Registering a trading company in Hong Kong follows a similar process to registering any other type of company. There are some basic steps to register a trading company in Hong Kong:

1. Choose a Company Name and Structure: Select an exclusive name for your trading enterprise and determine its structure. The majority of trading companies are registered as private companies limited by shares in Hong Kong.

2. Engage a Corporate Services Provider or a Law Firm: While it’s possible to handle the registration process on your own, it’s often beneficial to engage a corporate services provider or a law firm experienced in Hong Kong company registration. They can guide you through the process, ensure compliance, and expedite registration.

3. Gather Required Documents: Prepare the necessary documents for registration, which typically include:

  • Incorporation form NNC1
  • A duplicate of the company’s Articles of Association
  • A notification to the Business Registration Office (IRBR1)
  • For non-residents of Hong Kong: a photocopy of their passport and proof of residential address
  • For Hong Kong residents: a photocopy of their HKID and proof of residential address

The Companies Registry is the governing body responsible for the registration of companies. The registration documents can be submitted either electronically through the e-Registry or CR eFiling mobile application or in hard copy

4. Collect Certificates: Upon approval of your application, you will receive both the Certificate of Incorporation and the Business Registration Certificate. The method you used to submit the registration documents (whether electronically or in hard copy) will determine how you can obtain these certificates, as they will be collected in the same manner.

5. Obtain necessary licenses and permits: Depending on the nature of your business and the products or services it offers, you may need to acquire specific permits and/or import/export licenses. You can find more details on the required licenses and permits in the Licensing & Permits section of GovHK and the Business License Information Service.

6. Open a business bank account: When setting up a business in Hong Kong, it is advisable to open a dedicated business bank account. There is a range of international and local banks offering various products and services tailored to different business needs. You can find more information on how to open a business bank account in Hong Kong in our previously published article.

7. Taxation considerations: Hong Kong operates on a territorial basis for taxation, meaning that only profits earned within Hong Kong are subject to the territory’s profits tax. Under the two-tiered profits tax regime, incorporated companies are charged 8.25% on the first HKD 2 million of profits and 16.5% on any remaining profits. Currently, there are no capital gains tax, dividend withholding tax, or VAT/GST.

8. Annual compliance obligations: To maintain your company’s compliance, you need to take several actions, including:

  • Conduct an annual audit of accounts by a Hong Kong Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
  • File the annual return with the Companies Registry.
  • Renew the Business Registration Certificate annually or once every three years (a month before its expiry).
  • Hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) every financial year.

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