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Hong Kong: Types of Company

Branch of Overseas Company

Overseas companies starting businesses in Hong Kong can form a private company limited by shares, as above, or can simply establish a branch.

When a company incorporated outside Hong Kong establishes a place of business in Hong Kong, it must lodge the following documents with the Registrar of Companies:

  • A Certified copy of its charter or memorandum and articles of association;
  • Particulars of directors and the company secretary;
  • Name and address of a resident of Hong Kong authorised to accept notices on behalf of the company;
  • Power of attorney or other document appointing a Hong Kong representative;
  • Address of principal place of business in Hong Kong and addresses of registered office and principal place of business in the company's country of incorporation; and 
  • A Certified copy of the certificate of incorporation.

The company is also required to file a copy of its financial statements once a year. However, an application may be made to the Registrar of Companies who may grant exemption from filing accounts based on certain criteria and the production of prescribed documents.

A branch office is relatively easy to set up but is open to greater potential liability than a limited company since it is not treated in Hong Kong law as a separate legal entity.

In some countries, branches have tax advantages as against limited companies, for a foreign parent, but not in Hong Kong: the territorial basis of taxation means that the branch will be taxed exactly as a limited company, on Hong Kong-source income (see Domestic Corporate Taxation).



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