Hong Kong, a pro-business regime with open trade policy and reputation as the regional business hub and international financial centre, allows foreigners and foreign enterprises to easily incorporate of Hong Kong companies and subsidiaries. Most businesses are not regulated in the ordinary business sense and therefore, do not require a specific business license to operate. However, depending on the nature of your business and the sector in which it operates, a specific business license must be obtained before commencing operations. It must be noted that a business must be registered with the company registrar before applying for a specific business license. Thus, business registration is a precondition to license.
A specific license must be obtained to run the following types of business:
- Travel Agency – A license from the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau must be obtained.
- Employment Agency – A license from the Labour Department is needed to run agencies that provide recruitment and placement services.
- Event Management – This business would require several licenses from various agencies depending on the nature of the services being provided. Companies that organise community or sporting events, exhibitions, meetings, conventions, conferences and concerts, either indoor or outdoor, would qualify as event management companies. The key licensing authority is the Televisions and Entertainment Licensing Authority, which provides various licenses including Amusements with Prizes license, Lottery license and Certificate for Advertising materials. Besides, other licenses such as the Liquor License and Food Factory License may also be needed.
- Financial Services – Depending on the nature of services provided various licenses may be required some of them are Money Lenders License, Insurance Broker License, Pawnbroker License, Representative License for investment advisory services and Money Changers and Remittances Agent. The licenses are administered by various agencies including the Hong Kong Police Force, Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, Companies Registry, Securities and Futures Commission and the Monetary Authority of Hong Kong.
- Educational Services – A license from the Education Bureau of Hong Kong is required to set up educational institutions.
- Restaurant – Before applying for a license, the business premises must be finalised. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department is the licensing authority. If liquor is served at the premises, then Liquor License must be obtained from the Liquor Licensing Board Hong Kong. Depending on the nature of business, other licenses such as the Food Factory License for manufacturers and processors of packaged foods, Import License to import frozen meat and poultry, Restricted Food Permit for the sale of restricted food items, such as oysters, raw meat and sushi or sashimi, Bakery License, Vending Machine Permit, Bakery License and Karaoke Establishment Permit may also be required.
- Retail Trade and trading company – depending on the kind of goods and services. For example, a retailer in Chinese traditional medicine or medicines and medical devices must obtain a license from the Health Department.
At HKCR our expert professionals will help you through every step of the process – researching and advising on the types of licenses that must be obtained, preparation of documents and filling and filing of the application forms and promptly responding to queries from authorities. Though the process for applying and obtaining licenses and permits in Hong Kong is straightforward, it always pays to have an informed professional service provider by your side to save time and resources. Our consultants are thoroughly knowledgeable, extensively experienced and have a vast network to provide you with seamless service in your licensing process.
Setting up in Hong Kong?
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