How to Set Up a Limited Company and a Business Bank Account in Hong Kong

Must Read For Business Starters! Processes, Requirements and Fees to Set Up a Limited Company in Hong Kong. Limited Company Bank Account Application Explained.

How to Set Up a Limited Company and a Business Bank Account in Hong Kong

The process of setting up a limited company in Hong Kong: it generally takes 4 working days1 to obtain a Certificate of Incorporation and a Business Registration Certificate for a company limited by shares, and within an hour1, at the earliest, to receive an e-Certificate for a private company limited by shares. But even if you already possess a comprehensive business plan, you still need to register your business and open a bank account for your limited company. Not sure where to start? Read on to learn about the procedures of opening a business bank account, the application requirements and fees, and exactly how to set up a business account for a limited company.

Limited Company Set Up Process –  Step 1: Choose Between Setting Up a Limited Company By Shares or By Guarantee

Before deciding to set up a company, you can first learn about two company models, so you can choose the company type that suits you. The liability of members of a company limited by share is limited by the articles of association to the amount unpaid on the shares respectively held by them1. A company limited by guarantee has no share capital, and the legal liability of members is limited by the articles of association to the amount that the members respectively undertake to contribute to the assets of the company in the event of its being wound up1.  

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Limited Company Set Up Process – Step 2: Decide on a Company Name

When choosing a company name, apart from personal preferences, it is also necessary  to check the free online “Guideline on Registration of Company Names for Hong Kong Companies” (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/services/change-company-name.htm), kept by the Cyber Search Centre (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.icris.cr.gov.hk/csci/) of the Companies Registry, to ensure that the name has never been used by other companies. The company name can be in English or Chinese, or you can simultaneously submit a set of English and Chinese names2. However, a combination of English words or letters with Chinese characters in a company name is not permitted2.

Additionally, the use of the term “Bank”2 in a company’s name without the consent of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is strictly prohibited. Other wordings, such as “Chamber of Commerce”, “Kaifong”, “Levy”, “Savings”, etc. can only be used with the approval of the Registrar2. In the case of finding another company name that is registered after the incorporation of your limited company is similar to yours, you may lodge an objection with the Registrar of Companies3.

Limited Company Set Up Process – Step 3: Submit Documents and An Application Form

The Companies Registry accepts paper applications or electronic applications submitted through the 24-hour e-Registry platform (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.eregistry.gov.hk/icris-ext/apps/por01a/index?locale=en_US&m=n). The required documents include an Incorporation Form NNC1 or NNC1G, the company's Articles of Association (available in simplified form on "e-Registry" (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.eregistry.gov.hk/icris-ext/apps/por01a/index?locale=en_US&m=n)), and a Notice to Business Registration Office (IRBR1). All the aforementioned forms can be obtained online4.

Please note that all required information needs to be filled in consistently in either Chinese or English. If the application form is completed in Chinese, Traditional Chinese characters should be used. Handwritten application forms may be rejected by the Companies Registry5. Therefore, if the applicant decides to submit paper forms, he/she may choose to download the relevant forms (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/form.htm) as a Word file or as an editable PDF file to input data and complete the forms on the computer, and then print them out for submission.  Submit the required documents with the required fees to this Companies Registry Address: 14/F, High Block, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Admiralty6

Limited Company Set Up Process –  Step 4:Obtain Certificates and Done! 

Set up limited company Process:Obtain Certificates and Done!

The Certificate of Incorporation and the Business Registration Certificate can be issued to applicants of electronic applications within 1 hour1 at the earliest, and the printed certificates can generally be issued within 4 working days1. After successfully obtaining these documents, the company owner can apply for other needed licenses or permits, such as a Temporary Food Factory Licence from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department or a trademark from the Trademark Registry7, managed by the Intellectual Property Department. To find out more about the licensing requirements of various industries, please visit the Business Licensing Information Service Website (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.success.tid.gov.hk/tid/eng/blics/index.jsp) of the Trade and Industry Department’s Support and Consultation Centre for SMEs. 

Conditions and Fees for Setting Up a Limited Company

When setting up a limited company in Hong Kong, you should consider whether you can meet the relevant requirements and conditions, and fulfil your obligations simultaneously. 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 Companies8. Besides, the registered office must be situated in Hong Kong9.
 
The fees to set up a limited company by shares mainly consist of two parts. The first component is an application fee, payable to the Companies Registry. For electronic applications, the fee is HK$1,54510 or HK$1,72010 for applications by post. If the application is rejected, a refund of HK$1,28010 for applications delivered in electronic forms or HK$1,42510 for applications delivered in hard copy forms can be applied for, respectively. The second component is the business registration fee and levy paid to the Inland Revenue Department, which amounts to a total of HK$2,15010 for a one-year certificate and a total of HK$5,65010 for a three-year certificate. Click here (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/services/fees.htm) for more details of the fees for major services of the Companies Registry. 

How To Apply For a Business Bank Account for a Limited Company?

How To Apply For a Business Bank Account for a Limited Company?

The next step after successfully obtaining the Certificate of Incorporation and the Business Registration Certificate is to open a bank account for your limited company for managing accounts, auditing, processing transactions, filing tax returns on time and for account reviewing purposes, etc. The company’s shareholder(s) can fill in the application form to open a bank account online and submit the required documents. Click here now to open business bank account online with DBS. 

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Article published on 19 July, 2023

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1Source: Companies Registry - How to register a new company? (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/services/register-company.htm)
2Source: Companies Registry - How to change a company’s name? (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/services/change-company-name.htm) & “Guideline on Registration of Company Names for Hong Kong Companies” (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/companies_ordinance/docs/Guide_RegCompName-e.pdf)
3Source: Companies Registry - FAQ #12 (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/faq/local-company/company-name.htm)
4Source: Companies Registry - How to register a new company? (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/services/register-company.htm)
5Source: Companies Registry - New Inspection Regime - External Circulars (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/legislation/nir/external-circular.htm) & Companies Registry External Circular No. 6 / 2022 (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/publications/docs/ec6-2022-e.pdf)
6Source: Companies Registry at Queensway Government Offices (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/about/contact/office-addresses-service-hours.htm)
7Source: Business Licence Information Service (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.success.tid.gov.hk/tid/eng/blics/index.jsp)
8Source: Companies Registry - Compliance - Your Obligations (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/compliance/obligations.htm)
9Source: Companies Registry FAQ - Local Limited Companies - Incorporation #9 (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/faq/local-company/incorporation.htm)
10Source: Companies Registry, Major Fees under the Companies Ordinance (https://www.dbs.com.hk/sme/disclaimer.page?url=https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/services/fees.htm)
11DBS has won the following awards in 2022: “Best Bank in Hong Kong” and “World’s Best SME Bank” at Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence 2022, “ “Hong Kong’s Best International Bank” at Asia Money’s Best Bank Awards 2022 (Hong Kong), “Best International Bank (Hong Kong)” at FinanceAsia’s 2022 Country Awards, and “Bank of the Year” at Bloomberg Businessweek’s Financial Institution Awards 2022.
12Subject to eligibility and conditions.
13The offer is subject to terms and conditions. 

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