Incorporating a Branch in Hong Kong

Incorporating a Branch in Hong Kong

Expanding your business into new markets can be an exciting endeavour, and one effective way to establish your presence as an extension of your existing company is by incorporating a branch. In this article, we'll delve into the essential legal requirements for incorporating a branch in Hong Kong, including the requirements, the renewal process, and the operational aspects that a branch can engage in. We'll also touch on the considerations to keep in mind when choosing between opening a limited company or a branch.

Legal Requirements for Incorporating a Branch

When considering the registration of a branch office in Hong Kong, there are several key prerequisites to keep in mind.

  1. Name: Typically, the name of the branch should align with that of the parent company based overseas. Nevertheless, it's crucial to note that the Companies Registry holds the authority to reject the usage of the parent company's name for the branch if it's already in use within Hong Kong or is deemed misleading or inappropriate.
  1. Authorized Representative: A vital aspect is the appointment of at least one individual who is a Hong Kong resident and authorized to accept legal notifications on behalf of the company. The authorized representative can be an individual or a corporate entity, specifically a firm or corporate practice of solicitors or professional accountants.
  1. Constitution and Business Activities: Unlike an independent entity, a branch office operates under the framework of the parent company's Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA). This means that there isn't a separate MAA for the branch office, and its activities are guided by those of the parent company. 
  1. Establishment of a Physical Business Location: A branch office is required to establish a physical business location within Hong Kong. This location serves as a tangible place where, among other responsibilities, statutory documents are maintained.
  1. Minimum Capital Requirement: There is no minimum capital requirement for setting up a branch office in Hong Kong, providing a flexible approach for businesses.

Essential Documentation 

The registration of a branch office necessitates the submission of several crucial documents, which include:

  1. A completed form containing branch office details, such as registered address, local representative, particulars of the parent company, and more.
  2. A certified copy of the parent company's constitution, such as the Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  3. A certified copy of the parent company's Certificate of Registration.
  4. A certified copy of the latest financial accounts of the foreign company. In instances where the foreign company isn't obligated to publicly disclose its accounts, exemption from submission is possible, provided a valid reason is provided.
  5. Identification documents of the local representative of the branch office.

It's important to emphasize that only documents in English or Chinese are accepted for submission. Documents in other languages must be officially translated into English or Chinese prior to submission.

Operational Scope of a Branch

Once your branch is successfully incorporated, it can engage in various business activities in Hong Kong. These activities can include entering into contracts, conducting business transactions, and generating revenue. There are no restrictions on the activities that a branch can carry in Hong Kong, however you need to keep in mind that for some types of business, you may need to obtain a license. Businesses in Hong Kong that require a license or permit include:

  • Education business
  • Employment agency
  • Event management company
  • Financial service company
  • Restaurant & food business
  • Retail business
  • Trading company
  • Travel company

Branch vs. Limited Company:

When deciding between incorporating a branch or a limited company in Hong Kong, several factors come into play. A branch is a part of the parent company and doesn't have separate legal status, which can impact liability and financial obligations. Moreover, a branch office need to submit annually the latest financial statements of the foreign entity's head office. These financial statements must be translated into English and signed by a director of the head office.

On the other hand, a limited company is a distinct legal entity, offering limited liability protection to its shareholders.

Operating a branch may offer a quicker and more streamlined setup process compared to establishing a limited company. However, a branch's activities are directly tied to the parent company, while a limited company operates independently. Additionally, a limited company has its own financial statements and reporting requirements, ensuring a clear separation of financial matters.


In conclusion, incorporating a branch in Hong Kong can be a strategic move for expanding your business footprint. Understanding the operational scope of a branch and considering the differences between a branch and a limited company will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your business goals.

Consult our business professionals to have valuable guidance throughout the incorporation process.

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