Requirements for opening a company
An offshore company opened in Hong Kong must appoint at least one director but their number may be unlimited. It’s not mandatory for them to be Hong Kong residents.
Minimum one shareholder is required and maximum fifty. The shareholders may be natural persons or companies.
The company created in Hong Kong must also appoint a local individual or corporate resident to have the role of company’s secretary.
Procedure for starting your business in Hong Kong
The foreign investors have two choices in incorporating an offshore company in Hong Kong. They may register a new company or buy an already registered one.
The companies that are only registered but do not pose any liabilities or assets are called shelf companies and may be purchased by investors that have no time to wait until a new company is incorporated. After buying it, the investors may invest directors and secretary of the company, increase the share capital and change the name and the registered address.
The investors that wish to register a new business must know a few facts. First, the company’s desired name must be checked at the Companies Registry. If it’s not a duplicate or too much alike with another one, it can be reserved.
After that, the following documents must be submitted to the Registry:
• the registration application form,
• the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Incorporation,
• the passport copy of the founders,
• bank reference letter for non-resident shareholders or directors,
• copy of Hong Kong identity card for Hong Kong resident shareholders or directors and copy of parent company registration
• documents (only for corporate shareholders).
After 14 days from registration, the offshore company established must also deposit the following documents:
• notification regarding the registered address,
• the decision of appointing the director(s) and the secretary and their consent to act in that position
• other documents requested by the Business Registration Office, depending on the nature of the business.
A bank account must be opened and within a month since the registration, the company must be registered at the Inland Revenue Department.
Special requirements for operating a business
Operating a trading company, a retail shop, a travel agency, a restaurant, an employment agency, an education business, a financial services agency, an event management agency are activities that requires receiving a license, so it is important to apply for it at the competent authorities. The type and number of required permits and licenses vary greatly from business to business. We recommend taking the help of a qualified lawyer or business consultant in Hong Kong for professional advice, which will certainly help you rest assured you start your business proper and in the legal framework of this city-state.
Only if the above steps are completed, the foreign investors may start operating business and enjoy the benefits of having an offshore company opened in Hong Kong.