If you are planning on starting a new company in a foreign land then it is wise to start with a local limited company, in other words, incorporation or a private limited company. And if you are planning on opening that company in Hong Kong then the procedure to start a private limited company is pretty straight forward and fast too.
Registration of a company can be a big hassle in a lot of countries. But in Hong Kong, all you need to do is follow a few steps and show the right documents and it shall be done in a matter of minutes. Opening a private limited company in Hong Kong is much easier than other forms of businesses in the country. For starters, private limited companies in Hong Kong are controlled by the government body called Companies Registry (CR). The business is required to be registered in Business Registration Office (BRO) which is a division of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).
If you can successfully submit your registration application along with all the documents required then the Certificate of Registration by CR and the Business Registration Certificate by IRD will be given to you within 2 working days.
As long as you are over the age of 18 years with a valid passport, you can register your private limited company. If you are a Hong Kong local then you need the Hong Kong ID card to be eligible. Nationality isn’t a big issue in this country.
What are the documents and information needed for registering?
The first and foremost thing that one needs to consider when registering is coming up with the company name. After you have decided on the name, you have to search on the Cyber Name Search using the Cyber Search Center in the CR website to see if such a name already exists or not. This is very important as having the same company can make you vulnerable to the lawsuit and is a direct violation of the Company Ordinance.
Once the company name has been decided and made legal, it is up to you to find a registered office address for your company. This needs to be an authentic address located in Hong Kong. The address will be registered in the CR for postal purposes between your company and the government.
In order to register your private limited company in Hong Kong, it is legally required to have at least one company secretary. This secretary should be of Hong Kong origin. The secretary can also be an entire entity of local origin i.e. a corporate body incorporated in Hong Kong. The job of the secretary would be to look after regular duties of the company and to ensure the company’s ongoing compliance with its statutory requirement.
Alongside the company secretary, a director is also a must have for each limited company in Hong Kong. Just like the Secretary, the director must also be a natural person. The nationality of the Director is not an issue when it comes to Private Limited Companies. However, the Director does not have to be an individual person all the time. It can be a company incorporated in Hong Kong too just like the company secretary.
Now that all the requirements and the process are mentioned and taken care of, we come down to the important aspect of costing. In order to get the government to incorporate your Private Limited company, you need to pay a sum of $HK 1720 as a fee payable for the application of C.I. If the registration is not successful then fear not, your money won't go to a complete waste. You will be refunded $HK 1425.
Alongside that application fee, one has to pay the government a fee and levy on the application of B.R. Certificate. For one year certificate the fee is $HK 2250 and for a 3-year certificate, the charges are $HK 5950. Keep in mind that the 3 year period is the longest certificate duration provided so you will have to renew it once the 3 year period is over.
How long is the processing time?
There are two different ways you can submit your registration applications; one is via the electronic method through the e-registry. The other one is by submitting hard copies at the Companies Registry.
Electronic Submission- If you happen to submit all your legal documents and application forms through the e-registry then it should take you around 1 hour to receive your Certificates of Registration. You will be contacted via an email and you will be able to download your certificate right then and there.
Hard Copy Submission- In order to get the Certificate of Registration after submitting the hard copy of your application, it will generally take 4 working days to process your Certificate. A fax notification will be sent to the person whose fax numbers are provided in the application form. The person will then have to go to the Companies Registry and collect their certificate. And then you have your Private Limited Company registered.