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Things to know about opening a business in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the best places to start a business. Here’s why and how you can set up a company in this city.

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Hong Kong is one of the top business-friendly countries in the world, especially since the handover of 1997 where the government started to push for a more flexible and liberal market. It is now the perfect platform in Asia that offers a dynamic environment that can help your business flourish.

With the freedom from property rights and government controls, companies can set up here with ease and without worry. Moreover, the growing number of startup companies from all over the world is definitely stimulating the economy and the innovation in Asia Pacific. As a hub in the region, many foreign companies have opted to register in Hong Kong, and the government, in return, has made it even more reasonable to do so, especially with programs that help new businesses to enter the market.

Why opening your business in Hong Kong?

If you’re planning to set up your business in Hong Kong, you’re opening your doors to international opportunities and assets, but that’s not all. At the personal level, this country has also a lot to offer.

From a professional standpoint

A window to the world

Because of its location, Hong Kong is the perfect spot to enter China, especially with its special policy “one country, two systems,” and the Asia-Pacific since Hong Kong is a global hub in Asia. Economy and language are not barriers here as English is officially spoken in most of the companies, and in all the administrative departments, the government provides.

Moreover, Hong Kong offers a wide range of talents from all over the world. You can easily tap into the workforce talent to find exactly the right one to make your business a success. The diversity in culture that’s available to your business will boost your competencies.

While Hong Kong is, most of the time, the first country foreign companies enter to develop their activities in APAC and Mainland China, it also means that it is an international place to grow your business, a window to the world, in short.

A law-friendly country to open a company

Some countries allow for easy business registration, but more often, it involves exorbitant fees and government-mandated investments. You can easily save on these setup costs when registering in Hong Kong. With the help of a legitimate agency, you can set up your company without paying over HK$10,000 (approximated US$1,200) for the first year.

While most of the agencies offer all-inclusive services, from the incorporation of the company to the opening of the bank account and the daily accounting operations, there are ways to save on the cost by traveling to Hong Kong to open a company by your own since nobody will prevent you to open your business here. Incorporation fee will be more affordable, but you will have to do the paperwork and travel to Hong Kong to open the bank account.

The government also sponsored initiatives to attract more foreign companies and startups in the country. HK Invest is one of the great ways to start getting information to launch your project in APAC.

A recognized place

Companies from all over the world are setting up in Hong Kong, from the startups to the international brands, because of its reliable system and safe avenues for business registration. Business infrastructures are able to support global needs conveniently and the country offers plenty of possibilities in terms of offices. Private offices, business centers and co-working spaces are available all over the city.

Moreover, Hong Kong ranks very high in foreign investments as it has become a convenient gateway to China and the rest of Asia. It is the key regional trade center in Asia, and as such, offers a plethora of international investment possibilities.

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From a personal standpoint

Many think that Hong Kong is just about buildings and pavements, but it’s partially true.

Actually, there is no such a place like Hong Kong. It offers a wide variety of activities:

  • Built between the buildings, with the most innovative technologies yet, the city has a strong respect of its culture and you will be amazed by this unique mix between modernity and tradition.
  • Located in the south of China, Hong Kong offers lots of opportunities thanks to its access to the sea. Water sports, island hopping, junk boat parties and the contrast between the sea, the mountains and the buildings will be your favorite activities.
  • Hong Kong is green and blue and the mountains will offer you hikes with breathtaking views. There is no good week-end without proper walks in that outstanding landscape.

Shall we also mention that Hong Kong is famous for its cuisine, from the dim-sum to the noodle soups, and that it’s also a great place to live for a family? Both health and education industries are among the most efficient in Asia-Pacific.

Hong Kong money

One of the advantages of opening a business in Hong Kong is that it has low tax rates. (Source)

How to open your company in Hong Kong?

The main advantages of Hong Kong

Opening a company is quite fast, since it takes around two weeks from the day you submit all the required documents. Apart from that, Hong Kong offers other advantages:

  • Multi-currency bank account: Because Hong Kong is an international hub, banks are used to handling multiple currencies and their systems are built for it. Having a multi-currency bank account means you can accept and pay in different currencies to save more on conversion rates and you don’t need to be a permanent resident for that. By opening a bank account in an international bank such as HSBC Hong Kong, you will also be entitled to get a business bank card that you can use worldwide.
  • Low tax rates: While corporate taxes are limited to 16.5 percent, Hong Kong business owners can benefit from tax exemptions if you do not live in the country, if you do not have goods transiting in Hong Kong, and if you do not have clients here. Note that there are also tax deductions for worldwide transactions.

Step-by-step guide to open your company in Hong Kong

Decide on your company name and structure

You first need to choose a name for your company and check the Hong Kong Companies Registry to make sure there is no duplicate since you will not be able to use a name that’s already registered.

Once you’ve chosen the name of your company, you select the right structure:

  • Limited liability
  • Branch office
  • Representative business

If you’re not sure which one is the right one for you, consult an incorporation agency like 852company.com that helps register businesses for your convenience.

Incorporate your company

The process of incorporation usually takes about four days to complete. You need to submit completed and signed incorporation forms to the Hong Kong Companies Registry and pay the associated fee.

The good news is that according to the Companies Ordinance, there is no limit (max or minimum) for declared capital.

Register your company

Once you have your incorporation papers, you may now register your business. It is a requirement to register your business at least a month before you begin operations. Do not worry though as registration only takes about 30 minutes if your documentation is all in order.

Open a bank account

There will be a minimum deposit required for any bank you decide to open an account with, but all banks will require your completed business registration. You will also need to provide contact information as it is required by law.

Choose your location

Whether you want a physical office or a virtual one, it won’t be an issue in Hong Kong. There are many locations in Hong Kong that offer a range of real estate budget as well as virtual office providers that will also take care of your mails and other secretarial services. Find the right location for you and you should be set to start operating.

As you can see, Hong Kong has a lot to offer for entrepreneurs who want to set-up their company in Asia-Pacific. Fast, convenient, affordable, great lifestyle and business opportunities are among the main benefits you will have here.

DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation for writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.

Killian Kostiha started to work on SEO in 2008, in France. He has more than 10 years experience in digital marketing and has worked in various countries (France, Spain, Bulgaria, Hong Kong). He works in Hong Kong since 2014 and was SEO manager in iProspect Hong Kong (digital marketing agency) and Lane Crawford before starting its own agency, Get Clicks, where he offers customized SEO and content marketing solutions for SMB, startups and larger groups in France and in Hong Kong.

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