Your guide to starting a business in Hong Kong

Panna Kemenes

Hong Kong can be a great choice for starting your company. The global leader in business and banking comes with a multitude of benefits.

Opening a business in Hong Kong is relatively easy and cost-effective. As a foreigner, you can own 100% of your business in Hong Kong, and you may be the sole director and shareholder. Hong Kong is also a great gateway for establishing your business in China or other Asian nations.

Read on to learn more about the processes, timing, and fees for starting a business in Hong Kong. You can also learn about using Wise Business to send and receive payments from Hong Kong with ease.


What types of companies are there in Hong Kong?

Opening a foreign business in Hong Kong is generally restricted to one business type: a Limited company. However, if you already have a business elsewhere, there are a couple of other options.

Limited Company

A limited company is the most common business type in Hong Kong. Since it’s officially incorporated in HK, you’ll enjoy all the same tax benefits as resident entrepreneurs do, including the free trade agreement with China.

Branch Office

If your company is already registered somewhere else, you can open a branch office in Hong Kong. This type of office is not independent from its parent company, and comes with a distinct set of limitations.

Representative Office

A representative office is the most limited way to establish a presence in HK. Representative offices can’t be engaged in any profit-making activities, meaning you may not make or sell goods or services in Hong Kong.

This type of office is best if you’re planning to open an office for a non-sales-based branch of your company, like support or marketing staff.

The remainder of this guide will focus on limited companies.

What's the process for choosing a name for my business?

Before you can begin company registration in Hong Kong, you’ll need to choose a name and ensure that it is legally available. You can find a full list of Hong Kong’s registered company names online, via the Companies Registry.

What's the process for opening my business in Hong Kong?

The process for opening a business in Hong Kong is fairly simple, as outlined below:

Apply for incorporation online through Hong Kong’s 24-hour Companies E-registry.

For incorporating a company in Hong Kong you’ll need:

  1. Incorporation form or form NNC1 (you can download the NNC1 form online)
  2. A Notice to the Business Registration Office, or form IRBR1 (you can also download the IRBR1 form)
  3. A copy of your company’s Articles of Association

Apply for business registration

When you apply for incorporation, you’ll also be automatically applying for business registration.

For that step, you’ll need:

  1. Your business registration fee - Generally HK$2000 for one year or HK$5200 for three years¹
  2. Levy to the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund - HK$250 for one year or HK$750 for three years¹

Pay registration fees with Wise

How long does it take to open a HK business?

If you’re planning to register a company in Hong Kong online, you’re in luck! Assuming all your documents are in order, and you’re approved, the process can be completed in under an hour. This includes getting your Certificate of Incorporation and Business Registration Certificate.

If you mail your documents, you can expect your Certificate of Incorporation and Business Registration Certificate to be issued within four days.

What about a bank account?

One thing you'll need to do to get your business started is open a bank account in Hong Kong so that you can start funding your venture.

The process is fairly straightforward for personal bank accounts, although opening a business bank account requires a bit more paperwork. Using an alternative solution, such as a Wise Business account, can save you time and money.

The Wise Business account. For business without borders.

Old-world bank accounts only work properly in one country. They hold money only in one currency. And it gets expensive when you try to use them across borders. The Wise Business account solves all of this.

Wise is not a bank, but a Money Services Business (MSB) provider and a smart alternative to banks. The Wise Business account is designed with international business in mind, and makes it easy to send, hold, and manage business funds in 40+ currencies. You can get major currency account details for a one-off fee to receive overseas payments like a local. You can also Send money to 160+ countries. All this within one account.

Read the guide on how to open a Wise Business account

Now you can send, receive and organize your money internationally, without crazy fees or exchange rates. Just a small, fair charge when your money moves between currencies.

Manage your Hong Kong
business finances with ease:
Discover Wise Business

You can exchange USD for Hong Kong dollars at the mid-market rate, and then hold, manage, and spend from your Wise account.

Where can I find more resources to help me?

If you have further questions about how to set up a business in Hong Kong, the Government of Hong Kong's Resource to Setting up Your Business has all the necessary information for getting registered.


  1. Business Registration Fee and Levy Table

Sources checked March 23, 2022.

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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