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This article tells you the information and services about licensing, registration and regulations regarding starting a business.

Registration of a New Company

The Companies Registry is responsible for processing the following applications:

  • incorporation of local limited companies; and
  • registration of non-Hong Kong companies which were incorporated outside Hong Kong and have established a place of business in Hong Kong.

See the link below for details about registration, price guide, filling tips, etc.

A limited company is a separate legal entity, that is, a legal person in its own right and separate from its owners. The benefit of limited liability through operating as a limited company also brings with it obligations in so much as the company must comply with the various provisions in the Companies Ordinance (Chapter 622 of the Laws of Hong Kong). These obligations include the timely disclosure and reporting of specified information about the company, its officers and shareholders, etc. and any changes in such information to the Registrar of Companies. Every officer of a company has the responsibility to ensure that the company has complied with all these provisions.

Business Registration

Under the one-stop company and business registration service, any person who delivers an application for incorporation of a local company or an application for registration of a non-Hong Kong company will be deemed to have made a business registration application at the same time. The Companies Registry will issue the Certificate of Incorporation (or the Certificate of Registration of Non-Hong Kong Company) and the Business Registration Certificate in one go if the application is successful. Other businesses have to register with the Inland Revenue Department within one month of business commencement. Check out the links below for the businesses required to be registered, when and how to register, as well as online application details.

Licensing

You may need particular government licences, permits, certificates and approvals to start your business operations in Hong Kong. You can try the Business Licence Information Service to acquire online the kinds of licences you need to operate your business.

If you have already made a licence application, you can make use of the Licence Application Tracking Facility to check the application status online.

GovHK also provides access to detailed information regarding restaurant licensing, telecommunications licences, environmental permits and licences, etc.

Taxation

GovHK’s Taxes section directs you to sources of detailed information about profits tax, tax obligations of business operators and employers.

Labour Legislation

As an employer you have certain statutory obligations and duties to your employees. Read the various labour legislation for detailed information on employment protection and benefits for employees, including conditions of employment, employees’ compensation, occupational safety and health, etc.

Employers' Obligations under MPF System

An employer is required to enrol both full-time and part-time employees aged 18 to below 65 and employed for 60 days or more in an MPF scheme. You may select one or more MPF schemes available in the market and enrol your employees in these schemes. Click the links below for more information.

Self-employed Persons’ Obligations under MPF System

If you are a self-employed person (SEP) aged 18 to below 65, you must enrol yourself in an MPF scheme. You are required to make mandatory contributions if you earn not less than the minimum income level, i.e. currently $5,000 a month or $60,000 a year.

Equal Opportunities for Employment

A majority of the complaints received by the Equal Opportunities Commission under the anti-discrimination ordinances are employment-related. As an employer you should read through the legislation and provide a workplace free from discrimination.

Currently the EOC administers 4 anti-discrimination ordinances in Hong Kong, namely:

  • the Sex Discrimination Ordinance;
  • the Disability Discrimination Ordinance;
  • the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance; and
  • the Race Discrimination Ordinance.

Intellectual Property

Your products or services may have intellectual property. Therefore, you should take the necessary steps to exploit, protect and manage intellectual property so as to reap the most of commercial values arising from its ownership.

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