Hong Kong Private Companies

Hong Kong private companies are used extensively for all sorts of purposes. They are simple, confidential and cost effective to form and in most cases they pay no tax. Hong Kong has over 1.5m registered companies with beneficial owners all over the world. Hong Kong is seen as the gateway into Asia and many companies are registered here to take advantage of trading opportunities in China and Asia generally.

Most Hong Kong companies do not pay any tax at all since taxation is only applicable to income arising in Hong Kong. There is no test of management of control and income arising from any foreign source is not taxable in Hong Kong, whether or not remitted to Hong Kong. There is no capital gains tax in Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong companies must have at least one director who is a natural person, additional directors can be natural persons or legal persons (such as other companies). There is no requirement for any director to be a resident of Hong Kong and in many cases nominee directors are used.

Hong Kong companies require a local company secretary which is provided by the local agent along with the registered office.

Hong Kong companies must have at least one shareholder who may be a legal or natural person. The identity of the shareholder is public record and for this reason nominees are widely used. 

The use of nominee shareholders and directors is normal in Hong Kong. For more information on nominee services please see our main article in the products section of the webpage. Generally nominee shareholders in Hong Kong provide a signed but undated stock transfer form to the beneficial owner allowing them to take control of the company at any time. For more information on Hong Kong nominees see our main article.

Share Capital
There is no minimum or maximum share capital in Hong Kong and capital need not be paid up. Share capital can be subscribed for cash or non-cash consideration and there is a 0.2% stamp duty payable on stock transfer.

Registered Office
Hong Kong companies require a registered address in Hong Kong which is provided by the local agent. 

Company Names
Hong Kong companies can be called almost anything in English or Chinese. There are restrictions common to most countries and offensive or duplicate names are not permitted. In all cases English names must end in 'Limited'.

Due to the fairly long formation time (about one or two weeks) shelf companies are widely used. These are preformed companies which are held dormant for clients' use. Older shelf-companies are also available to present an apparent trading history but the purchase of these attracts a premium based upon previous filing costs. 

Overseas Companies and Branches
Foreign companies can register a place of business in Hong Kong by the appointment of an authorized representative who must be a natural person resident in Hong Kong. 

Accounts and Audit
Active Hong Kong companies must prepare and file locally audited accounts but these accounts are not public record. Dormant companies (having no assets and not having commenced trading) are exempt from the requirement to prepare accounts. For more information see our main article on accounting in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is an excellent country for banking, for more information see our main article on banking in Hong Kong.