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Purchasing a shelf company in Hong Kong.

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Purchasing a shelf company in Hong Kong

Buying a shelf company in Hong Kong might the right solution for you if you urgently need to start a company. In the country, many companies are available for investors to buy and invest in. We have put together a brief guide for you to understand the requirements for purchasing a shelf company in Hong Kong.

If you want to open and operate a business in Hong Kong, there are two ways you can do it – first by opening a new company, and second by purchasing a shelf company in Hong Kong.

When you are not in a rush to run a company, setting up a new company can be a suitable option as you would have the time to go through the registration process. For those short on time, a shelf company is the perfect alternative solution.

What is a shelf company?

A shelf company, also known as a ready-made company, is a corporate legal entity that has been registered in the Companies Registry and has a Certificate of Incorporation but has never been operational. The company is left to age and is for sale to investors who want to get a registered company to carry out business activities as soon as possible.

Traits of a shelf company include:

  • Registration has already taken place
  • They are unused business entities meaning that they have never engaged in business or commercial activities
  • Company kit (including statutory registers, common seal and company chop) is ready
  • Is convenient as the business can operate more quicker

Advantages of purchasing a shelf company in Hong Kong

Easy and quick process

Shelf companies are already registered in the Companies Registry. Therefore, the process of getting the company is faster than registering a new company. The registration of a new company may take a week or more while a shelf company’s process is within 1 – 2 working days.

No incorporation processes

An incorporation process is always needed when you want to set up a company, you need to prepare and submit required documents and it can take a while for the process to be completed. You do not need to worry about the incorporation process for shelf companies as the company is already incorporation and to own a shelf company, you only need to pay necessary fees, then you can start the business. If you would like to change the name of the company, that can be arranged.

Immediate business operations

Since the company has completed all the necessary requirements, the business owner can commence their business within a short period.

Business longevity

As shelf companies are left to age, it provides credibility to new owners as the company has already been incorporated and has an older registration date. Most shelf companies are about one year or older, and this can attract more customers and increase their confidence when engaging in business with your company.

Get our in-depth guide covering everything you need to know about starting and managing your business in Hong Kong.

  • Discover foreign registration options & restrictions
  • Learn about available government incentives & promotions
  • Understand all compliance requirements
Incorporation Playbook

How to buy a shelf company?

The registration process for a shelf company in Hong Kong is rather straightforward. It has no real incorporation actions and takes 1 – 2 business days to transfer the ownership. Listed below are the steps of purchasing a shelf company in Hong Kong:

  • Pick 2-3 names in order of priority from the shelf company list
  • Provide director, shareholder and other company information
  • Execute documents to transfer founder’s share and change director
  • Procedure completed upon filing of statutory documents for change of director and stamping of transfer documents

Documents received after registration

  • Certificate of Incorporation – Document issued upon approval of company registration by the Companies Registry.
  • Business Registration Certificate – Document issued after registering with the Companies Registry indicating that the company has been registered with the Inland Revenue Department.
  • Articles of association – Document specifying the regulations of the company’s operations and includes the company name, purpose, share capital, company organisation and shareholder meetings.
  • Form NNC1(incorporation form) – A form containing all information from the Companies Registry, including the name, registered address, director and shareholder information (address proof and passport data), company secretary information, company structure, etc.
  • Form ND2A – A form reporting the change of directors and secretaries
  • Stamped Instrument of Transfer and bought and sold notes indicating that the share of the company has been transferred
  • Three company stamps
    • Round seal with company name
    • Rectangular chop with company name
    • Common seal (metal seal)
  • Certificate of shares – A document used as evidence of ownership of a certain number of shares.


Hong Kong is a country that has many benefits for both foreign and local investors. If you need help purchasing a shelf company or finding the appropriate entity, we recommend engaging Acclime’s professional services.