Your Guide to Registering a Local Business in Hong Kong

You’ve got an idea. Now, you just have to make things official by registering your business.

Starting a business is no easy task—but we’re here to break down the process for you. You’ve got the idea, maybe a business plan, and now, you’re looking to take things to the next step by registering your business.

Before you dive into the application process, figure out what type of application you’ll be doing. In Hong Kong, companies can be registered under two categories: non-Hong Kong companies, which refer to foreign companies that have established a place of business in Hong Kong, and local limited companies.

Here, we’ve found everything you need to know about registering local limited companies in Hong Kong.

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Step-by-step guide to register your local business in Hong Kong

Step 1. Choose the company type
Step 2. Name your company
Step 3. Fill in the application form
Step 4. Collect certificates
Step 5. Apply for other permits or licenses

Step 1. Choose the company type

There is a variety of company types that can be selected when registering a business. The two main groups are divided into ‘limited companies’ and ‘unlimited companies’. However, we will be diving into the most common types of companies in Hong Kong in this article: sole proprietorship, partnership, and incorporated companies.

  • Sole Proprietorship

    Sole proprietorship is suited for small businesses with a sole owner. Legally, a sole proprietorship and its owner share an identity.

  • Partnership

    Partnership is a business formed by two or more partners. The responsibilities of the business are shared, increasing funding opportunities. However, every partner is also liable for the actions of other partners.

  • Incorporated Companies

    One or more parties can form an incorporated company with or without limited liability. This type of company is not as straight forward as the other two, as it can be further classified into three different categories: company limited by shares, company limited by guarantee, and unlimited company.

Step 2. Choose the name of your company

You may already have a name in mind for your soon-to-be-official company, however, make sure to read the government’s “Guideline on Registration of Company Names for Hong Kong Companies” for pointers when choosing the company name.

To ensure your company name has not already been taken, visit the “Cyber Search Centre”, “Company Search Mobile Service” and “Trademark Register” online to double-check. You can also visit the Public Search Centre on the 13th floor of the Queensway Government Offices if you prefer to do it in person.

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Step 3. Fill in the application forms

You’ll need to fill in three forms: The Incorporation Form (either Form NNC1, which is for companies limited by shares, or Form NNC1G, for companies not limited by shares); a copy of the company’s articles of association; and A Notice to Business Registration Office.

The easiest way to complete the above forms is through the digital “e-Registry” or “CR eFiling” mobile application. However, you can also submit hard copy forms to the Shroff on the 14th floor of the Queensway Government Offices as well.

Step 4. Collect certificates

If everything goes smoothly and your application is approved, you’ll be able to collect the company’s Certificate of Incorporation and Business Registration Certificate.

Private companies limited by shares that applied online will usually get their certification within one hour, and will be notified through the registered email address. Those who delivered their application through hard copy forms will usually get their certification after four working days and can be collected in person at the Registry.

Step 5. Apply for other permits or licenses

After receiving your business registration certificate, you may need to acquire other permits, depending on the type of business you plan on running. The Trade and Industry Department has compiled informative guides on importing and exporting goods, as well as a site with a more general license, permits, certificates, and approval information that’ll help you get everything sorted.

And that’s it! Registering for a business is one of the first steps out of many in starting a company. No matter what your next steps are, from figuring out an office space that’s suitable to your needs, adopting a virtual office entirely, or learning about the latest trends that’ll help your business succeed, follow our blog for more leading industry tips.

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