Globe Capitalist / Company formation / Hong Kong

Hong Kong
Company formation

Find out how to set up a company in Hong Kong, including the requirements, process steps, opening a bank account and key considerations. Start your business journey today with a comprehensive path to starting your business in this dynamic city.

Company formation in Hong Kong: how and why to set up a company, advantages and taxes
Aereal view of hong kong's city skyline
Welcome to the thriving business landscape of Hong Kong, a global financial hub that beckons entrepreneurs with its strategic location and business-friendly environment. As an entrepreneur, you’ll find Hong Kong to be a remarkable destination for establishing your company, offering not just a favorable tax regime but also a dynamic platform for international trade and investment. Embarking on the journey of company formation in Hong Kong opens doors to a well-connected and prosperous economy. With a population of approximately 7.5 million and a strategic time zone advantage (UTC+8), Hong Kong’s allure goes beyond its stunning skyline. It boasts a multilingual community with Cantonese, English, and Mandarin as prominent languages.
Country Hong Kong
Language The most spoken languages in Hong Kong, along with their percentage values, are: – Cantonese (87.5%) – English (2.8%) – Mandarin (1.9%)
Time in Hong Kong The GMT time in Hong Kong is UTC+8.
Population The current total population in Hong Kong is approximately 7.5 million, according to the latest data from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department.
Currency The currency used in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Dollar (HKD), with the currency symbol HK$ and the three-letter code HKD.
Religion The most professed religions in Hong Kong, along with their percentage values, are: – No Religion (29.7%) – Buddhism (15.3%) – Taoism (12.1%)
Tax regime The tax regime in Hong Kong has a progressive tax rate, with the highest rate being 17%.
VAT VAT is not provided in Hong Kong.
Overage salary The average salary in Hong Kong is around HK$20,000 per month. (Source: Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, 2023)
Types of incorporations Types of companies in Hong Kong include: – Limited Company (Ltd.) – Private Limited Company (Pte. Ltd.) – Public Limited Company (Plc.)

Why opening a company in Hong Kong

Opening a company in Hong Kong is a strategic move for entrepreneurs seeking a competitive edge in the global market. The city’s well-established financial infrastructure, minimal bureaucracy, and advantageous tax policies make it an ideal destination for business expansion. For those aiming to tap into Asia’s booming markets, Hong Kong serves as a gateway that facilitates seamless trade and international transactions.


Strategic Location

Situated at the crossroads of Asia, Hong Kong offers unparalleled access to mainland China and other key markets. This geographical advantage is pivotal for businesses aiming to establish a regional presence.

Tax Benefits

Hong Kong’s simple and low-tax regime ensures that businesses retain a significant portion of their profits. With no VAT and a progressive tax rate, entrepreneurs enjoy a favorable financial landscape.

Business-Friendly Environment

Hong Kong’s commitment to free trade, intellectual property protection, and efficient regulations creates a nurturing environment for startups and established companies alike.


Competitive Market

While Hong Kong’s business ecosystem is thriving, the competition can be intense. Companies need to differentiate themselves to stand out in the competitive landscape.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Hong Kong can be relatively high, affecting both businesses and employees. This factor needs to be considered while planning budgets.

Market Saturation

Certain industries in Hong Kong, such as finance and real estate, are well-established, leading to market saturation. New entrants may need to find innovative ways to carve out a niche.


Hong Kong operates under a territorial tax system, meaning that only income derived from within Hong Kong is subject to taxation. Businesses enjoy a corporate tax rate that is one of the lowest globally, fostering a business-friendly environment that encourages investment and entrepreneurship.

Company types in Hong Kong

Limited Company (Ltd.)

Type Cost of Incorporation Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Limited Company (Ltd.) Varies based on requirements No minimum requirement Subject to the progressive tax rate
As the most common business structure, a Limited Company in Hong Kong offers liability protection and ease of transferability of shares.

Private Limited Company (Pte. Ltd.)

Type Cost of Incorporation Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Private Limited Company (Pte. Ltd.) Varies based on requirements No minimum requirement Subject to the progressive tax rate
This incorporation type limits the number of shareholders and offers enhanced privacy for company affairs.

Public Limited Company (Plc.)

Type Cost of Incorporation Minimum Share Capital Taxes
Public Limited Company (Plc.) Higher costs due to regulatory requirements Minimum share capital of HKD 50,000 Subject to the progressive tax rate
A Plc. in Hong Kong can offer shares to the public and is suitable for larger-scale operations.

VAT in Hong Kong

VAT is not provided in Hong Kong, contributing to the simplicity of the tax system and making it more appealing for businesses.

Common questions

How can I protect my company's intellectual property in Hong Kong?

Safeguarding your company’s intellectual property is a paramount consideration in Hong Kong. To secure your creative and innovative assets, you can register trademarks, patents, and designs with the Intellectual Property Department. By obtaining legal protection, you fortify your company’s competitiveness and ensure its unique contributions remain exclusive. These registrations grant legal exclusivity, preserving your innovations and creations.

What role does a nominee director play in Hong Kong company formation?

A nominee director serves a specific legal function in Hong Kong’s corporate landscape. Often appointed to fulfill the requirement of having a local director, the nominee director may not be actively engaged in the company’s day-to-day operations. Instead, their role primarily pertains to compliance matters, ensuring adherence to regulatory norms and legal obligations.

Are there restrictions on foreign ownership of companies in Hong Kong?

No, there are no restrictions on foreign ownership of companies in Hong Kong. The city’s business environment is characterized by openness and inclusivity, making it highly favorable for both local and international entrepreneurs. Foreign individuals and entities are free to establish and fully own companies in Hong Kong without facing any discriminatory barriers or limitations. This policy of unrestricted foreign ownership has contributed to Hong Kong’s reputation as a global business hub, attracting a diverse range of investors and businesses from around the world. Whether you are an individual entrepreneur or a foreign corporation looking to expand your operations, Hong Kong offers an attractive and welcoming platform to realize your business aspirations.

What are the pivotal financial regulations for companies in Hong Kong?

For companies in Hong Kong, adherence to key financial regulations is paramount. These regulations encompass maintaining meticulous accounting records, conducting annual audits, and fulfilling reporting obligations. Upholding these financial standards ensures transparency, accountability, and trustworthiness in your business operations.

Can I change my company's registered address post incorporation?

Flexibility in administrative matters is attainable in Hong Kong. Should the need arise, you can indeed change your company’s registered address post incorporation. Initiating this change involves notifying the Companies Registry and updating your official records to reflect the new address effectively.

What funding avenues are available for startups in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem offers an array of funding options to fuel entrepreneurial ambitions. From angel investors and venture capital firms to government grants and crowdfunding platforms, diverse avenues exist for startups to secure the necessary financial backing for their innovative endeavors.
  1. Angel Investors: Angel investors are high-net-worth individuals who provide capital to startups in exchange for equity. They often bring valuable industry experience, mentorship, and networking opportunities to the table.
  2. Venture Capital Firms: Venture capital (VC) firms invest in startups in exchange for equity. Hong Kong has a growing number of VC firms specializing in various sectors, such as technology, healthcare, and finance.
  3. Government Grants and Subsidies: The Hong Kong government offers grants and subsidies to support startups in areas such as research and development, innovation, and technology adoption. Programs like the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) provide financial assistance for eligible projects.
  4. Startup Incubators and Accelerators: Incubators and accelerators provide startups with not only funding but also mentorship, workspace, and access to a network of experts and investors. These programs help startups accelerate their growth and development.
  5. Crowdfunding Platforms: Crowdfunding platforms allow startups to raise capital from a broad pool of individual investors. This method can be an effective way to validate your business concept and engage with early adopters.
  6. Corporate Partnerships: Collaborating with established corporations can provide startups with funding, resources, and market access. Many large companies have established innovation labs or accelerator programs to work closely with startups.
  7. Bank Loans and Financial Institutions: Traditional bank loans and financial institutions offer financing options for startups, including working capital loans and lines of credit. Collateral and creditworthiness are typically considerations.
  8. Private Equity: Private equity investments involve funding from institutional investors or high-net-worth individuals. These investments can be tailored to meet the specific growth needs of startups.
  9. International Investors: Hong Kong’s global connectivity attracts international investors looking to invest in startups with growth potential. Networking and participation in industry events can help connect with these investors.
  10. Seed Funding Competitions: Participating in startup competitions can provide not only funding but also exposure and validation. Many organizations and institutions host competitions to identify promising startups.

Can a foreigner start a business in Hong Kong?

Absolutely, Hong Kong’s welcoming environment extends to foreign entrepreneurs. There are no restrictions on foreign ownership, allowing individuals and entities from around the world to establish and operate businesses in the city.

What is the role of a company secretary in Hong Kong?

A company secretary assumes a critical role in maintaining regulatory compliance, record-keeping, and facilitating effective communication between directors and shareholders. Their expertise ensures smooth operations and adherence to legal obligations.

How long does it take to incorporate a company in Hong Kong?

The incorporation process typically takes around 5 to 7 business days, contingent on the timely submission of accurate documentation. Engaging professional services can expedite the process.

Can I relocate my existing company to Hong Kong?

Yes, through redomiciliation, you can transfer your company’s registration to Hong Kong. This showcases the city’s adaptability in accommodating businesses from diverse jurisdictions.
Company formation in Hong Kong: how and why to set up a company, advantages and taxes

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