There are many reasons why a business may want to expand into an offshore office, quite different from the usual narrative of tax evasion. Today, the Asian market offers technology and services that are unrivalled in the world, and an offshore company can be ideal for conducting international trade, for investment as well as asset protection.
Setting up an offshore company in Hong Kong is quite straightforward. Hong Kong’s low tax regime, absence of foreign exchange controls, and political and economic stability offers offshore companies a business haven.
You can register a new company in Hong Kong, or purchase an already existing shelf company. In this article, we tell you how to register a company with a simple step-by-step procedure, to help you start the next chapter for your business venture.
Step 1: File an application with the Companies Registry for your Hong Kong company name approval.
Step 2: Submit the incorporation documents to the Companies Registry. Your checklist here includes:
- Hong Kong Incorporation application form
- Hong Kong offshore company’s Articles
- Copy of passport, proof of overseas residence, reference letter from the bank (for non-resident shareholders or directors)
Copy of Hong Kong identity card (for Hong Kong resident shareholders or directors)
- Copy of parent company registration documents (for corporate shareholders)
There can be any number of Directors and up to 50 shareholders. A sole director can be a shareholder as well. Appointing a Company Secretary is mandated by Hong Kong law – please refer to the Hong Kong Company Setup Guide for more specifications.
It can take between 4-7 working days for the application to be processed and for the Hong Kong offshore company to be incorporated.
Step 3: Within 14 days of the Hong Kong incorporation, you must submit the following documents to the Companies Registry:
- Appointment notification of Directors and Secretary
- Consent to act as Director
- Registered address notification
- Other documents, as requested by the Companies Registry
Step 4: Open a corporate bank account. You can choose from local banks such as HSBC, Hang Seng Bank and Bank of East Asia, according to your banking needs. Other factors to consider include the reputation of the bank, services offered, minimum deposit, availability of future support such as loans and trade financing and monthly fees.
Offshore companies need to submit a Certificate of Incumbency and Certificate of Good Standing in addition to the usual documents.
Step 5: Obtain a Business Registration Certificate. For this, you must register with the Inland Revenue Department within one month of the Hong Kong incorporation.
Step 6: Apply for Business Licenses (if applicable). If your business activities require a license, you have to obtain the required ones before you start business operations.
Operations such as dealing and advising on securities, future contracts, foreign exchange trading, providing automated trading services, security margin financing and asset management services require a license. For a complete list, please visit the Business Licenses guide.
Please note the below compliance requirements for Hong Kong businesses, which includes an annual audit of company accounts (Form NAR1).
Maintaining compliance is essential for keeping your business legitimate and up-and-running. You must intimate the Companies Registry of any changes to the company and its members, file annual returns, and file tax returns with the Inland Revenue Department. Maintain company records, accounting records and all other business documents, and renew your business registration certificates as required.
You can also hire a professional agency like Ocfam to register your business and keep up with the compliance rules.
If you follow the steps we’ve mentioned, your business should be up and running in no time without any hassles or complications.
Get started today
As a leading licensing and consulting firm in Asia and Asian Pacific region, Ocfam is committed to offer the support you need to incorporate an offshore Hong Kong company. Right from collecting the required documents to obtaining the Hong Kong approval of name for your business, to filing paperwork, we assist you at all stages. Moreover, we can help you open a bank account, get your business licenses, and handle the company’s ongoing compliances.
Looking to register an offshore company in Hong Kong? Get in touch with us for a free initial consultation. Call our support team to get started with the process today!