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Company registration in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is considered in the business world as one of the best destinations for entities. Company registration in Hong Kong is not only cost effective, but simple, fast, and convenient. The incorporation process may take just a few days to be completed. 

Hong Kong is considered the best gateway to Mainland China, which would open a potential market of over 1.3 billion people. Once a company is registered in Hong Kong, it will also enjoy preferential treatment from more than 30 states that have signed bilateral trade agreements with Hong Kong. 

Although Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, it enjoys certain autonomy that includes running an independent administration, which does everything possible, from simplifying the tax system to running business incubation programs, to ensure business success after a company registration.  

Company Registration in Hong Kong 

In Hong Kong, company registration is guided by the Companies Ordinance.  

The actual company registration process begins with choosing a name for your company. It can be in Chinese, English, or both. However, the name must not combine both English and Chinese characters. 

The next step is to decide which type of legal entity is best for the business. Choosing the right business structure is essential in new company formation, as it affects tax responsibilities, flexibility of business operations, and legal liability. 

There are three main types of business entities in Hong Kong: 

  • Public and Private Limited Company 

  • Sole Proprietorship 

  • Partnership 

Among these options, a limited company is the most popular and common type of company structure in Hong Kong.  This business type offers the shareholders limited liability. This means that their financial risks do not extend beyond the amount in their share capital investment, protecting their personal assets from the company’s financial obligations.  

The share-based structure of a private limited company facilitates capital growth and expansion as it attracts external funding from investors.  

Transferring shares from one shareholder to another is a very straightforward process in a limited company. This convenience makes it an attractive choice for businesses aiming to expand and readily adapt their ownership structure to include new investors. 

Company Secretary 

It is mandatory to appoint a company secretary when registering a company, as they are a direct point of contact for inquiries from authorities, ensuring regulatory compliance and operational transparency.

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The company secretary will oversee ensuring that the company is in good standing with the regulations governing the incorporation and maintenance of companies in Hong Kong. They also have other responsibilities, including filing annual returns, managing company seals, and helping with company restructuring. 

Unlike many other countries, the company registration process in Hong Kong does not require an extensive amount of documentation. 

Documents for company registration in Hong Kong 

NNC1 and IRBR1 Forms for companies limited by shares. The incorporation forms must be filled out and signed by one of the shareholders.  

Copies of the directors’ and shareholders’ identification documents (Hong Kong ID cards for Hong Kong residents and passports for foreigners). 

A copy of the company’s Articles of Association outlining the company's internal governance rules, such as director appointments, share transfers, and financial management. The company secretary typically provides this document. 

Companies Registry 

Registration documents can be submitted online through e-Registry Portal, by mail to the Companies Registry’s address or in person at the Shroff Counters at the Companies Registry office. 

In 2 to 6 business days, if the application is approved, the applicant can download or collect the Certificate of Incorporation and Business Registration Certificate. The Certificates will be issued in electronic form or hard copy form, depending on the mode of delivery of the applications. Certificates in electronic form or hard copy form have the same legal effect. 

Electronic Certificates for private companies limited by shares will normally be issued within 1 hour. An email notification to download Certificates will be sent to the message box and registered email address of the registered user who delivers the application. 

Certificates for companies limited by shares in hard copy form will normally be issued within 4 working days. The responsible party will be notified when the Certificates are ready for collection and must present an identification document to collect them in person. 

Once the incorporation is approved, a certificate of incorporation and business registration certificate will be issued by Registrar of Companies.  

There are two types of business registration certificate: one is for one year and another one is for three years. In case of any change to the registration certificate, business operators should notify the Inland Revenue Department in writing within 1 month of such a change. 

Some types of businesses will need extra application documents. These businesses include, but are not limited to, restaurants, banks and travel agencies. 

Company registration Requirements 

These are the main requirements for registering a limited liability company in Hong Kong. 

  • Any person or organization is allowed to register a company in Hong Kong. 

  • A minimum of one shareholder is required, whether local or foreigner. Shareholders must be over 18 years. 

  • At least one director, local or foreigner, is required. The director must be more than 18 years. 

  • One person can serve as both the director and the shareholder. 

  • To register a company in Hong Kong, no minimum share capital is needed.  

  • It must have a registered address. 

  • The company secretary must be a Hong Kong resident. If an incorporated entity serves as the secretary, it needs to have an office in Hong Kong. 

  • The company must have a Designated Representative (DR). This is a person, or a company selected to provide assistance related to Significant Controllers Register (SCR) of the company.  

  • A registered company in Hong Kong must meet its tax obligations. 

  • A registered company in Hong Kong must prepare and maintain accounts properly. The company’s accounts must be audited on an annual basis by a Certified Public Accountant in Hong Kong. Then, the audited accounts must be submitted to the Inland Revenue Department. 


Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is one of China’s most trusted business setup advisory firms.

Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is specialized in inbound investment to China and Hong Kong. We focus on eliminating the complexities of corporate services and compliance administration. We help clients with services ranging from trademark registration and company incorporation to the full outsourcing solution for accounting, tax, and human resource services. Our advisory services can be tailor-made based on the companies’ objectives, goals and needs which vary depending on the stage they are at on their journey.


Talk to an expert

Schedule a 30-mins complimentary, no-obligation call to see how Woodburn can help you. Book a call with our Head of Business Advisory - Kristina Koehler-Coluccia.

Topics we can advise on include:

  • Company Registration

  • Cloud Accounting & Financial Reporting

  • Cloud Payroll Services

  • Tax & Audit Services

  • Recruitment

  • Employer-of-Record

  • Visa Application

  • Trademark Registration

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Our advisory calls are available from Monday-Friday from 8am to 5pm CEST and Wednesday until 9pm CEST.





Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is one of China and Hong Kong’s
most trusted business setup advisory firms

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