How to start a one-man business in Hong Kong

I'm just starting on this, so I'll jot down notes as I go along.

There are three options for starting a company in Hong Kong: a sole proprietor, a limited partnership, or a limited liability company (LLC).

There's a summary of the differences between them on this website. Though as you read their final recommendation, keep in mind that their business is to sell you a service to setup a limited company!

In my case I'll be a one-man band, so cross 'partnership' off the list. Then sole-proprietor, or LLC? My business will be small and simple, really just a way to accept payment for occasional projects I run. I'm looking for something very simple to setup and manage, am not over worried about liability, and don't expect to raise capital.

I'll choose to be a 'sole proprietor'.

My next step is to register the company with the Inland Revenue Department. I'll need to fill in a simple form at the Business Registration Office (4/F Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai), show them my ID card, pay a fee (currently HK$450 for one year), then 30 minutes later I can collect my Business Registration Certificate. More details at the IRD website.


Business registered!

15:43: Arrive at Business registration Office

  • Collect form and fill it in. It's dead simple, and there's a sample copy you can check first.
  • Join short queue to hand in form, and walk away with coloured number card.
  • When number is called (my number was the only one called in English, so they must take note of the name on the form), head over to counter and hand over $450.

16:21: Leave, with business registered, and Business Registration Certificate in hand.

38 minutes, that's not bad!

Next on the list to work out:

  • Open a business bank account
  • MPF
  • Whether any insurance is needed

If you have any recommendations on these, or see anything I've missed, please leave a comment below.

Regards, MrB

Other things to expect

I received a 'Quarterly Survey of Employment & Vacancies' form from the government's Census & Statistics Dept this week. Not sure if I'll get one every quarter?

It's a two-sided A4 sheet, that didn't take long to fill in. I took the option to fill in a spreadsheet version of the form, and email that back to them. Quicker & easier than mailing the paper form.

Thanks for putting this

Thanks for putting this article up. It's helpful for me. 

Early 2009, I went to Inland Revenue wanted to register a sole proprietor company. The price was $2,250 Hkd. I don't know. I think I asked for the wrong thing. 

For $450HKD, I am rethinking about it.

It will be helpful if you let us on the procedure to get the MPF & Insurance done.


Reduced business registration fee

Yopy, the fee was reduced on 1st Aug this year, for one year. It's not clear whether this change will continue in future years, or if the price will go back up again next year. More details here.

I'll certainly post up details when I look into MPF and insurance.

Regards, MrB


So... after you register your business, do you have to renew its registration annually?  If so, how much is the fee to do so?

re: Afterwards

YTSL, yes it's an annual charge. So next year I'll have to pay another $450 if they keep waiving the fee, $2,450 if not. You can see the current charges here.

Regards, MrB