For company incorporation in Hong Kong, the very first step is to come up a company name.
HK’s Registrar of Companies does not give provisional approval of company name at all. It is up to the business owner or owners (i.e. the applicants) to make sure when choosing a new company name, the intended company name meets the requirements for registration.
When you happen to choose an unregistrable name, usually it will result in application rejection.
The general requirements of a company name
English name, Chinese name, or English name and Chinese name are the 3 options that are allowed when registering a company name in Hong Kong.
One case may be a tempting one – Applicants may want to combine Chinese and English in a single company name. But this is the one exception of company name that is not allowed to be registered.
Should the company be a limited company, the English company name must always end with the word “limited”.
For Chinese company names, words must be found in official Chinese dictionaries such as Kang Xi Dictionary or Ci Hai Dictionary.
The unregistrable names
Normally under the following circumstances, a company name is not allowed to be registered.
- The proposed name is the same as a name already appearing in the Registrar’s Index of Company Names.
- The proposed name is the same as a name of a body corporate incorporated or established under an Ordinance.
- The intended name would constitute a criminal offence, in the opinion of the Registrar.
- The intended name would be offensive or cause contrary to the public interest.
Names need prior approval
Company names which will require approval before registration are usually in this nature mentioned below. These intended names would usually give the impression that the company has any connection with the Central People’s Government or the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
The names in doubt would usually contain words such as Department, Government, Commission, Bureau, Federation, Council, or Authority.
These are the words that require prior approval: chamber of commerce, kaifong, levy, savings, tourist board, tourist association, trust, trustee, etc.
The second option and conclusion
There is a second option which is sometimes easier if you keep hitting the unregistrable names. If a company already exists, it may change its name by passing a special resolution.
Avoiding all the possible unregistrable names would definitely be a big help to ensure that there will be no delay in the incorporation of a new company.
Relocating the new company owner
When the new company is all setup and ready, the owner (who may be an expatriate or foreigner) will very probably coming in to Hong Kong to manage the daily operations. This owner, also an entrepreneur or investor, may get professional help from a locally recognizable immigration consultantbased in HK (such as Prism Consultancy) to take him/her through the entire application process of his/her entrepreneur/investor visa.