FAQs for Hong Kong Company Formation | Hong Kong Company Setup FAQs

Here are the most Hong Kong Company Setup FAQs frequently asked questions that our interested clients will ask 3E Accounting Hong Kong. As a corporate service provider in Hong Kong, we want to ensure all your questions will be answered so that you can enjoy a Fast Incorporation with our Fast Response when you consider to choose us as your provider.

Q1: Why Choose Hong Kong for Company Setup?
Q2: Why Choose Formation as a Hong Kong Private Limited Company?
Q3: What Are the Grants Available to My Company?
Q4: Why Should We Set Up a Company and Not Another Business Form?
Q5: How Do I Find Out if the Name for My Company is Available?
Q6: What is the “Articles of Association” of a Company?
Q7: Can a Foreign Individual or a Foreign Company Be a 100% Shareholder?
Q8: What Activities Are Allowable by a Hong Kong Company?
Q9: How Long Does It Take to Incorporate a Hong Kong Company?
Q10: Does a Hong Kong Company Require a Local Resident Director?
Q11: Do I Need to Visit Hong Kong to Form a Hong Kong Company?
Q12: When and Where Must I Pay the Paid-up Capital?
Q13: Once a Hong Kong Company Has Been Incorporated, What Are the Post Incorporation Issues I Need to Consider Before I Can Start My Company Business Activities?
Q14: What Do I Get at the End of the Incorporation Process?
Q15: What Does Your Company Secretary Package Include?
Q16: What Does Your Registered Address Service Include?
Q17: Can I Open a Bank Account Without a Physical Presence in Hong Kong and How Long Does It Take?
Q18: Can I Purchase an Existing Dormant Company and Start My Business?
Q19: Can My Residential Address Be My Company Registered Address?
Q20: Is the Company Required to Appoint Auditors Within 3 Months From Date of Incorporation?
Q21: Do I Need to Prepare Financial Statements for My Company?
Q22: What is Business Registration Number (BRN)?
Q23: What Forms of Payment Can I Use?
Q24: How Much Does It Cost to Renew Your Services After the First Year?

Incorporation FAQ

Why Choose Hong Kong for Company Setup?

The competitiveness of Hong Kong’s economies can be attributed to their pro-business policies that have created the best place for doing business in the world!
• Hong Kong has a World class business infrastructure
• Hong Kong provides stability and worldwide recognition
• Hong Kong is viewed as a global leader in banking and business
• Hong Kong held the record of the world’s freest economy 17 consecutive years
• Hong Kong has a good legal system for Company Formation
• Incorporation and Company registration fees are in fact lower than most of the other jurisdiction
• There are no local resident requirements. A foreigner can own 100% of a Hong Kong company, with them being the sole director and shareholder in a Hong Kong company.
• Hong Kong uses the territorial basis of taxation where only profits derived from Hong Kong is taxable.
• Hong Kong has a simplified taxation system with low taxation rate
• No dividends or capital gains taxes in Hong Kong

Why Choose Formation as a Hong Kong Private Limited Company?

A Limited Liability Company is the most common and popular business entity in Hong Kong. It has a separate legal status from its shareholder. Shareholders are not personally liable for the debts and losses of the company. It usually has the word “Limited” as part of its name.
Advantages Disadvantages
Shareholders are not personally liable for debts and losses of Company Companies must maintain compliance with the Companies Registry. However, you can outsource the compliance to us.
Low corporate and personal tax
No local resident requirements
No limitation on business scopes
Tax benefits and Tax incentives
Better growth potential – can go public and publicly raise funds

What Are the Grants Available to My Company?

Hong Kong is not only an international financial hub that welcomes global investors but is also one of the business-friendly cities in the world. In order to support start-ups and SMEs, the Hong Kong government has mapped out a number of programmes providing funding support for businesses in the country.

For more information, please refer to Government Grant and Support Scheme in Hong Kong.

You can always do a search for a grant related to your company at the following website:
Government Funding Schemes
Support for Local Enterprises & SMEs

Why Should We Set Up a Company and Not Another Business Form?

The private limited company is the most popular business entity in Hong Kong. It has a separate legal status from that of its shareholders who will not be personally liable for the debt and losses of the company. It usually has the word “Limited” as part of its name. Please click Types of Business Entities to Register in Hong Kong for more details.

How Do I Find Out if the Name for My Company is Available?

Upon your submission of the proposed name to info@3ecpa.com.hk, 3E Accounting will process the name check  with the Companies Registry and we will have you informed the result by email. For more information about Hong Kong Company Name Check, please refer to Guide to Select Your Hong Kong Company Names.

What is the “Articles of Association” of a Company?

The Articles of Association (AA) is not a specified form. You may refer to the Companies (Model Articles) Notice (Cap. 622H) which prescribes Model Articles for public companies limited by shares (Schedule 1), private companies limited by shares (Schedule 2) and companies limited by guarantee (Schedule 3). A company may adopt any or all of the provisions of the Model Articles appropriate to the type of company being formed and the appropriate Model Articles will apply insofar as the articles registered by the company upon incorporation do not exclude or modify them. If a company’s registered articles do not prescribe any regulations for the company, the Model Articles appropriate to that type of company will form part of the company’s articles (section 80).

The Articles of Association must include the following mandatory articles: –
• Company name
• Liability of the members
• Company’s capital structure

Can a Foreign Individual or a Foreign Company Be a 100% Shareholder?

The Companies Ordinance allows foreign individuals and/or corporations to own 100% of the Hong Kong Company.

What Activities Are Allowable by a Hong Kong Company?

Although there are no restrictions on the types of business activities in which a Hong Kong company may engage, some business activities, such as running a travel agency, recruitment agency, financial services company, school or others special cases, require licenses from an approving authority before you can commence business.

How Long Does It Take to Incorporate a Hong Kong Company?

In Hong Kong, the entire Hong Kong company incorporation process will take approximately 3 – 5 working days. Upon receipt of the original company registry documents, we will proceed to incorporate the company with the Companies Registry (CR).

Does a Hong Kong Company Require a Local Resident Director?

There is no local resident requirement for a Hong Kong Company. A foreigner can set up a Hong Kong Company and be the sole director and shareholder of the Company.

Do I Need to Visit Hong Kong to Form a Hong Kong Company?

If you are not able to visit Hong Kong for a face-to-face meeting prior to the incorporation, we will still be able to assist you to set up the Company after performing an identity verification by electronic means upon receiving all the information and documents required as well as full payment of our invoice.

When and Where Must I Pay the Paid-up Capital?

It is not required by law to deposit the issued share capital amount immediately upon incorporation to the corporate bank accounts. The founder member may choose to deposit that amount into the company’s bank account later on.

Once a Hong Kong Company Has Been Incorporated, What Are the Post Incorporation Issues I Need to Consider Before I Can Start My Company Business Activities?

• Open bank accounts. After the business has been registered with the Inland Revenue Department, the company may need to open a local bank account for receiving and payment of accounts.
• Depending on your business requirements, you may need to hire local employees for your business.

What Do I Get at the End of the Incorporation Process?

• Certificate of incorporation
• Business Registration Certificate
• Incorporation Form (NNC1)
• Articles of Association
• Appointment of first directors
• Acceptance of Appointment as the secretary
• Notice to Business Registration Office
• Register of Members and Directors
• Significant Controller Register
• Share Certificate

What Does Your Company Secretary Package Include?

• Acting as Corporate Company Secretary for one year;
• Acting as coordinator with the Government of Hong Kong;
• Preparing and filing an Annual Return to the Companies Registry;
• Preparing written resolutions for the Annual General Meeting (“AGM”);
• Maintaining the Minutes and Register Books
• Liaise with auditor for annual statutory audit on secretarial records
• Assistance will be provided for the processing of Business Registration Fee payable to the government, the Company Secretarial Package does not include the Business Registration Fee itself
• Preparation of the Significant Controllers Register and provision of a designated representative to liaise with the Hong Kong authorities.
• Advice on matters regarding secretarial/statutory/compliance/accounting/tax
• Monitoring and ensuring compliance with relevant government regulations and legal requirements, especially under the Companies Ordinance and Inland Revenue Ordinance. (Client will receive regular compliance alert via email)

What Does Your Registered Address Service Include?

• No setup fees for setting up Virtual Office Address/Registered Address Services account
• Statement of letter is available upon request
• Free Scanning letter services upon request
• Free daily letter/parcel notifications via email
• Self-collection of mail and parcels between Monday – Friday: (9am to 6pm) (no handling fee)
• A registered address for Hong Kong private limited company
• Address for use as a mailing address (on namecards, letterheads, etc.)
• Receipt of normal mails, air mails, parcels (below 3kg) or registered mails*
• Mail forwarding/ Courier arrangement to a local/ oversea address on daily/ weekly/ monthly basis is available (Service fee of HK$10 is applied for each forwarding)

* Approval must be obtained for any bulky items / parcels (especially it is more than 3 kg) to be sent to the registered address. Daily handling fee and storage fee is applied.

Can I Open a Bank Account Without a Physical Presence in Hong Kong and How Long Does It Take?

We highly recommend that you be present in Hong Kong to complete the corporate bank account registration process to avoid any delay. A bank always reserves the right to request that the beneficial owner be physically present prior to the approval of a bank account opening application.

Depending on the amount of investigation that a bank carries out to confirm the identity and/or creditworthiness of the directors, secretary and the company itself, it may take between few weeks and two months to open a new company bank account. The processing time can be longer for opening corporate bank account without physically presence in Hong Kong.

Generally, banks in Hong Kong require you to have the following items in order to open a corporate bank account for your Hong Kong incorporated company:

  • Completed bank forms
  • Proof of identity
    • Copy of Hong Kong ID / Passport/ Valid visa (if applicable)
    • Residential proof within the last 2 months
    • Former name/ Alias proof (if any) for each directors, authorized signatories, principal shareholders, and beneficial owners (of corporate shareholders)
  • A certified true copy* of:
    • Certificate of incorporation issued by the Companies Registry
    • Company’s Articles of Association
    • Business Registration Certificate as issued by the Inland Revenue Development
  • An extract of a board resolution that approves the opening of a corporate bank account in Hong Kong
  • Written director declaration that provides the personal details of directors and principal shareholders (principal shareholder refers to a person who holds 10% or more holdings)
  • Proof of business
    • Detailed business plan or audited financial statements
    • Sales/ purchase contracts
    • Bank reference letter in your Country
    • Rental contract/ employee employment contract (if applicable)
    • Must submit together with a list of individual signatory as valid proof
  • For corporate shareholders of the Company
    • Must present certified true copy* of an organization chart that showcases the percentage of shareholdings each individual and ultimate beneficial owners of the Company
  • For ultimate beneficial owners
    • Particulars of ultimate beneficial owners for nominee shareholders of a Company
    • For ultimate beneficiaries who are trusts – must submit a certified true copy* of the trust deed or declaration of trust with particulars of the trustee, settlers and beneficiaries.

* The certified true copy must be endorsed by a certified public accountant, company secretary, lawyer, or banker. 3E Accounting will help you with to get your documents certified by qualified person. We can only provide documents certification services only if the bearers are present in our office and the original documents are produced. Extra charges will apply.

Can I Purchase an Existing Dormant Company and Start My Business?

Yes, anyone can own this type of company because Hong Kong imposes no restrictions on nationality. Hence, the directors and shareholders can be from any country.

The sale of a ready-made shelf company is straightforward. In Hong Kong, companies are registered as separate corporate bodies. This means the shares of the company are transferrable assets for the shareholders involved.

ready-made shelf company for sale in Hong Kong is registered for one purpose. To be resold to the next owner. These companies have no business transactions and must not have any debt.

The following services are included in the purchase of a shelf company package:

  • Free appointment of one director
  • Free transfer of Hong Kong Company Shares (up to 2 shareholders only)
  • Free 12 months company secretarial services
  • Assistance in opening of a bank account in Hong Kong
  • Provision of Company statutory documents

One of the biggest advantages with this option is the speed. It only takes 2 working days for the ownership to be transferred. However, we do not recommend to purchase an existing Company due to the cost involved as older companies are sold at a higher price.

Can My Residential Address Be My Company Registered Address?

The Hong Kong Office Address or Registered Office Address is not limited to a commercial address. In other words, residential address could also be accepted as the Registered Office Address. However, residential premises will have to comply with regulations that are not for commercial use. If the residential address is rented, it is important to take note if the terms in the tenancy agreement allow its usage as a registered office address. The residential address must also be able to receive all communications and notices during business hours. Therefore, the company registry strongly recommends a company to use a commercial address as its registered address.

Is the Company Required to Appoint Auditors Within 3 Months From Date of Incorporation?

According to the Companies Ordinance of Hong Kong, it is a mandatory requirement for all Hong Kong companies to file a Hong Kong Statutory Audit (which is conducted according to Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards (“HKFRS”) or SME-FRE in the case of Small-Medium Sized Enterprises (“SMEs”)). For taxation purpose, companies Incorporated in Hong Kong need submit their audited financial statements with their Profits Tax Return to the Inland Revenue Department.

Statutory Audit is one type of compulsory auditing as mandated by Hong Kong’s Law and it is one of the on-going compliance requirements for Hong Kong companies. Every Hong Kong-incorporated company must appoint qualified and independent auditors to perform yearly statutory audits on their accounts.

For a newly incorporated company, its director(s) may appoint its first auditor at any time before the first Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) which should be held within 18 months from the date of its incorporation.

Do I Need to Prepare Financial Statements for My Company?

All companies incorporated in Hong Kong must submit a statutory report that contains Audited Financial Statements in each financial year  (inclusive of corresponding amounts of the preceding year, a balance sheet, profit and loss account, and may also include cash flow statement). These Audited Financial Statements must have a valid signature from a Certified Public Accountant (“CPA”).

What is Business Registration Number (BRN)?

If you are operating a business in Hong Kong, you will require a Hong Kong Business Registration Number (BRN). This guide provides information about the Hong Kong business registration number and Hong Kong business registration number search.

A Hong Kong business registration number (BRN) follows an 8-digit sequence. Each business in Hong Kong must secure one when conducting operations. The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) of Hong Kong issues this number. A company in Hong Kong must have a BRN before a work location can be set up.

What Forms of Payment Can I Use?

You may make payment to us by bank transfer, cheque or credit card payment. For credit card payment, do note that there will be an additional 5% administrative fee. Alternatively, you may also drop by our office for cash payment.

How Much Does It Cost to Renew Your Services After the First Year?

Our renewal services packages will be as follows:
Annual Secretarial Services – HK$1,500
Annual Registered Address Services – HK$1,000

Hong Kong Company Setup FAQs

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Hong Kong Company Incorporation Services