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I’m running a small business in Hong Kong.

Do I need to register my business?

Any people who are carrying businesses in Hong Kong (generally any business activities which is intended for profit and gain but not under employment), they MUST register their business to government.

Nationality of the business owner is not restricted, the registration process is named “Business Registration” which is regulated by Business Registration Office (BRO) of Inland Revenue Department (IRD).

After successful application, a “Business Registration Certificate” is issued for a business entity

“Business Registration Certificate” are served as a certificate of doing business in Hong Kong within a stated valid period. The certificate must be displayed in the place of business for others to see.

These registrations are compulsory to business owners. Any person who fails to apply for business registration shall be guilty of an offense and shall be liable to a fine of HK$5,000 and to imprisonment for 1 year according to Business Registration Ordinance.

If you are going to register a Hong Kong private limited company, you can skip this article because business registration is done already on your company registration.

Business Registration of Sole-Proprietorship or Partnership

Hong Kong has various business entities for doing business, we have made a comparison for you.

For people doing business in sole-proprietorship and partnership (people may refer this kind of business as “unlimited company”, an opposite of limited company), they must apply for business registration within one month after the beginning of the business. Keep in mind that any early submission before the beginning date of business is not accepted, please apply the registration once the business begin, the application without proof of commencing business will be rejected by BRO.

However, the Limited Company must complete the Business Registration and company registration at the same time.

Except approval is granted by Hong Kong Immigration Department, visitors to Hong Kong are not allowed to carry or join in any business in Hong Kong because it is a violation of Immigration Ordinance. As a result, non-Hong Kong residence are NOT allowed to apply for Business Registration of Sole Proprietorship and Partnership.

Entrepreneurs who is non-Hong Kong residence (i.e. visitor) should incorporate a body corporate for business instead.

Only Hong Kong residents can register sole-proprietorship and parthership in Hong Kong, so Hong Kong Limited Company is the only optional for expats.

Required Documents

The owner of Sole Proprietorship and all partner of Partnership have to provide the copy of each owner’s Hong Kong identity card for registration. If the applicants are non-Hong Kong resident, the copy of his passport or identity card issued by the relevant government authority is needed.

The maximum no. of partners (including limited partners) should not exceed 20 people.

Application Form

The business owners must complete the prescribed application form provided by Business Registration Office (BRO) of Inland Revenue Department (IRD), the forms can be obtained from the office.

Alternatively, the applicants can complete the form IRBR194, or write a letter with name and returning Hong Kong address and return to BRO by post or fax (+852)28241482 stating the corresponding form required. The application form will be return from BRO to the respective returning address.

Download copy of Application Form  MUST NOT be used for submission of application. Only forms that are printed by and according to the specifications of the BRO are acceptable for application purposes.

Online application is available to registered user of Hong Kong Government eTAX services offered by IRD, for more details, please visit here.

If the owner/all partners/the principal officer is/are not residing in Hong Kong, he/she has/they have to appoint a resident individual as his/her/their agent for the purposes of business registration. In that case, please complete and submit the form IRBR177 or submit an appointment letter stating the full particulars of the agent including his/her name, Hong Kong identity card number and residential address. A copy of his/her Hong Kong identity card must also be attached to the application.

Download copy of Application Form MUST NOT be used for submission of application. Only forms that are printed by and according to the specifications of the BRO are acceptable for application purposes.

Application Form for Application of Business/Branch Registration
Unincorporated bodies
Sole ProprietorshipForm 1(a)
PartnershipFrom 1(c)
Representative OfficeFrom 1(c)
BranchFrom 1(d)
Incorporated bodie
CompanyForm 1(b)

We can find the specimen of application form in here.

Business Name

We give names to the items we own so as the business owner can register Business Name for his firm.In Hong Kong, both English and Traditional Chinese and legal language for Business Name.

A firm’s name can be in either format:

  • have only a Traditional Chinese name; or
  • only a English name; or
  • both a Chinese name and an English name.

The following situation in Business Name are not allowed:

  • For unincorporated firms, a name that will cause people to think that business is incorporated with limited liability when it is not.
  • A name which cause people to think that business has a connection with the Government or any public body when it does not.

Do you need an extra business name of your business entities?

The owner can follows registration of a Branch for which to register an extra business name of their company. It is legal that register more than a business entity can hold more than one Business Name, each additional business name will be treated as a Branch of the business.

Business Nature

A business entity is not required to stick with doing a specific business which is submitted during registration, so the field Business Nature may be seen as a general description for others to know your firm.

However, certain kind of specific industries in Hong Kong are regulated by others laws, the use of them in Business Nature requires extra proof of business.

Here is some of our suggestion of general businesses in Hong Kong

  • Trading. Buy-and-sell of goods
  • Consultation. Non-professional services

We would suggest “leave it in blank” if the business is widely diversified.

Government fee and levy

There are two types of Business/Branch Registration Certificate:

  • 1-year certificate
  • 3-year certificate.

For a new business of Sole Proprietorship and Partnership and new business of Branch, the commencement date of its first registration certificate is its date of commencement of business, not the date of application for Business/Branch Registration.

For renewal of certificates, the amount payable is determined by reference to the commencement date of the relevant renewal certificate.

BRO (IRD) Fee & Levy of Business/Branch Registration
1-year certificate (HK$)3-year certificate (HK$)
Business Registration Certificate2250-5950-
Branch Registration Certificate323-939-

Submission of Application Form

  • Submit in person to the Business Registration Office at 4/F Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
  • By post to P.O. Box 29015, Gloucester Road Post Office, Hong Kong.
  • Submit online (for sole-proprietorship, partnership and branch registration only) via registered user of eTAX.

Collection of Business Registration Certificate

  • In person to the New Application Counter at Business Registration Office, it should be issued within 30 minutes of receipt of properly completed application.
  • By post or via GovHK (for local residential), it should be issued within 2 working days of receipt of properly completed application.

For Company and Representative Office, collection of Business Registration along with Certificate of Incorporation (for company) and Certificate of Registration of Non-Hong Kong Company (for Representative Office) is done in CR (address is here) because of One-stop Company and Business Registration jointly launched by companies registry and Business Registration Office.