Setting up as a Sole Proprietor in Hong Kong is easy, and you do not need to pay someone to do this for you. You will save on the annual compliance costs of a Limited Company (for example: Company Secretary, Audit up to HKD2 million revenue) but you won’t have the liability protection a Company gives.
The way to set up as a Sole Proprietor yourself is as below:
1) Choose a name for the Business
This can be in English and/or Chinese, but shouldn’t imply it has limited liability or linked to the government etc. Naturally, you can’t infringe on trademarks etc either.
2) Take everything you need
Take your passport, HKID and any immigration documents you have with you. I always take copies too, just in case.
3) Go and fill in the form.
It’s easiest to go to Wanchai and fill the form in (black ink!) at the Inland Revenue office. Their address is: Revenue Tower, 4th Floor, 5 Gloucester Road. There is a Starbucks nearby and the Computer Centre is close too.
An example form is here – http://www.ird.gov.hk/eng/pdf/br_form1a_e.pdf
4) Hand in the form and pay the fee.
This changes dependent on the Budget, but is very affordable. There are cash machines nearby, but they will accept PPS cards.
5) Wait for your certificate to be ready!
The staff are really helpful and will often give you an idea of how long it will take.
That’s it. You can now legally do business in Hong Kong. Many Companies will ask to see your certificate so it’s good to scan it in and have it saved to make sending it easier. You should also quote the number on your invoices. The Inland Revenue will send you a tax return at the end of the year, and you will also have to renew your registration annually.
Do you want to talk more about setting up in business? Worried about cashflows or business plans? Get in touch using the form below!