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Taxation in Hong Kong
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Doing Business in Hong Kong
 
 
 

General

In Hong Kong businesses normally trade as either limited companies, limited partnerships or sole proprietorships. Being a common law jurisdiction the concept of a trust is readily understood and widely used. The tight secrecy, minimal corporate disclosure and loose administrative requirements which characterize some island offshore common law jurisdictions and make these territories attractive locations in which to base commercial operations have no counterpart in Hong Kong, whose company and trust law are virtually identical to their United Kingdom equivalents.

To found a business company in Hong Kong, it is necessary to register with the Business Registration Office of the Inland Revenue Department within one month of the commencement of business. The annual registration fee is currently HK$2,450. In general the minimum capital requirements for a business corporation are very low or non-existent and all legal business forms are open for foreign participation.

Applications for incorporation should be made to the Companies Registry (13th-14th floors, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong). The registration fee ranges from is HK$1,720. Normally, a Certificate of Incorporation of a company limited by shares will be issued in four working days. It is also possible to purchase a shelf company, i.e. an already incorporated private company, through an accounting or law firm or through a secretarial company. It costs about HK$6,400 ($800) and takes only a few days. Further time is required (about 3-4 weeks) if the name of the shelf company is to be changed.

In January 2009, a new Receipt and Despatch Centre, operated by the Business Registration Office of the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department, opened to provide a 'one-stop' service for company incorporation and business registration in the territory. The facility, which is located near the Companies Registry (CR) aims to make the procedure for business registration applications by a company much more convenient.

Plans are in the pipeline to introduce a new e-filing service for company incorporation and document registration in Hong Kong by the end of 2010. The CR has invited tenders to implement Phase II of the Integrated Companies Registry Information System for the provision of the above new e-services and integration with the IRD’s business registration system.

Forms of Business Organisation

Private Company Limited by Shares

Corporate entities are governed by the provisions of the Hong Kong Companies Ordinance 1984 which brought the territory's company law into line with United Kingdom company law.


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