Starting a company in Hong Kong is very similar to starting a company anywhere else in the world. There are two ways to start a company in Hong Kong, a Private Limited Company or an agent. A Private Limited Company has only two members (the company secretary and one member of the company), whereas an agent has many members. However, the main difference between the two is that all shareholders have equal voting rights in a limited company in Hong Kong.
Because of the need for accountability in the business sector in Hong Kong, especially with the formation of the Secretary of State’s statutory office, it is not surprising that the government in Hong Kong has taken action to regulate starting a company in Hong Kong. One of these measures is the introduction of the Company Registration Office (PCO) system in 2021. This starting a company in Hong Kong system aims to provide greater control over Hong Kong companies’ ownership by providing simplified public access to information on company registration, its registration process, and ongoing performance. The introduction of PCO was part of a government initiative package to stimulate economic growth in Hong Kong, including establishing the Consumer Trade Office. Among the measures announced at that time were the following:
The formation of a Hong Kong company was subject to review under the Companies Act 2021. That year, it was required that any company registering in Hong Kong must be registered in its name and that any person acting as a director of that company must be a resident of Hong Kong. However, the directors’ requirements were relaxed, and any non-residential applicant may still act as a director of a limited company in Hong Kong. It was the first step towards the implementation of an independent and honest agency for company registration.
There are two types of organisations in Hong Kong: fully-fledged companies and limited liability companies. A fully-fledged organisation operates with more than ten individuals and is led by a senior manager. On the other hand, a limited liability company is one in which one person – called the principal – acts as its sole director. Both types of organisations could be registered under the Companies Act and its registered agent’s authority.
It is starting a Hong Kong company under an individual’s authority rather than a new company called e-registration. For this reason, it requires the application of a new procedure for starting a company in Hong Kong – the ‘Special Registration’ method.
To carry out the procedure for starting a Hong Kong company, people need to get in touch with a qualified chartered accountant or a legal advisor. These two professionals can help them choose the most appropriate method for starting a limited Hong Kong company. The first step involves getting the designation of the company’s legal representative office. Under the Companies Act, the company must have a statutory representative or secretary. The statutory representative or secretary then takes over the responsibility of performing the company’s functions, including taking care of all official company queries and acting on behalf of the company in matters involving auditing and corporate taxation.
The next step that anyone must take when looking into starting a Hong Kong company without a license is finding a qualified chartered accountant. Such an accountant will be able to help the company carry out its activities following the law. Appointing a chartered accountant also gives the company a much-needed shield from personal liability incurred by the director or any company’s members. Selecting a company secretary provides the company with access to all the necessary bank accounts and business records. Both of these positions are crucial when starting a company in Hong Kong without a license.
When it comes to establishing a Hong Kong company, ensuring that its representative office is registered with the Securities and Futures Office of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is of prime importance. This office has the power to register the company with the relevant government institutions and prevent persons carrying out fraudulent business activities from benefiting from the schemes set up by the government. Starting a company in Hong Kong without a license is not a very easy task. However, with the aid of the government’s initiatives, this task becomes a lot easier. These initiatives have helped many people open their doors to prosperity and helped them get on with the business of making money.