Things to Do Before Applying for Business Licenses and Permits in Hong Kong
To legally operate a business in Hong Kong, you must have the necessary business licenses and permit requirements in Hong Kong.
The business licenses and permits in Hong Kong will be issued based on the nature of your business activity. Further, a Hong Kong government department or agency will be responsible for the issuing of these licenses. The good news for investors is, however, that not every business in Hong Kong is going to require a business license or permit to operate.
First, you must be registered with the Companies Registry before lodging your application for the necessary business licenses and permits in Hong Kong. Generally, these licenses and permits may take anywhere between two to eight weeks to get approval.
Types of Businesses That Need Business Licenses and Permits in Hong Kong
You will be required to obtain a business license or permit in Hong Kong if you intend to operate a business in any of the following categories:
A Travel Agency
Any business intending to sell tour packages and travel offers, including transportation services, is classified as a Travel Agency in Hong Kong. Basically, you will need to acquire the Travel Agent’s License from the relevant authority, which is the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau.
An Employment Agency
Any business that intends to provide recruitment or placement services to other employers in Hong Kong is classified as an Employment Agency. Thus, you must acquire a License to Operate an Employment Agency from the relevant authority, which in this instance is the Labour Department of Hong Kong.
An Education Business
If you intend to set up an educational institution in Hong Kong, then you will need to obtain the necessary business license from the Education Bureau of Hong Kong. In addition, this business license is the Certificate of Registration of a School.
A Financial Services Company
The business licenses and permits in Hong Kong which are relevant to a financial services company will depend upon the type of business the company is involved in. Moreover, examples of the types of business licenses and permits which are required include:
- Money Lenders License (from Companies Registry for money lending businesses).
- Registration of an Insurance Agent (from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance for insurance agents).
- Representative License, Authorized Institution Registration or a Corporate License (from the Securities and Futures Commission for invested advisory related services).
- Pawnbrokers License (from the Hong Kong Police Force for pawnshops).
- Authorization to carry on an Insurance Business (from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance for those intending to act as insurers).
- Authorization of Insurance Brokers (from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance for those intending to act as insurance brokers).
- Registration of Remittance Agents and Money Changers (from the Hong Kong Police Force for money and foreign currency exchange dealers).
- Registration of Deposit-Taking Company (DTC) to Carry on Business of Taking Deposits (from the Monetary Authority Hong Kong for a business that takes deposits from their customers).
Event Management Company
Any business that conducts events including community, sporting, outdoor, exhibitions, concerts, meetings, conventions and conferences are classified as event management companies. Of course, there are several business licenses and permits categories involved with this one too. However, this again depends on the nature of your business:
- Amusements with Prizes License (Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority).
- Lottery License (Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority).
- Certificate for Advertising Materials (Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority).
- Certificate of Approval (Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority).
- Food Factory License (Food and Environmental Hygiene Department).
- Liquor License (Liquor Licensing Board).
- Food Factory License (Food and Environmental Hygiene Department).
A Restaurant Business
A restaurant is an establishment which serves food and drinks. Therefore, restaurants must have the diligence to obtain the necessary business licenses and permits in Hong Kong before commencing operations. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department is responsible for issuing the General Restaurant License. However, you must finalise your business premise before you can apply for the said business license. If you intend to serve alcohol in your establishment, then you will need the Liquor License approval from the Liquor Licensing Board Hong Kong. Further, additional business licenses and permits in Hong Kong for a restaurant business include:
- Food Factory License (if your business involves food preparation and manufacturing, or processing packaged foods for human consumption).
- Import License (if your business imports frozen food items such as poultry and meat).
- Restricted Food Permit (for the sale of restricted food items, including cut fruit, oysters, raw meat and sushi or sashimi).
- Permit to Sell Food via Vending Machine
- Bakery License
- License for Storage or Manufacture of Dangerous Goods
- Outside Seating Accommodation Permit
- Karaoke Establishment Permit
A Trading Company
To operate such a business, the business licenses and permits in Hong Kong that you would require would depend on the goods that you are dealing with in Trading Company. Depending on the licenses and permits needed, the relevant governing agency in Hong Kong will be responsible for issuing it to your business.
A Retail Business
The business licenses and permits in Hong Kong are necessary for the retail industry. Moreover, it will depend on the type of goods and services you provide in the establishment. Further, these licenses could include any of the following:
- Animal Boarding Establishment License (Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department).
- Listing Certificate of Class II/III Medical Devices and Certificate of Registration of Premises of an Authorized Seller of Poisons (Department of Health).
- Retailer License in Chinese Herbal Medicines (Department of Health).
Click here for more information on government business licences and permits in Hong Kong.
Applying for Your Business Licenses and Permits in Hong Kong
The business licenses and permits application process is considerably straightforward. Still, it is advisable to engage the services of a professional firm to save you valuable time and resources. WIth this, minimising errors could be key to getting your business licenses and permits approved in a timely manner. For more information about business licenses and permits in Hong Kong, contact 3E Accounting.