A Complete Guide to Hong Kong Company Registration

The process of registering a company does not have to be so daunting, especially if you plan to incorporate it in Hong Kong.

There are many reasons why many businesses are registered in Hong Kong. According to HSBC, Hong Kong ranks 6th in Global Competitiveness Index (GCI). This can be for many reasons, including low taxation, its business-friendly environment, intellectual property protection, and a stable legal and political environment. 

All of these factors make Hong Kong a strategic location to do business. 

Incorporating your business in Hong Kong is simple. You only need to know a few steps and understand some requirements.

In this post, we will go over the steps you need to take to register your business in Hong Kong, the benefits of company incorporation, and finally the simplest and most effective way to register your company in Hong Kong.

Let’s get started!

What Should You Know Before Registering a Business in Hong Kong?

Before we get into the steps on how to register your business in Hong Kong, let’s take a look at some of the things you should know about.

Companies around the world choose to incorporate a company in Hong Kong due to its ease of doing business and the country being the financial economy hub. Because of this, you must understand how local organizations and institutions work in Hong Kong.

When you start a business in Hong Kong, you will be associated with the three main interlocutors, including:

  1. Your company secretary
  2. The Companies Registry
  3. The Inland Revenue Department

The three interlocutors will be key persons, especially the companies registry and IRD, whereas your company secretary will be your primary contact person regarding your company maintenance and establishment.

Now that we know the requirements, let’s dive into how you can incorporate your business in Hong Kong.

How to Register a Company in Hong Kong in 5 Easy Steps

Understanding how to register a company in Hong Kong will be helpful to start a business in one of the world’s most popular economies. 

Here are the 5 steps to register your company in Hong Kong.

Step 1: Choose Your Company Name and Business Structure

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 important considerations when naming your company or brainstorm several name ideas for your new Hong Kong company.

Remember to ensure that the name does not infringe any intellectual property rights or “IPR.” In other words, the company name must be original.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Go to the Intellectual Property Department’s website to find out if your potential company would infringe on any intellectual property rights.
  • Check Cyber Search Centre – public Hong Kong for records of all registered companies – to check the existing company names using their search function.

The next thing, which is as crucial, would be to choose the legal structure of a company. This will affect factors such as filing for taxes and even how business is done in general.

Below is a list of possible legal structures to choose for your company:

  • 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: Get a Company Secretary & Register Your Company Address

Having a local company secretary is something that every company in Hong Kong is required to follow. Therefore, appointing a company secretary is one of the mandatory steps in establishing your company.

A company secretary acts as the main contact person for your business whenever Hong Kong authorities require any information about your business. They will be able to reach this person for that purpose. 

Although appointing a company secretary is mandatory, having one would be quite beneficial in many ways as this particular role will help your company maintain compliance with the authorities in Hong Kong without fail.

Read more: Here’s why you need a company secretary for your business in Hong Kong

Another important factor that you must ensure to get along with a company secretary is the registered address of your company. With your company’s registered address, governmental departments will be able to reach you and send you correspondence.

For this reason, you should use your company secretary’s address as your registered business address to avoid complexities in communication, due to a company secretary being the main contact person for your company. This is a recommended step to take.

If your company is remotely registered, see how you can get a business address remotely in Hong Kong.

Step 3: Prepare and Submit the Incorporation Documents

There are incorporation documents that need to be provided when you set up a company in Hong Kong. These documents will be necessary for you to get approval before you can start your business operation.

Let’s take a look at all the required documents, and how you can prepare each one.

  1. NNC1 Incorporation Form – This is the form provided by the Companies Registry of Hong Kong. You will need to download the form and fill them out accordingly. This form must be signed by at least one of the shareholders of your company.
  2. A copy of identification documents (HK ID card or passport) of a shareholder and a director.
  3. Article of Association of the Company – This is a standard legal document that serves as the company’s constitution when it was established. This document outlines internal affairs elements such as the transfer of shares, the appointment of directors, and more. You can take a look at the example of the Article of Association of a Private Company Limited by Shares represents the components that are included within the document.

Once you have these documents prepared, the next step is to submit them. This is a straightforward procedure, which can be carried out through the Companies Registry.

Here are some ways you can submit incorporation documents to the Companies Registry:

While you submit these documents, you will also need to pay the applicable government fee. These fees are often paid on a yearly basis, however, make sure to keep yourself informed of the fees as there can be changes by the HK government.

Step 4: Get Relevant Certificates and Documentation

Once you have submitted all the relevant documents, you will receive your business registration and incorporation certificate within 2-6 business days, which can be collected at the Companies Registry office or online.

You will need to renew your BRC annually from the date you were incorporated, whereas, for an incorporation certificate, you must keep them safe as it is valid throughout your company’s lifetime of operation.

Read more: Here’s what you need to know about Business Registration Certificate (BRC) 

Step 5: Stay on Top of Taxation & Financial Reporting Requirements

When your company is successfully incorporated, you will be automatically reported of existence by the IRD. However, it’s important that you keep up with the updated tax information to ensure your company’s compliance.

The good news is Hong Kong offers several benefits when it comes to taxation. As you are incorporated, here are some of the benefits you may be eligible to:

  • a Corporate Tax rate of 8.25% (on the first HKD 2 million of profits); and
  • a Corporate Tax rate of 16.5% thereafter.
  • If your company operates outside of Hong Kong, you will be eligible to receive Territorial tax regime
  • No capital gains tax
  • No VAT

These are just some benefits you’re eligible to receive as an incorporated business in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, things can change depending on economic or political trends, as well as other factors. 

Thus, it’s important that you keep yourself informed of any updates that may come your way. You can always check on the website of the Hong Kong Government to check on the benefits you may be missing out on for your business.

Benefits of Company Incorporation in Hong Kong

Now that you are familiar with how to register a company in Hong Kong, let’s explore some of the core benefits you can expect from your company.

  • Operate from anywhere in the world with ease – Yes! One of the main benefits of incorporating a company in Hong Kong is that you can run your company from anywhere in the world. So whether you have a physical store in Thailand or an online store in Singapore, your business can be on the global scale radar.
  • Access to global clients – Hong Kong is considered a Special Administrative Region or a ‘golden’ gateway that links to Mainland China, and what does that do for your business? You can easily gain access to selling, promoting, and delivering your service or products to over 1.3 billion people
  • International talent pools – With its multicultural environment and flexibility in work, your company can gain access to many unique, talented individuals who are diverse and highly skillful. Their expertise will come in handy depending on what you need for your business.
  • Solid Intellectual Property Protection – Hong Kong’s government authorities highly regard IP as one of the most important mechanisms for businesses. They see innovative ideas and creations as something that should be treasured. Thus, these institutions set up a comprehensive framework to help businesses protect its intellectual ideas, properties, innovations, and more.

The Best Methods to Register Your Hong Kong Company

You may be wondering “If I know everything on how to register my business in Hong Kong, should I get started?” The answer is definitely yes, but the other question you need to ask yourself is “how”

In this section, we’ll look at some of the most common methods that are used as a process to incorporate a business in Hong Kong.

1. Register on your own

You can register a company in Hong Kong as an individual. All you need to do is ensure to follow the steps we outlined above and prepared the necessary documents you need to submit to the IRD and the Companies Registry.

Pros: You can save costs on hiring someone else to register your business for you and every confidential information will be controlled by you.

Cons: This process can be time-consuming to start with. You will need to prepare every document yourself and this can be a daunting task.

2. Register your company in Hong Kong with an agency

If you choose to incorporate your Hong Kong company with an agency, you will save plenty of time in not only the preparation of incorporation documents but at times, the money you spent to do it.

There are many agencies you can choose from, like Air Corporate, which offers a full-service incorporation package with three tiers of pricing with no hidden fees that are affordable and provide you with the right options that fit your needs.

Pros: Fast, simple, and efficient solution to register your business, as you will get to work with experts who are in the industry, who will help you prepare the documents needed on time, and deliver the work without you figuring out if you miss anything if you conduct the process by yourself.

Cons: Not all agencies will be experienced and updated with Hong Kong’s compliance rules and regulations. Some agencies may also charge you more than you need to pay to register a business in Hong Kong.

Register Your Company in Hong Kong – The Simplest Way with Air Corporate

If you’re looking to register your business in Hong Kong, Air Corporate offers you more than just a service for incorporation. 

Here are some things you can expect from Air Corporate incorporation services:

Pre-incorporation service:

  • Verify your company’s name and availability
  • Prepare all the documents necessary for incorporation
  • Register your business in Hong Kong
  • Fill out the incorporation application with the Companies Registry
  • Receive Certificate of Incorporation
  • Receive Business Registration Certificate (valid for 1 year)
  • Other company necessary tools, including business documentation, professional templates, Articles of Association, company chop stamps, and more.

Post-incorporation service:

  • Company secretary services
  • Business bank account opening
  • Significant controller register
  • Registered office address
  • Designated Representative (DR)
  • Virtual office services
  • General advisory and consulting

Consult with an expert at Air Corporate to see what you need to make your company incorporation successful and cost-effective. 


1. What are the minimum statutory requirements for incorporating a company in Hong Kong?

The minimum requirements for registering a company in Hong Kong are:

  • Any person or organization can register a company in Hong Kong.
  • Minimum of one shareholder, who can be local or foreign, aged 18 or above.
  • At least one director, who can be local or foreign, aged 18 or above.
  • One person can serve as both the director and shareholder.
  • No minimum share capital is required, but common practice is around HKD 10,000.
  • A registered address is necessary.
  • Company secretary required, who must be a Hong Kong resident or an incorporated entity with an office in Hong Kong.
  • A designated Representative (DR) is needed to assist with the Significant Controllers Register (SCR) of the company.

2. Why set up a company in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is considered a financial hub and it connects to Mainland China, which means it is the gateway to global clients access.

Other reasons to set up a business in Hong Kong are generally its business environment, culture, low-tax rate, and more.

3. Can a foreigner register a company in Hong Kong?

Yes, Hong Kong’s law accepts 100% foreign-owned companies. Thus, as a foreigner, you can register a business in Hong Kong.

4. How long does a company registration in Hong Kong take?

Company incorporation in Hong Kong usually takes 5-7 working days. However, in some cases, it can also be from 2-6 working days.

5. Should I relocate to Hong Kong to run my registered company?

No, you can run your business from anywhere in the world despite it being incorporated in Hong Kong. However, if you wish to relocate to Hong Kong to manage your registered business, you can do so by applying for an Investment Visa. You will be eligible to apply for an Investment Visa only when your company is successfully incorporated.

Vivian Au photo
Vivian Au

For many years, I worked at big accounting and company secretary firms in Hong Kong. I started Air Corporate to make the life of entrepreneurs and SMEs easy.

Vivian Au

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