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Business Registration Process
Registration of a new business in Hong Kong is mandatory.
Information and application forms are available through:
Business Registration Office
4/F, Revenue Tower
5 Gloucester Road
Tel: 187 8088
Or, click here for business licensing information.
Different application forms apply for different types of business. If the business is owned by:
Applications may be submitted in person or by mail. The following must accompany the application:
- An individual, use Form 1(a)
- A body corporate, use Form 1(b)
- A partnership or other unincorporated body, use Form 1(c)
- Is a branch of an existing business, use Form 1(d)
Fee: HK$ 2,250
- A duplicate application form
- Photocopy of HK ID card/passport of the proprietor or partners
- If a body corporate, then 2 copies of the certificate of incorporation
A demand note will be issued to the applicant. Upon payment of this, a cash register stamp will be printed on the demand note which becomes the official registration certificate. This must be displayed in a conspicuous position at the place of business.
Processing Time: 3 weeks approx.
Validity Period: 1 Year, renewable.
Registering a Limited Company
To incorporate a company, a shelf company may be bought and activated within 2 working days. This is much easier and quicker than incorporating a company from scratch, which may take one month or more.
To incorporate a company limited by shares, apply to:
Registrar General's Companies Registry
14/F, Queensway Government Offices
Tel: (852) 2867 2600 / 2234 9933
Fax: (852) 2869 6817
A limited company is required to have:
- At least 2 directors & 2 shareholders
- A registered office in Hong Kong
- A company secretary in Hong Kong
- Maintained books of accounts that have been audited by a locally registered auditor within 18 months of incorporation and thereafter annually
- An annual return filed within 1 year and 42 days of the company's incorporation.
The following documents are required upon application:
To prepare statutory documentation:
- Memorandum of Association outlining the objectives for which the company was formed and the share capital, which may be increased later subject to a fee
- Articles of Association prescribing regulations for the administration of the company
- A statutory declaration of compliance with the Companies Ordinance.
- Full name, address, and copy of directors' and shareholders' passports
- Number of shares to be issued and percentage shareholding per member
- Intended date of commencement of business and the intended financial year end
- auditors to be appointed and tax representatives
Serviced Offices & Business Centres
Leasing space in a serviced office or business centre may be a good interim measure whilst you look for suitable office space and have it fitted out.
Serviced office space runs from HK$ 8,000 - HK$ 20,000 a month and includes secretarial, telephone answering, photocopying and fax services. Conference rooms may be available for lease.
See Services for Temporary Office Listings
Finding a Permanent Office
Finding a suitable space for your business in Hong Kong is contingent upon several factors, such as the type of business you are in and whether you expect your clients to make visits to the office. If you require warehousing for instance, you probably would not take up space in Central but in Wanchai or Western District. Rental will be highest in buildings with top quality amenities located in Central; gross prime office rentals run from HK$ 15- HK$ 42 per square foot. Compass can help you with the process of finding suitable office space.
Things to Note Before Signing the Lease
Most buildings are centrally air-conditioned, but only from 7am-6pm. If your team works irregular hours, you may ask for the air-conditioning to remain switched on but the extra charge for this is high. Check the building's policy before you decide to take up the space.
Consider the infrastructure that your office requires and make sure wiring is in acceptable condition before signing the lease. The newer buildings will be wired for broadband access.
Rental costs should be quoted in net value terms. Net Area includes the total useable area from the inside walls, excluding the common areas such as the lift wells, lobbies, toilets and stairs. Management fees and rates are paid on top of the rental amount, unless specifically stated otherwise. Lease periods are usually granted for a period of three years and sometimes longer depending on the size of the office. Office size also determines your negotiating position in terms of the rent.
Most offices are leased as bare shells, meaning that the tenant will have to construct interior walls, install electrical and lighting systems, carpeting, fittings and furniture. The fitting out process can only begin after the lease is signed. A rent free period is given whilst the office is being set up, but this depends on market conditions and the size of the office. Hire a design firm to handle the project for you, and don't neglect to consult a Feng-Shui master before construction commences. Chinese employees might not feel secure unless the office is given the spiritual thumbs up.
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PCCW Hotline: 1000
Last Updated: 17 November, 2004