Are you struggling with setting up a HK company or other offshore company like Seychelles, BVI, Marshall Islands, Cayman Islands, etc.? That’s right, here we will give you some important clues to examine which type of entity is the right fit for you.
 

 

In fact, there could be plenty of obscure elements that people might easily neglect - it is not only about which type of company you are going to form but also what kind of business activities your firm will involve, where will these activities host, where will your profits generate from and do you need a HK bank account, etc. Let us show you an interesting case study for you to dig deeper :

 

[Based on Client’s Life Experience]

Alec (alias) is a start-up founder of a tech company that is based in the UK. He first came to us because he and his partner would like to set up their business here in HK as a gateway to open their potential Asian market. His big question is he is kind of wavering between a HK limited company vs. other offshore company as his final choice, therefore we came across the following questions with him to guide him through the decision making process :

*Q1 : “Does your business have any (and we meant ANY) activities that would take place in HK?”

 >> Answer: If your business does NOT hold any activity or does NOT have any profits generated here in HK (e.g. your sales contracts should be negotiated and concluded with suppliers outside the city), this kind of business operated wholly outside HK could be suitable to get registered in offshore jurisdictions like Seychelles or BVI, with different well-known merits like easier to achieve privacy protection, no restriction on director, etc., although they do have manifest weaknesses such as flimsy impression your clients might get. However, if your business has some kind of involvement in HK, then we would recommend you to set up a HK company, as any profit-generating activities in HK will be liable to HK Profits Tax and it is the owner’s obligation to report to the HK Inland Revenue Department (IRD). Forming a HK limited entity would be more suitable if so.

For Alec’s case, he predicted most likely his business would be operated completely outside HK, but since he knew HK company earns a higher reputation standing compared with other offshore jurisdictions, he preferred to start a HK entity. He also learned from us that it’d be easier for a HK firm to enter into China market with CEPA benefits available

 

*Q2 : “Do you need to open a bank account in HK?”

>> Answer: Same as many other international businessmen, Alec loved HK’s stable monetary system a lot, and he’d like to make use of its well established, secured financial infrastructure and free flow of capital to help his business grow (also serves as a perfect spot to receive multi-currency payment from clients especially when he planned to develop the business in mainland cities at a later stage). That’s why we had recommended him to establish a HK company in order to facilitate the bank account opening process, as based on our experience over these years, the opening success rate is relatively higher if you own a local company, particularly for foreign entrepreneurs. 

 

*Q3 : “How your tax arrangements would be?”

>> Answer: This is a question you MUST pay attention to! As known, an offshore entity is easier to get tax exemption if the business is completely operated offshore. It is also not required to prepare audited financial reports generally. Whilst in HK, the corporate Profits Tax rate is 16.5% on average, though it is a very low rate among the global market. One point you might need to keep in mind is that if you find all your profits are not derived from HK after your HK company has operated for some time, you can apply for Offshore Claim to try getting tax exemption in HK.

Alec did that after his company had operated for around 1.5 years. Since we were appointed as his tax representative, our tax specialists were able to help him handle all tax reporting issues in HK (including but not limited to the filing of Profits Tax Return when his firm’s tax exemption status was not granted yet) as well as the Offshore Claim to the IRD. Actually, once an Offshore Claim is filed, the IRD would request much more detailed information, and the applicant needed to be very well prepared for answering those questions within the given time period. Freeing our client’s hassles, we’ll manage the whole application process including all correspondence with the IRD to provide the appropriate information and data that they require.

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All in all, BRIDGES’s mission is to help our international clients like Alec to pick the most suitable vehicle for their business here, thus their company would be able to maximise its profits and efficiency while saving unnecessary cost and time.

The above three questions are some significant ones for you to examine yourself, yet there are always exceptional cases so you can always check with our advisors for more guidance before you decide which entity type to go for. Give us a call at +852 2159 9666 or email info@bridges.hk for a thorough consultation. 

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With the pandemic turmoil of the European and American economy, many global businessmen have pivoted to explore further in Asian countries. Among the different choices, Hong Kong is always the one winning entrepreneurs’ hearts. Wanna know the reasons behind?!
 

 

Easy Procedure

Forming a HK limited company is very straightforward, especially if you're doing it with a professional service provider. BRIDGES team has served countless start-ups and SMEs in setting up their company with our all-in-one package (no hidden costs at all) for 19 years. Let us share a few tips and you will find establishing your own company has never been easier.

 

STEP 1: Collecting the required documents (please refer to the list below) for registration at the HK Companies Registry :

There are 2 types of Required Documents:

Type I. If the Director / Shareholder is an individual:

> Copy of all Directors & Shareholders’ passports / HKID

> Copy of all Directors & Shareholders’ addresses proof

* The Director & Shareholder can be the same person, which means it only takes 1 person to complete the process.

Type II. If the Director / Shareholder is a corporation:

> Copy of Business Registration (BR) Certificate

> Copy of all Directors’ passports

> Copy of  registered office’s address proof

> Articles of Association

> Meeting minutes of agreeing to appoint Directors / Shareholders for this Company

* If the Director is a corporation, it is required to appoint at least one individual Director to comply with the new Companies Ordinance. 

 

STEP 2: Pay and go!

Once your incorporation payment is confirmed, we will get on preparing the Government paperwork for you to sign.

 

STEP 3: Submitting your signed documents to Government :

Even if you are aboard, we will help submit all signed application documentations to the Government for swift processing. In fact, by the time you reach this step, you are already halfway through setting up your own company.  Our team would get it all done for you, like approaching different Government departments to file the required paperwork. For a ready-made (shelf) company, it takes around 2 working days to process; for an all-new company, it would take around 1 week or less to process.

 

STEP 4: Opening bank account :

You may ask: ‘How can I finish all company setup and bank account opening procedures as I'm stuck at my place?’ The good news is BRIDGES is now able to provide remote incorporation. From business consultation to business set-up, everything can be settled via the Internet. For bank account opening, indeed many traditional banks require physical presence and it usually takes a one-month appointment in advance. However, now with the pandemic, you might consider utilising fintech platforms to facilitate your business transaction especially if you are trading in multiple currencies.

The three reliable bank account alternatives in HK (BRIDGES' business partners) - AirwallexStatrys and Currenxie - do not require the physical presence of applicants and offer more than 10 different currencies. For more details, please refer to "
Traditional Bank Account Alternatives to Run Business".

 

Bank Account Opening Preparation

The assessment criteria of international banking are getting stricter, including HK’s banking and financial system. Therefore, a thorough preparation before the bank appointment always helps. If you managed to fly to HK, we will help arrange an appointment with bankers in advance on your behalf. What’s more, sets of the certified true copy are included in our package already for presenting to the bankers. Before the appointment, our experienced specialists will advise you of the documents needed to prepare (e.g. passport copy, residential address proof, business plan, business proofs, etc.), so that the whole process could be sped up and the situation of missed documents is minimised. Some banks can even offer our clients pre-screening to let you know whether your provided documents are sufficient for the bank appointment. In general, the assessment time will be around 2 - 4 weeks provided that all required supporting documents are submitted to the bank for review. We work closely with HSBC, Hang Seng Bank, DBS, OCBC Wing Hang Bank, China Citic Bank, etc. and we will guide you through to smooth out the whole process.

 

Favourable Taxation in HK

HK is famous for having a rather simple and low tax regime. There are two main taxes: Corporate Profits Tax (16.5%) and Personal Salaries Tax (15%), and there is no dividend tax in HK. Generally after 18 months of your limited company incorporated, you will receive the 1st Profits Tax Return. When your company is in good hands like us where there is an in-house Accounting Team able to assist your business with all accounting work, audit arrangement and getting prepared for local tax compliance, you can rest assured that all these essential functions will be handled properly and timely in a legitimate way.

 

HK Incorporation vs. Singapore Incorporation

Both HK and Singapore are popular jurisdictions in Asia for international businessmen. However, forming a Singapore company requires foreign entrepreneurs to partner up with a local Singapore citizen, while there is no limit on the nationality of the director(s) in setting up a HK company.  It means no matter what your nationality is, you can freely form your own company in HK without the need to include a HK citizen as your company’s stakeholder, giving you more flexibility in the company structure.

 

How HK Serves as a Stepping Stone into China?

For expats who want to set foot in China, they have to set up a special type of entity named Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) according to the China policy. From our experience, if you own a Hong Kong limited company as a shareholding company, it would be way more beneficial to use it informing your WFOE due to the close economic partnership between HK and Mainland China i.e. under The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). Not to mention financing in HK is much more accessible than in China, and all major international banks are located in HK, leading to a high standard system in terms of technology and security. In contrary to China, there are no restrictions or approvals needed to receive or transfer funds / foreign currencies in HK as you might know.

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If you have any further questions on setting up your own company, please feel free to email our company incorporation team, at info@bridges.hk to know more about our practical advice. 

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Many business owners must have heard about the infamously arduous bank account opening process in HK and we often encounter foreign entrepreneur clients stressing about it. With all the travel restrictions, it seems to make opening a corporate bank account even trickier since many business owners cannot be present. However, our team has helped almost 20 business owners of different nationalities to open an account remotely successfully in the first half of 2022!

Here comes how our team can make the entire journey much more efficient even if the client is not in HK with practical advice and initiatives.

It is no secret that the bank account regulations of international banks are tightening over time to prevent illegal operations, that is when our in-house compliance team and experienced advisor come in handy. Our local experts will always provide detailed guidance and solutions for clients to adapt the regulations, making the success rate naturally higher.

 

Why Having a Consultant is Important?

Our competent consultant does not stop at telling you what documents are needed beforehand, s/he will also review your documents and provide practical suggestions to facilitate your application. Based on each client's background and needs (i.e. business nature, passport country, residence country, buyer & supplier background, etc.), our consultant will suggest the most suitable bank(s) for your business as some banks fit some business natures better, or how to enhance your prepared documents to fit the banks’ particular requirements.

After the official documents are submitted and the appointment with bankers is confirmed, the consultant will then notify you so you can meet with the banks virtually or physically (banks like HSBC and OCBC now offer virtual meetings to cater to applicants who can't do it in person due to travel restrictions), and pick up the registered company materials such as business registration certificate (which can also be done by our team). In short, our team will do our very best to step in at the right time and set things up in the most efficient way.

 

How We Can Make a Difference?

Many clients are extremely concerned if they could open a bank account remotely due to travel restrictions and questions about the success rate, you can see how we will help at different start-up stages in the following. 

  • ​Company incorporation stage: After receiving your company details and ID proofs, our consultants will prepare a set of registration documents for you to sign online and then we'll submit them to the relevant Government departments. Most importantly, you do NOT have to be in HK and everything is done digitally.
     
  • Bank account opening stage: To save your hassles, our team will manage the appointments with your preferred banks. Some of our bank partners can even offer pre-screening to let you know whether your provided documents are sufficient for the bank appointment / assessment. 

We fully understand that each client’s case background is different and some banks could be more suitable for certain businesses. For instance, some banks might require all Director(s) and Shareholder(s) to be present at the meeting, whilst some banks only need half of them to show up. Read this if you are interested to know more about the requirements of each of our bank partners.

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If you want to have more information or need any assistance in opening a bank account, don't hesitate to shoot us an email at info@bridges.hk or call us at +852 2159 9666 and enjoy your exciting business journey with us. 

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