Offshore Company Registration in Hong Kong: All You Need to Know

It is really easy to do business in Hong Kong.

The regulatory environment promotes free enterprise, as is evident from offshore company registration in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is simply the best choice for entrepreneurs and investors when it comes to setting up an offshore company to run a business.

This article will tell you everything you should know about offshore company registration in Hong Kong.

What is a Hong Kong offshore company?

There is no legal definition for offshore companies in Hong Kong.

Generally speaking, it can be described as a company:

  • taking the form of a limited liability company
  • registered in Hong Kong but with no business in Hong Kong or profits derived from Kong Kong
  • and therefore not subject to corporate income tax in Hong Kong

Why setting up an offshore company in Hong Kong?

Compared to most offshore jurisdictions, many investors prefer setting up an offshore company in Hong Kong because of several reasons:

1. Favourable tax regime

Hong Kong offers one of the world’s most attractive tax systems.

There are no sales taxes, VAT, GST, estate duty, or capital gains tax payable.

Offshore companies registered in Hong Kong are not subject to corporate income tax on their revenue generated outside of Hong Kong.

Onshore companies in Hong Kong are subject to a corporate income tax of a maximum of 16.5%.

Moreover, interests and dividends do not attract any withholding taxes.

2. Reputation

Hong Kong follows global standards when it comes to tax and information transparency.

Hong Kong is not a tax haven. In fact, OECD recognizes Hong Kong as a low tax jurisdiction.

Operating a business via an offshore company registered in Hong Kong is better perceived than using a company in the BVI, Seychelles, or the likes.

3. Easy to set up a company in Hong Kong

Setting up a new company in Hong Kong is absolutely straightforward.

One does not have to deal with any red tape or bureaucratic setup.

A Hong Kong company does not require any domestic shareholder or director.

From a cost perspective, it is cheaper to register and operate a company in Hong Kong than in the BVI or the Cayman Islands.

4. No foreign exchange control

There is no foreign exchange control in Hong Kong.

Money can be moved or converted very easily.

5. No economic substance test

There is no regulation on economic substance or economic substance tests for offshore companies registered in Hong Kong.

On the contrary, companies in the BVI and other offshore jurisdictions are now subject to a yearly economic substance test.

Regulations on economic substance are difficult to navigate, with risks of high penalties in case of failure to comply.

6. Market friendly economy

For the past several years, Hong Kong has been ranked as the world’s freest economy.

The policies and legislations are based on the principles of free trade.

As a result, it is a leading financial hub for entities across the world.

The steps to register a Hong Kong Offshore Company

There are three critical steps to register an offshore company in Hong Kong:

1. Registering the company name

You must apply to the Companies Registry to obtain approval for the name of the company.

Start by looking up the availability of the proposed name.

For more information, check out our guide to selecting the right name for your company.

2. Preparing the relevant documents for incorporation

The following documents should be prepared for submission to the Companies Registry:

  • Application forms for incorporation
  • A copy of the articles of association of the Hong Kong offshore company
  • Copies of the identity documents for the shareholders and directors of the company
  • Copies of parent company registration documents for corporate shareholders or directors.

3. Undertaking the necessary compliances

Filing the incorporation documents with the Companies Registry

These documents should be submitted within 14 days of incorporating the offshore company:

  • Appointment notification of directors and secretary
  • A copy of the signed Letter of Consent to act as a director of the company
  • any other document that the Companies Registry may request.

Setting up a Business Account

Most banks require a standard set of documents for opening a business account.

These include:

  • account opening form signed by the authorized signatory of the company
  • certified to be true copies of the articles of association and certificate of incorporation
  • a copy of the board resolution authorizing the opening of a bank account

Hong Kong Offshore Company Corporate Structure

Form of entityPrivate company limited by shares
Minimum Capitalization Requirements   1 HK$
Minimum number of shareholders   1
Maximum number of shareholders   50
Nationality/residency of shareholders
  • Natural person or corporates can be shareholders
  • Can be wholly foreign-owned (WOFE)
  • Not mandatory to be a national or resident of Hong Kong
Director requirements
  • At least one director needed
  • Natural person or corporates can be appointed
  • Not mandatory to be a resident or a Hong Kong national
Company Secretary Requirements
  • Local company secretary needed
  • Natural person or corporate residents can be appointed
  • Legally exempted from taxes on income derived from business outside of Hong Kong
Annual and ongoing compliances
  • Company accounts should be audited annually
  • Changes affecting the company, its shareholders, or directors should be reported to the Hong Kong Companies Registry
  • Annual Returns to be filed with the Companies Registry
  • Tax returns should be filed with the Inland Revenue Department’
  • Business Registration Certificate to be renewed each year
  • One Annual General Meeting to be held each year

Register your offshore business in Hong Kong today!

Focus on your business, we take care of the rest.

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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