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From low company incorporation costs to excellent banking infrastructure, Hong Kong has grown to be one of the best places to operate a business.
There are an extensive amount of advantages in incorporating your company in Hong Kong, though many miss out on these benefits as they are unaware of how easy it is to start and run a company in Hong Kong.
Step 1 – Choose a name and type of company
The first step is the most obvious, as every company needs a name.
This, however, may be more difficult than one may think considering that over 1.3 million companies have been listed in total on the companies registry in Hong Kong.
Finding a name that hasn’t been taken by another company may therefore be more difficult.
It would be advisable to come up with or brainstorm several name ideas for your new Hong Kong company.
Important considerations when naming your company
When coming up with a company name, you must ensure that the name does not infringe any intellectual property rights or “IPR.”
In other words, the company name must be original, not linking to any existing trademarks, copyrighted items, et cetera.
In order to find out if your potential company would infringe any intellectual property rights, you must go to the Intellectual Property Department’s website.
Checking Name Availability
To check the availability of a company name, proceed to the Cyber Search Centre – the public Hong Kong for records of all registered companies.
Upon visiting the website and navigating to the company search section, enter the potential names of your company.
If there are existing records of a company under your potential company name, cross it out from the list.
Choose the legal structure of your company
The legal structure of a company defines its activities.
It will affect things such as filing for taxes and even how business is done in general.
Below is a list of possible legal structures to choose from:
- Company limited by guarantee
- Company limited by shares
- Limited company
- Branch Office
- Sole proprietorship and partnerships
It is advisable to familiarise yourself with the features of each legal structure, as choosing a structure is highly dependent on the nature of your business.
Once you have researched each legal structure, you can then choose which type best suits your company.
Step 2 – Delivery of Application
There are several ways to deliver your business application to the Hong Kong companies registry.
However, the most common methods fall under the following two categories:
If you are currently staying in Hong Kong, this method of delivery may be convenient to you. Once you have filled in your application, you may choose to deliver the documents to the Registry’s Drop-in Box which is provided on the 14th Floor, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.
Alternatively, you may also consider going to the Company Registry office and handing in your company application at the Shroff Counters on the 14th Floor, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.
Note that both means of physical delivery are only available on Mondays to Saturdays, excluding public holidays.
The second method of application delivery is best-suited to most individuals interested in applying for a company in Hong Kong, especially considering current travel limitations.
This method involves applying for a company completely online via the e-Registry portal – the Companies Registry’s official website.
The portal is available 24 hours a day and can be accessed anywhere via the internet.
This means that you do not need to be present in Hong Kong to apply for a Hong Kong company.
The only potential downside with applying online via the e-Registry portal is that applications can be quite complicated, especially to those without prior knowledge about starting a business.
Step 3 – Certificates and Documentation
Once your application is approved, the Certificate of Incorporation (CI) and Business Registration (BR) documents will be provided.
There are two ways that your certificates will be delivered to you, which depend on the method of application:
Physical Certification Documents
If you physically deliver your application to the Companies Registry office, they will notify you once your application has been approved via fax.
If you do not have a fax machine, generally the process will be issued four working days after approval.
Once issued, the certificates can be collected from the Companies Registry office, though the collector will need an identification document, such as an ID or passport.
Applicants may also need a company chop or ‘company seal,’ which is a stamp, essentially replacing signatures, used in approving company documents.
If a representative of the applicant is to collect the certificates, they will also require signed authorization documents and identification documents.
Electronic Certification Documents
The mentioned certification documents will be issued one hour after the approval of your application.
An email will be sent to the applicant’s inbox – it is also a good idea to ensure that the email used in your online application is your primary inbox, so you get notified as soon as the documents are released.
You will then be able to download the application upon receiving the email.
Also note that certificates in electronic form or hard copy form have the same legal effect.
Step 4 – Permits and Licenses
Depending on the nature of your business, you may also require permits and licenses in order to begin operating.
Import and exporting companies are a prime – specific certification and permits are a requirement in the import and export of goods in Hong Kong.
If your business falls under this category, you should visit the Hong Kong Trade Industry’s website detailing the certification you may need.
Other types of permits and licenses may also be required for your business. In order to find out more information about the mentioned licenses, you may visit the Hong Kong Government’s Registration & Licenses page.
Back to you
Setting up a company in Hong Kong may seem fairly straightforward, though it is clear that you will need to have some knowledge of legal structures, regulations, and other factors in order to successfully apply for a business in Hong Kong.
You may therefore consider a service that allows entrepreneurs and those alike to apply for a business in Hong Kong from anywhere around the world.
Ready to register your business in Hong Kong?
Register with Air Corporate today and get a free Business Kit that has everything you need from invoice templates and accounting sheets to an official company seal, and more.
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