Understanding the Differences and What’s Involved Between Company Registration, Business Registration, and Trademark Registration in Hong Kong
Each of the three registration types is regulated by a different set of laws. The registration of each category is also administered by different departments in the government.
Company Registration, Business Registration and Trademark Registration
Let’s take a look at the differences between the three types of registration in Hong Kong:
- Company Registration – This is administered by The Companies Registry in Hong Kong. It is enforced by the Companies Ordinance under Chapter 622, the Laws of Hong Kong. The Companies Registry provides incorporation services for limited companies local to Hong Kong. They also handle the registration of non-Hong Kong companies that are incorporated outside the country and those that have established a business in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).
- Business Registration – This one is handle by Hong Kong’s Inland Revenue Department and administered by the Business Registration Ordinance under Chapter 310. The Business Registration Office will oversee the registering of businesses. This includes those registered by individuals, as a partnership, non-Hong Kong company and local limited company.
- Trademark Registration – This falls under the Intellectual Property Department’s jurisdiction. They are responsible for the issuing of trademark registration services to the public. This falls under the Trade Marks Ordinance, Chapter 559 and the Trade Marks Rules, Chapter 559A. A trademark must be registered separately. If your company is already registered with the Companies Registry, it does not mean it is automatically trademarked. You will need to apply for your business trademark separately.
The System Used for Registration
The system used for company, business and trademark registration varies. To incorporate a local limited company in Hong Kong, you will need to:
- Propose a name of your business.
- Conduct a name search to determine if the proposed name is already in use. You can do this for free with the Company Registry’s Cyber Search Centre. Alternatively, you may also use the Company Search Mobile Service or Public Search Centre available at the Companies Registry.
- Ensure your application is compliant with all the requirements under the Companies Ordinance.
- Once approved, you will be issued with a Certificate of Incorporation and a Business Registration Certificate.
- Companies incorporated outside of the Hong Kong SAR region but have established a business in the country must submit their documents for registration within a month after the business has been established.
- For more information about the fees required, click here to access the Companies Registry’s website.
For business registration, you will need to:
- Register your business if you carry out the following activities:
- All forms of trade
- All forms of commerce
- Profession and activities carried out for gain
- Clubs offering services and facilities to its members
- Apply for registration within a month after you have commenced business. This applies to all local companies and non-Hong Kong companies that have established a business in Hong Kong SAR.
- Branch companies must also be registered with the Business Registration office.
For trademark registration, this is what the system entails:
- Search the current trademarks records and database in Hong Kong to see if your trademark has already been registered to another business.
- File your application with the Trade Marks Registry to search for similar or identical trademarks.
- Apply for your trademark and wait for the 3-month opposition period to clear before being issued a certificate of registration.
- The trademark registration process may take as long as 6 months from the date of application to finalise.