboard or GEM board. This allows them to benefit from the increased exposure and credibility that comes with being a listed company. Listed companies are subject to regulation by the HKSE’s Listing Rules and the Codes on Takeovers and Mergers and Share Buy-backs.

Disadvantages of a Public Limited Company

  1. Increased Rules and Regulations: Public limited companies that raise funds from the public are subject to stricter rules and regulations. They must comply with various regulatory requirements and reporting obligations to ensure transparency and protect public investors.

  2. Higher Levels of Transparency: Public limited companies are required to disclose detailed financial and accounting information on an annual basis. This includes publishing audited financial statements and making them available to the public. The level of transparency required is higher compared to other business structures.

Procedure for Setting up a Public Limited Company

To set up a public limited company in Hong Kong, the following documents are typically required:

  • Notarized certified true copies of original and valid identification documents of the director and shareholder by a Notary Public in your country.


  • Certified true copies by a Hong Kong Certified Practicing Accountant or HK Lawyer. If you are able to visit us in person, PREMIA TNC can provide this service.

Our specialists can guide you through the requirements and procedures involved in setting up a public limited company in Hong Kong. Feel free to reach out to us for a more in-depth understanding and personalized assistance.

Branch Office Registration in Hong Kong

A foreign company establishing a place of business in Hong Kong is required to register as a “Registered Non-Hong Kong Company” under Part 16 of the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622) within one month of establishment. It is advisable to apply for registration before commencing business operations.
Documents Required for Registered Non-Hong Kong Company Registration:

  1. Certified Copy of Memorandum and Articles of Association: A certified copy of the foreign company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, or its equivalent charter or statutes.
  2. Completed Application Form: The “Application for Registration as Registered Non-Hong Kong Company” form must be completed, providing particulars of the foreign company.
  3. Certified Copy of Certificate of Incorporation: A certified copy of the foreign company’s certificate of incorporation or an equivalent document.
  4. Certified Copy of Latest Accounts: A certified copy of the foreign company’s latest accounts.
  5. Notice to Business Registration Office: A notice must be delivered to the Business Registration Office regarding the establishment of the branch office.

Note: If the certificate of incorporation or equivalent document is not in English or Chinese, it is required to provide a certified copy of the original certificate in its original language, along with a certified translation in English or Chinese for registration purposes.

Upon submission of the required documents, the Companies Registry typically takes around 14 working days to issue a Certificate of Registration for the Registered Non-Hong Kong Company.

It is important to comply with the registration requirements and complete the process promptly to ensure legal compliance and smooth operation of the branch office in Hong Kong. Seek professional assistance or guidance to navigate the registration procedure effectively.

Representative Office in Hong Kong

A representative office in Hong Kong serves as an extension of its parent company, without constituting a separate legal entity.

This office is established by a foreign-registered company and acts as a liaison between the parent company and trade organizations. Its primary functions include conducting market research, establishing contacts with potential customers and partners, and representing the parent company’s interests. A representative office is particularly beneficial for companies seeking to explore the Hong Kong market before committing to larger investments or registering an offshore company.

Please contact us for more detailed information regarding representative offices in Hong Kong.

The functions of a representative office are typically limited to the following:

  1. Conducting Research and Providing Data: The representative office conducts research and gathers relevant data to support the parent company’s market analysis. It also prepares and provides promotional materials to potential clients and partners.
  2. Market Research and Surveying: The representative office carries out research and surveys in the local market on behalf of the parent company. This helps gather valuable insights and information about market trends, consumer behavior, and competitor analysis.
  3. Liaison with Contacts: The representative office acts as a point of contact and facilitates communication between the parent company and local and foreign contacts. It helps establish and maintain relationships with partners, clients, and other stakeholders.
  4. Coordination of Activities: The representative office assists in coordinating activities related to the parent company’s operations. It may handle logistical matters, arrange meetings, and provide support for the parent company’s representatives in Hong Kong.
  5. Non-Profit Making Business Activities: The representative office may engage in non-profit making business activities, such as making travel arrangements for parent company representatives and potential clients.

It is important to note that a representative office is not permitted to engage in profit-making activities or enter into contracts on behalf of the parent company. It primarily serves as a facilitator and coordinator for the parent company’s operations in Hong Kong.

For more detailed information and assistance regarding representative offices in Hong Kong, please feel free to contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

When deciding which form of company to incorporate in Hong Kong, it is essential to consider your business background and carefully evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different company types. This analysis will help you determine the most suitable form that aligns with your specific business needs.

E-registration, which involves submitting company incorporation documents online, is a convenient option for certain types of companies. To determine if you are eligible for e-registration, it is advisable to consult with professionals who can assess your specific circumstances and guide you through the process. They will evaluate factors such as the company structure, required documents, and compliance requirements to determine if e-registration is suitable for your company.

When choosing a company name in Hong Kong, there are certain restrictions and concerns to be aware of. The name should comply with the guidelines set by the Companies Registry. It should not be identical or too similar to existing company names, and it should not infringe upon trademarks or violate any laws. Additionally, there are certain words and expressions that require special consent from the Chief Executive before their use is allowed in a company name. It is advisable to seek professional assistance to ensure compliance with all regulations and to navigate the company name selection process smoothly.

Premia TNC has the optimal solutions for all your business needs.

Get in touch today for a FREE consultation.
No hidden costs, no obligations.

Feel free to drop us an email too!
[email protected]

Premia TNC has the optimal solutions for all your business needs.

Get in touch today for a FREE consultation.
No hidden costs, no obligations.

Feel free to drop us an email too!
[email protected]