Articles

Benefits of Setting Up a Company in Hong Kong

By Will Elton, Last updated: 2021-06-03 (originally published on 2020-08-20)

Photo by Unknown Wong on Unsplash

Much of Hong Kong’s appeal as a potential business destination can be attributed to the ease of setting up a business here. Online applications for incorporating and registering a business can be processed within one hour. If you are already in Hong Kong, the entire incorporation procedure can be completed in less than a week. Visitors to Hong Kong can stay up to 180 days without a Visa ( varies by nationality), and directors can be of any nationality.

Here is a handy chart filled with some of the myriad benefits to setting up shop in the 852:

Benefits of Setting Up a Company in Hong Kong

No need for a local Director or Shareholder

This minimises your costs and simplifies management. For example, Singapore and Australia require a local resident Director who will then be part of the decision making procedures and wish to see books and records etc.
Other countries in SE Asia require either a local partner or entire local ownership.
Hong Kong does not have these requirements. 

English common law system

The legal framework is very familiar to those coming from the US and UK. The law is written in English and so easy to navigate. 

Best route to China

It’s location and political system ensure that either buying or selling into China is easier with a HK company. 

Agreements such as the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) and the Greater Bay Area initiative demonstrate this. 

Freedom of capital

The company can have several bank accounts, in different currencies and in different locations. There are no restrictions on movement of capital. 

An RMB bank account may be set up to facilitate trade with China. 

Territorial taxation, and a low rate if taxed. 

Hong Kong uses the territorial source principle of taxation, in which profits made outside of Hong Kong are tax-free. 

Many online sellers pay 0% tax as their profits are not made in Hong Kong. 

Revenue created inside Hong Kong and taxed at around 16.5%. There are large numbers of allowances and deductions possible. 

There is no VAT or GST on sales. 

No capital gain tax

There is no capital gains tax in Hong Kong. A Hong Kong company selling it’s assets )ie intellectual property) will not pay tax on the profits of this sale. 

Simple Corporate Structure

A Limited Company has no minimum capital requirement, can be set up very quickly, and changes such as a capital increase can happen very quickly

Intellectual Property protection

Intellectual Property registration, and enforcement of rights, is protected by Hong Kong law and straightforward. 

   

Regular Use Cases for Hong Kong companies:

  • Online reseller (ie ebay etc) for European owners
  • Trading company between Asia and Europe (ie garment, medical)
  • IP Holding Company (ie for Fintech)
  • Professional Services for Asia clients
  • Employment company for international business (ie air travel, cruise ships)
  • Asset holding company (ie for international families)

Support

The tax rate mentioned above of 16.5 per cent, is one of the world’s lowest. Business owners file their own tax returns with little audit interference from the government.

Further, Hong Kong has committed to support the startup and small business community. Measures introduced include the waiver of business registration fees and subsidies for use of technological services and solutions to improve productivity and upgrade business processes.

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

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READ MORE: Step by Step to Incorporating a Company in Hong Kong

 

Tags: Hong Kong | SME | startups | tax | z-syndicate

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