Registration of Small Businesses in Hong Kong

Information about the registration process when setting up a business in Hong Kong...

The Companies Registry

The first step in registering a business is to confirm with the Companies Registry that the business name has not already been registered and that there are no companies with a very similar name. Once this has been determined, the company may then be legally created with the Companies Registry.

  • Companies Registry
    At: 13/F Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, HK, China
    Tel: 2234 9933
    Fax: 2596 0585
    email

How to register a company with the Companies Registry

In order to incorporate a company, the interested party must submit to the Companies Registry the appropriate application fees, as well as:

  • A Memorandum & Articles of Association and
  • Statement of Compliance of Incorporation of a Company (Form NC1A)

The Companies Registry has comprehensive information on this:

Business registration

Once signed up with the Companies Registry, a business has one month in which to register with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). All fees must be paid before processing may begin.

In order to register with the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) in person or by post, forms should be submitted along with photocopies of Hong Kong identity cards or passports for all involved parties and the Certificate of Incorporation or Certificate of Registration provided by the Companies Registry.

American Chamber of Commerce

The American Chamber of Commerce is Hong Kong's largest international Chamber of Commerce. The website offers information on the application procedure for incorporation and has helpful tips on completing the Memorandum of Association and the Articles of Association.

Business Registration Certificates

Once registered with the IRD Business Registration Office, the business will receive a Business Registration Certificate, which must be clearly displayed in a conspicuous location in the offices, and available to inspectors.

Registration is valid for one year, though it is possible to request a three year registration certificate, which is less expensive than obtaining three, one-year registrations. If a business is renewing its registration, application for a three-year registration must be made at least one month before the registration expires. Existing businesses should use Form IRBR 184.

Validity of registration

New businesses can request a three-year registration when applying for registration, or a request for a three-year registration may be made within one year of the start of business.

Once a business receives a three-year registration, it is possible to change back to a one-year registration, though a request must be submitted in writing to the IRD not later than one month before the expiration of the three-year registration certificate.

If a business ends trading before the end of the registration period, the registration fee and levy is not refundable.

Renewal

Approximately one month before the business registration certificate expires, the business should receive a demand note from the IRD's Business Registration Office. Once payment is made, this note serves as the new business registration certificate. If a demand note is not received one month before the certificate expires, contact the IRD's Business Registration Office.

If a demand note is not received, it is possible to renew the business registration certificate in person or by post. If renewing in person, take the Business Registration Certificate to the IRD Business Registration Office and request a duplicate demand note. By post, send a photocopy of the previous Business Registration Certificate, and a check for the registration fee made payable to "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region." These should be sent to the IRD Business Registration Office.

Updating registration records

Any change to registration information must be submitted to the IRD within one month. Changes to some business information (address, name and cessation of trading) can be completed online.

Forms to notify the IRD of changes within the registered company can also be found at the IRD website.

Closing a business

The IRD Business Registration Office must be notified in writing, either in person or via post, within one month of the end of business, or the IRD will consider the business still operational. Failure to notify the IRD can result in fines and imprisonment.

When notifying the IRD, include the registration number, owner name and contact information, business address and date of the close of business. Form IRC 3113 may also be used to notify the IRD.

The business must have paid the registration fee for the year in which the business closes.