The first step of registering a company in Hong Kong is choosing a company name, and there are a few requirements and restrictions you should keep in mind. We have put together a guide on selecting and changing a company in Hong Kong to help you smoothly go through the process of company name registration.
Let’s learn more about the requirements.
Selecting a company name
General requirements of a Hong Kong company name
The requirements for a company name in Hong Kong are:
- The name can be in English or Chinese.
- An English company name must end with the word Limited (not Ltd), and the Chinese company name must end with the word 有限公司
- The Chinese company name must contain traditional Chinese characters that exist in the Kang Xi Dictionary or the Ci Hai Dictionary and in the ISO 10646 international coding standard. A name with simplified Chinese characters will not be accepted.
Company name restrictions
A company name may not be registered if:
- It is the same name as a name in the Index of Company Names kept by the Registrar of Companies.
- It is the same name of a company incorporated under an Ordinance.
- The name would constitute a criminal offence.
- The name is offensive or contrary to the public interest.
- The name cannot be a combination of English letters and Chinese characters.
- A name that suggests that the company is connected to:
- The Central People’s Government
- The Hong Kong government
- Any department or agency of the Central People’s Government or the Hong Kong government
Registration of a company name with the Companies Registry does not confer any trademark rights or any other intellectual property rights in respect of the company name or any part thereof.
Yet, one should also avoid using a company name that may infringe a trademark or a brand name and which is sufficiently distinguished from any other name appearing in the Registrar of Companies and/or the Trademarks Register.
How to know if my company name is the same as another company?
According to the Companies Ordinance, the following factors must be considered to determine whether a company name is the same as another:
- The definite article that is the first word of the name should be disregarded (e.g., The XXX Limited = XXX Limited)
- The ending words, expressions, characters or abbreviation should be disregarded:
- And company
- Company limited
- And company limited
- Public limited company
- The following must be disregarded:
- Type or case of letters
- Spaces between letters
- Accent marks
- Punctuation marks
- The following are regarded to be the same:
- And and &
- Hong Kong, HongKong and HK
- Far East and FE
Naming a foreign company
A domestic name refers to the name or names that the foreign company has been registered in its place of incorporation.
The corporate name is the domestic name or a translation of the domestic name registered in the Companies Register in Hong Kong.
The domestic name that will be registered with the Companies Registry should be in English or Chinese. If the domestic name is not in English or Chinese, a certified translation of the company name in English, Chinese or both must be submitted in the application for registration.
Only traditional Chinese characters can be entered into the Companies Registry, and if the domestic name is translated into simplified Chinese, it will be rejected.
Tips for choosing a company name
Choosing a company name is an important step of incorporating a company in Hong Kong, and not following the requirements may delay your company from being incorporated.
Some tips to help you choose a company name are:
- Going through the company name restrictions to ensure you follow the correct format
- Conduct a company name search through the Cyber Search Centre or the Company Search Mobile Service
Company name search
Conducting a company name search through the Cyber Search Centre or Company Search Mobile Service is free of charge.
It is recommended to use the Exact Name Search mode and fill in the exact company name you intend to use, including spaces, punctuation marks and ending terms.
When searching for the company name, you should only use English or traditional Chinese.
Conducting a trademark search through the Trademark Register maintained by the Intellectual Property Department.
Changing the company name
A Hong Kong company name can be changed by passing a special resolution.
Within 15 days after passing the resolution, a Notice of Change of Company Name (Form NNC2) must be submitted via electronic or hard copy to the Registrar.
Once the form is submitted, the Registrar must enter the new company name in the Companies Registrar and issue a certificate of change of name to the company. The change of company name will be effective from the date the certificate was issued.
To change the name of a non-Hong Kong company, the company must submit Form NN10 to the Registrar along with the particulars of the change within one month after the date of changing the company name.
Your selected company name in Hong Kong must be in either English or traditional Chinese. A combination of both languages (e.g., ABC 有限公司 or 甲乙丙Limited) or simplified Chinese may result in your company name registration being rejected. Acclime provides professional services that will help you incorporate your company in Hong Kong. If you need our support, schedule a free consultation now.
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