Starting a Business

Find out about the various business structures in Hong Kong and how to get a venture started...

Hong Kong law determines that anyone trading in Hong Kong in any way – providing goods or services in exchange for payment – must register their business with the Business Registration Office of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) within one month of starting to trade. Applications can only be registered once the business has commenced operation. Failure to apply for business registration is an offence and can result in a fine of $5,000 and 1 year imprisonment.

The following organisations must register as a business with the IRD:

  • any person or group carrying out activities for gain
  • any club which provides facilities for recreation or interaction
  • any company incorporated in Hong Kong
  • any company not incorporated in Hong Kong but that has a place of business in Hong Kong
  • any company (even if not registered in Hong Kong) that has a representative or office (even if unused) in Hong Kong

To register a business the following is required:

  • Proof of identity
  • Completed application form
  • Payment of business registration fee and levy
  • Application forms can be requested by email to, by fax to 2824 1482 or obtained in person from the Business Registration Office at 4/F of Revenue Tower, Wan

Many activities are regulated and require a business licence. The Hong Kong government website has comprehensive information on the requirements for business registration and licensing.

There is also much information available in English from both the Companies Registry and the Inland Revenue Department.

Also, InvestHK is a government entity that promotes business and investment in Hong Kong.

Note: This INFOrmation Page is an introductory overview of the options and processes to set up in business in Hong Kong. Expert advice should always be considered before any action is taken.

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