Close up of man using mobile phone.

Fintech solutions for your business in Hong Kong

Fintech has transformed our daily lives in all aspects, from banking, money transfers, lending, capital management, etc. In Hong Kong, developing fintech is strongly supported by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority with programs such as Talent Development looking to create 1000 jobs in fintech, the Fintech Supervisory Sandbox, and the Cross-border Collaboration with the Greater Bay Area.

With fintech booming globally, Hong Kong is experiencing a surge of investments flowing into the sector. According to Accenture, Hong Kong attracted fintech investments of more than USD 89 million in Q2 2021, increasing 29% YoY. Given such favor by global investors, Hong Kong needs to keep up its pace in the fintech adoption by regular users such as individual consumers and businesses.

Why do some businesses prefer digital banks/neobanks to traditional banks? Companies usually consider whether the solution is cost-effective and whether the service is prompt. It is worth noting that digital banks/neobanks charge their clients by issuing monthly fees, which, in most cases, are lower than the monthly fees charged by the traditional banks.

Digital banking could be an excellent tool for SMEs operating in Asia. Here are 7 points to help you select the best digital banks/neobank option for your business:

Licensed to operate

Ensure that the digital bank/neobank solution provider has obtained the required license(s) in the region where they operate. Consult with your local advisors to ensure the protection of your assets, privacy, and data security.

Easy to use

Ask for a demo and get to know about the actual process of operating the account. Ensure direct account payment is possible and learn if payments from and to the overseas are supported, especially to mainland China.

Speedy turnaround

Timing is everything in business – knowing real-time performance on international and local transactions helps you monitor your project progresses.

Cost-effective

Operation and monthly fees are typical with digital banks/neo banks, and these monthly fees tend to be lower than a traditional bank’s charges. Other costs you need to know before adopting these new solutions are foreign exchange rates, international transaction charges, minimum deposits, etc.

Transparent and accessible

The platform should support your operation by having clear and transparent information, such as transaction procedures, payment formalities, and exchange rates. Ensure the information is available and downloadable for your accountants and auditors.

Foreign exchange enabled

If you operate in different countries, make sure the banking service works with foreign currencies in the same account.

Compliance with local AML rules and regulations

As with every other financial institution in Hong Kong, all platforms will perform their own “Know Your Client” (KYC) procedure and require applicants to provide detail about their operational structure, directors, and shareholders. This is no different from traditional banking institutions, but digital platforms may not need a face-to-face interview in Hong Kong while applying for a business account.

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Business Account Opening Solutions in Hong Kong (2)

Business Account Opening Solutions in Hong Kong

After incorporating your Hong Kong company, opening a corporate bank accent is vital to starting your business. The international communities have consistently recognized Hong Kong’s inherent strengths in its sound and robust financial system. The city has also implemented a robust set of anti-money laundering control systems, including customer due diligence procedures during the bank account opening process.

Common issues related to opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong are choosing the appropriate bank and preparing information and documents to satisfy the bank’s customer due diligence process. In this article, we examine the different business account solutions in Hong Kong.

General Bank Account Opening Processes with a Traditional Bank

Individual banks have their own account opening procedures incorporating the applicable regulatory requirements. Generally speaking, to open a business account with a traditional bank, most banks will require an initial application overview. Before opening bank accounts, banks need to undertake customer due diligence (CDD) to understand customers’ backgrounds and needs. For corporate customers, applicants must get ready the supporting documents related to corporate identification, information of the registered office and principal place of business, information of the beneficial owner(s), purpose and intended nature of the account, and so on.

After the preliminary review, both parties will meet to sign the relevant bank application forms and documents and pay the initial deposit and application fee. Requirements of minimum deposits and signatories differ from bank to bank and from time to time. Generally, the presence of all directors or beneficial owners is not required by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”). However, banks must meet the basic requirement of identifying and verifying the individual who is authorized to act on behalf of the company to establish a relationship with the bank. The specific implementation approach may be different bank by bank.

After submitting all the required information and signing the bank applications in front of a bank officer, the application will be sent to a further internal review, which will take approximately two to three months. According to the actual circumstances, banks may require applicants to submit additional information and documentation during this period. Finally, if the review is satisfactory, the bank shall inform the customer of the final results.

Virtual Banks

As a viable alternative to traditional banks, there is the option to use digital solutions provided by virtual banks or virtual account service providers. These organizations usually have no physical branches and mainly focus on virtual services.

Virtual banks are digital-only banks that primarily deliver banking services through the internet or other electronic channels with no physical base. Introducing virtual banks is a significant move to develop Hong Kong into a smart banking hub, empowering the city with more innovative fintech solutions to support Hong Kong’s most important industry segments, such as retail businesses.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”) regulates virtual banks, which must comply with the same supervisory requirements applicable to conventional banks. So far, in Hong Kong, only eight institutions are granted virtual banks licenses:

  • AIRSTAR BANK LIMITED
  • ANT BANK (HONG KONG) LIMITED
  • FUSION BANK LIMITED
  • LIVI BANK LIMITED
  • MOX BANK LIMITED
  • PING AN ONECONNECT BANK (HONG KONG) LIMITED
  • WELAB BANK LIMITED
  • ZA BANK LIMITED

Virtual banks can provide essential banking services such as deposits, loans, and inter-bank transfers. Compared to traditional banks, they may offer lower fees, better rates, and a heavier focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”).

Virtual banks must handle account opening applications by the same risk-based approach applicable to the traditional banks. Therefore, the process of colleting information and documentation follows the same guidelines as if you are dealing with a traditional bank. It’s also worth noting that even though virtual banks have developed online account opening interface, most of them still need to meet their customers face-to-face in Hong Kong before opening the corporate account for them.  Thus, virtual banks mainly target local SMEs.

Money Service Operators

A Money Service Operator (“MSO”) typically provides money remittance, conversion services, and dedicated payment instructions, which is a service that allows you to receive money via domestic or international bank transfers and link it to third-party services or currency exchange. In Hong Kong, MSOs are regulated by the Customs and Excise Department of Hong Kong.

MSOs have an array of advantages in comparison to traditional banking, especially to online businesses. MSOs welcome start-ups, SMEs, and newly incorporated companies. Opening an account for e-commerce using MSOs is optimal in collecting payments via several payment gateways such as PayPal since most MSOs are built to connect with payment gateways easily. They offer easy solutions with lower transfer fees, payment card services, and multi-currency availability. With an MSO, the virtual account is opened entirely online, with no need to be physically in Hong Kong, which significantly benefits foreigners who cannot travel to Hong Kong due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions. Once the virtual account is opened, a Unique Account Number is assigned to the account holder. However, the assets themselves are held in a segregated bank account under licensed banks.

However convenient and attractive it may be, opening a virtual account with an MSO has its limitations. For example, the virtual account may have a limited maximum balance. Once the limit is reached, the account holder needs to withdraw money or upgrade the balance limit in the account. Moreover, an MSO is not a licensed bank, which means businesses and individuals should not expect an MSO to offer financial products such as insurance, savings, checking accounts, investments, or loans.

Which Account Opening Solution is Best For You?

Looking ahead, Hong Kong’s further economic integration with the Greater Bay Area (GBA) will continue to attract international capital to invest in Hong Kong, making the city attractive for start-ups and entrepreneurs to seek funding support and market capitalization. If you have a viable business model and consider Hong Kong the best place to establish your company, make sure that you can open a business account, either with a traditional bank, virtual bank, or a Money Service Operator in Hong Kong. CW can help you evaluate different options before setting up the Hong Kong company, depending on your business needs.

For inquiries, please get in touch with our Corporate Secretarial Team:

Ms. Vivian Mok (cosec@cwhkcpa.com)

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Hongkong city scape

Protecting Your Personal Data by Utilizing Hong Kong’s New Inspection Regime

To further modernize Hong Kong’s company law and the city’s status as a major international business and financial hub, a new Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622) (“the new CO”) replaced the previous Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32) on 3 March 2014. The new CO provides a modernized legal framework for setting up and operating companies in Hong Kong, enhancing better corporate governance and regulations for Hong Kong.

The new CO introduces a regime that seeks to strike a reasonable balance between protecting the privacy and the need for public access to personal data. However, the provisions relating to the restricted disclosure of usual residential addresses (“URA”) of directors and identification numbers (“IDN”) of individuals had not come into full operation when the new CO was enacted in 2014. Currently, any member of the public can obtain information regarding the residential addresses and personal identification numbers (“Protected Information”) of directors and company secretaries of Hong Kong-registered companies on the register of the Companies Registry (“CR”). 

MOVING FORWARD WITH THE NEW INSPECTION REGIME

As public awareness of the need to protect personal data increases, on 16 August 2021, Hong Kong has finally moved forward with the commencement of the New Inspection Regime. Pursuant to the relevant provisions of the CO concerning the New Inspection Regime:

Only correspondence addresses of directors and company secretaries and partial IDN of directors, company secretaries and other relevant individuals will be shown in the Register for public inspection for documents filed after commencement of the new inspection regime;

The URA and full IDN of the individuals (“Protected Information”) will only be made accessible to specified persons upon application. The court may disclose such information if it considers appropriate, and the CR may disclose the URA if it cannot effectively communicate with the director using the correspondence address provided;

Individuals whose Protected Information is contained in documents registered with the CR before the commencement of the new inspection regime can apply to the CR for withholding such information from inspection; and

A company may withhold Protected Information contained in its own registers from public inspection.

PHASED IMPLEMENTATION

Due to the necessity to upgrade the information system of the CR, the New Inspection Regime will be implemented in 3 phases. Under the new regime, it is estimated that the CR will have to process about 1.7 million new documents containing Protected Information every year and will also have to make available about 40 million documents containing Protected Information already registered with the CR for people to apply for masking their Protected Information.

Phase 1:

From 23 August 2021, companies may replace URAs of directors with their correspondence addresses and replace full IDNs of directors and company secretaries with their partial IDNs on their own registers for public inspection.

Phase 2

From 24 October 2022, Protected Information on the Index of Directors on the Register will be replaced with correspondence addresses and partial IDNs for public inspection. Protected information contained in documents filed for registration after the commencement of this phase will not be provided for public inspection. “Specified persons” could apply to the Registry for access to Protected Information of directors and other persons.

Phase 3

From 27 December 2023, data subjects could apply to the Registry for protecting from public inspection their Protected Information contained in documents registered with the Registry (“Withheld Information”) and replace such information with their correspondence addresses and partial IDNs. “Specified persons” could apply to the Registry for access to Withheld Information of directors and other persons.

TRANSITIONAL ARRANGEMENTS

With Phase 1 of the new inspection regime enacted, these are the transitional arrangements for Hong Kong-registered companies:

  • The register of directors of a company need not contain the correspondence address of its director or reserve director who is a natural person (“specified director “) before the company’s first annual return date on or after the commencement date of Phase 2 of the New Inspection Regime, unless –
    • the particulars of the specified director are first entered in the register of directors on or after the commencement date of Phase 2; or
    • any change is made to the particulars of the specified director contained in the register of directors on or after the commencement date of Phase 2.
  • The address of the company’s registered office is to be regarded as the correspondence address of the specified director until whichever is the earlier of the following –
    • the date on which the company enters the specified director’s correspondence address in its register of directors;
    • the company’s first annual return date on or after the commencement date of Phase 2.
  • Before the commencement of Phase 2, a company does not need to deliver to the Registrar of Companies (“the Registrar”) a notice under section 645(4) of the CO for –
    • entering in the company’s register of directors a correspondence address of a specified director; or
    • making any change to a specified director’s correspondence address contained in the company’s register of directors.
    • However, if, immediately before the commencement of Phase 2, a specified director’s correspondence address was contained in the company’s register of directors and such address was not the address of the company’s registered office, the company is required to deliver to the Registrar a notice under section 645(4) in relation to the specified director’s correspondence address within 15 days after the commencement of Phase 2.

EXAMPLES OF PARTIAL IDNs

If the IDN comprises a sequence of an even number of alphanumeric characters, the first half of the sequence must not be withheld. If the IDN contains a sequence of an odd number of alphanumeric characters, the part that begins with the first character in the sequence and ends with the character that falls in the middle of the sequence must not be withheld.

Full ID Number First part of the Number
ABCD1234567 ABCD12
ABCD12345678 ABCD12
ABCD123456789 ABCD123
ABC-123-4 ABC1
#A1234567H(*) A1234

For further understanding and discussion on utilizing the new inspection regime to protect your personal information better, please feel free to contact our Corporate Secretarial Services Team at cosec@cwhkcpa.com.

Sources:

Newsletter

Hong Kong

Hong Kong: Commencement of New Inspection Regime – Phase 1

On 16 August 2021, Hong Kong’s Companies Registry published external circular no.1/2021 regarding the commencement of a new inspection regime of the Companies Register (“New Inspection Regime”) commencing on 23 August 2021.

From 23 August 2021, companies may withhold from public inspection the usual residential addresses of directors and full identification numbers (“IDNs”) of directors and company secretaries as contained in the registers of directors and registers of company secretaries kept by the companies.  In such cases, companies are to make available for public inspection on their own registers correspondence addresses of directors and partial IDNs of directors and company secretaries.

According to Phase 1 of the New Inspection Regime, a Hong Kong company, in addition to providing the usual residential addresses of directors, must also provide the particulars of the correspondence address of the directors into the registers of directors, and the addresses must not be a post office box number.

Details relating to the transitional arrangements can be found at https://www.cr.gov.hk/en/publications/docs/ec1-2021-e.pdf

Source: Companies Registry, Hong Kong SAR

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Expanding Your Business in Hong Kong

Doing Business in Hong Kong 

Hong Kong has maintained its position as part of the world’s most competitive economies with its open business environment for local and overseas enterprises. The International Institute for Management Development (IMD) World Competitive Yearbook 2020 ranked Hong Kong 5th out of 63 economies. Highlights of doing business in Hong Kong include:  

Ranked the one of the freest economies around the globe, Hong Kong is an ideal place for businesses ranging from small and medium-sized enterprises to multinational companies to grow internationally. As you may be aware, one of the requirements for setting up a limited company in Hong Kong is having a company secretary.   

How can CW help? 

Our Corporate Secretarial Department offers corporate governance and secretarial services to different types of entities, including multinationals, Hong Kong incorporated companies, and offshore companies. 

1. Business Formation 

Our experts can advise on the type of entity and walk you through the journey of the business establishment so that you can expand your business in Hong Kong at ease and be better prepared for entering the market of Mainland China by using the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (“CEPA”). 

2. On-going Company Secretarial Services 

As a trusted service provider, we provide efficient and reliable support to businesses in compliance with laws and regulations, including company secretary, designated representative, and registered office services – but it does not end here. Our experts have in-depth knowledge that can be your governance liaison on behalf of your company. Whether you require assistance in preparing prescribed forms or minutes, reviewing corporate documents, or advising on dissolving the company, we are ready to help you.  

3. Bank Account Opening in Hong Kong 

The bank account opening procedure can be complicated. Over the years, we have been working closely with HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, and Citibank to provide business solutions for different types of entities. Whether you wish to set up online banking or bank account opening, we can assist you in the liaison work.  

4. Human Resources Support 

To boost both productivity and commitment among the employees, you can offload some human resources processes to focus more on strategic management and business expansion.  

Retaining employees is one of the key to grow a successful business. Overseas directors and managerial staff who seek to manage and oversee their business more closely require employment visa permits to work in Hong Kong. Our experts can assist your non-local staff in the application for employment visas to better manage your business in Hong Kong. By outsourcing part of your administrative formalities, your company can have more confidence in complying with the relevant regulations and provisions. Our HR process outsourcing services include:  

  • Talent Mobility Solutions 
  • Payroll Outsourcing 
  • Entry & Mid-level Recruitment  

Why spend time or money managing an in-house HR team if you can hire professionals to manage HR functions more effectively? Start by contacting us now!  

5. Legalization 

Occasionally, a Notary Public may be required to certify the authenticity of a document. Notarization can be a tedious task which imposes some difficulties in completing most of the transactions and fulfilling requirements set by the authorities. With our connections to various law firms, we can assist you in going through the procedures of notarization, legalization, and apostille.  

6. Trademark Registration 

Trademark is a sign to distinguish the goods and services of your company from the others. If other traders use your trademark in Hong Kong, they may be liable for infringement of your trademark. Likewise, if you do not register your trademark, it is difficult to claim that you are the owner. CW can assist in the registration of your trademark in Hong Kong to protect your brand and further increase your competitiveness.  

7. Closing a Hong Kong Limited Company 

CW’s Corporate Secretarial Team has strong and experienced specialists who can advise you on closing down your company through deregistration. Work efficiently and effectively with us as we provide you the care and solutions you need! 

Hong Kong is a perfect spot for investors to consider because it has no interest tax with higher deposit revenues. We work closely with our clients to ensure compliance with the Hong Kong regulations so that their businesses can run smoothly. 

Written by Connie Pak, Company Secretarial Department, CW CPA

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compliance

Your Simplified Annual Compliance Guide in Hong Kong

Are you considering setting up a company in Hong Kong? Perhaps you have a Hong Kong Company but find it confusing to keep up with the compliance. Has your accountant suddenly reached out to you with a new charge that you are not familiar with? This article is to clarify the basic responsibilities that your Hong Kong Limited Company shall take up every year.

 

Annual compliance in Hong Kong

Annual compliance refers to a set of responsibilities a company should assume once it has been established. You must observe these compliance requirements according to your company’s fiscal year-end and the anniversary date. In Hong Kong, every private company must comply with the obligations administered by these two government entities:

– Companies Registry

– Inland Revenue Department

 

COMPLIANCE WITH THE COMPANIES REGISTRY

The Companies Registry is the department in charge of registering local and non-local companies in Hong Kong. It maintains records of active and dissolved companies.

 

Annual Return

Every year, a company should deliver an Annual Return, which contains its particulars, such as the registered office, shareholders, directors, company secretary. If the company does not file the Annual Return after 42 days of the deadline, the company will have to pay penalties. Please see the Annual Return Form “NAR1(Private)_Specimen-e” for your reference.

Business Registration

Business Registration must be renewed upon its expiry date. Normally, if you have applied for a one-year Business Registration, we recommend preparing the renewal of the Business Registration before the anniversary of the company. Please see Business registration specimen for your reference.

Significant Controller Register (SCR)

To enhance the transparency of corporate beneficial ownership, a company

incorporated in Hong Kong must obtain and maintain up-to-date beneficial ownership information by keeping a Significant Controllers Register. The SCR register must be kept at its registered office address or a place in Hong Kong. In the latter case, the company must file a Form NR2 to the Companies Registry reporting the location of SCR. The Register should be open for inspection by law enforcement officers upon demand. Failing to do so will render the company and the responsible person of the company liable to fines.

 

COMPLIANCE WITH THE INLAND REVENUE DEPARTMENT

 

Bookkeeping

The company should prepare financial statements for each fiscal year. The periodicity of the reports will depend on the company and the need for the availability of financial information. The reports can be prepared on a monthly, quarterly, biannual, or annual basis.

Audit

Regardless of the size, companies in Hong Kong are required to audit their financial statements and present them together with a profit tax return to the Inland

Revenue Department. The audit should be performed on an annual basis.

Profits tax return (“PTR”)

Annual profits tax returns are normally issued to taxpayers on 1 April each year. Once a Profits Tax Return is issued, the company is required to lodge the completed PTR together with the profits tax computation and the duly signed audited accounts for the basis period. Please see “ebir51” regarding the format of the Profits Tax Return.

Employer’s return

Hong Kong Salaries Tax is charged on the assessable income earned by an employee or an office holder in a year of assessment that runs from 1 April to 31 March of the following year.

As an employer, the company has the following reporting obligations to the Inland Revenue Department (“IRD”) if it anticipates that the company hires an employee who is likely to be chargeable to Hong Kong Salaries Tax.

i. Commencement return – The company has to file Form IR56E within 3 months of employing the employee

ii. Annual return – The company has to file Form BIR56A and IR56B. The annual return BIR. 56A is normally issued in early April and the filing deadline of the form (together with completed IR56B, where applicable) is within 1 month from the date of issue.

iii. Cessation return – The Company has to file Form IR56F (Employee who is about to Cease to be Employed) or IR56G (Employee who is about to Depart from Hong Kong) one month before the date of termination of the Philippines employee’s employment. IR56G has to be filed in the situation when the employee leaves Hong Kong for good or a substantial period of time usually in excess of 1 month. From the date of filing IR56G and until such time the employee has made tax clearance and can produce to the company a “letter of release” issued by the IRD, the company should withhold all amounts due to be paid to the employee (including salaries, commission, bonus, reimbursement of rent/expense, gratuity, money or money’s worth included).

Please note that the company does not have a tax withholding obligation except in the situation mentioned in (iii) above when the employee is about to depart from Hong Kong.

Compliance

Our suggestions:

1. Understand the basic accounting and taxation system and practice in Hong

Kong.

2. Review in-depth the service proposal you receive from the external accounting and secretarial services provider.

3. Establish a good habit of keeping and organizing business records from day one.

4. Don’t delay the declarations and reporting. This might lead you to the loss of information and records internally and the delay in presenting information to third parties like the banks, and penalties from the authorities.

5. For companies with a large number of transactions, it is important to prepare financial reports on a more frequent basis.

6. Review your financial reports. Once you receive the financial reports from your accountants, go through the information and seek clarifications if you have doubt. A responsible service provider will be able to answer your questions swiftly.

7. Keep your company statutory and business records up to date.

8. Update your bank at least once a year on the company status. Make sure your bank account has sufficient funds for bank charge deduction.

If you have any questions regarding your company’s responsibilities or how to

prepare the information, please get in touch with us and request a free consultation.

 

Contact: Ms. Lily Xiang, Accounting Manager

Email: lily.xiang@cwhkcpa.com

Written by Luz Deneb Martínez,  Latin Department, CW CPA

Newsletter

Hong Kong Startups Support

Funding Support For Startups in Hong Kong

As an international financial center, Hong Kong has not only experiencing the typical business, but also a booming startup scene in recent years. In the 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, Hong Kong is rated as a new entrant in the world’s top 25 startup hubs, listed as the third most innovative location in South East Asia, East Asia, and Oceania in the Global Innovation Index 2019. Furthermore, according to lnvestHK’s 2019 startup survey: 

  • Hong Kong has a significant increase over 2018 on all main parameters, with a total of 3,184 startups (+21 %) employing 12,478 employees (+31 %) across 92 co-work spaces, incubators, and accelerators.  
  • The group of multi-cultural startup founders, who are the backbone of Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem, continues to create job opportunities for the Hong Kong economy.  
  • The number of co-work spaces, incubators, and accelerators, which is supported by a robust network of ecosystem builders and stakeholders, has also shown remarkable growth over the years. 

WHAT DO OVERSEAS STARTUPS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FUNDING PROGRAMS IN HONG KONG? 

 The Hong Kong government and different stakeholders participate actively in the startup ecosystem, which offers more than 70 different programs to support potential entrepreneurs with different goals and needs.  In this article, we aim at listing some interesting programs that you should know about.  

Government funding 

In recent years, the Government of Hong Kong has forged ahead with the development of innovation and technology with plentiful funding schemes. 

  • Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales (BUD) Fund 

Provide funding support to individual Hong Kong enterprises in undertaking projects to develop brands, upgrade and restructure their business operations and promote sales in the FTA markets 3 and Mainland China market, so as to enhance their competitiveness and facilitate their business development in the FTA markets and Mainland China market. 

(Source: https://www.bud.hkpc.org/en/)  

  • Partnership Research Programme (PRP) 

Launched in January 2019, PRP aims to support applied research and development (R&D) projects undertaken by R&D Centres or designated local public research institutes in collaboration with private companies.  

(Source: https://www.itf.gov.hk/l-eng/PRP.asp)  

  • Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS) 

Launched in 2015, ESS aims to provide funding support for local companies to conduct in-house research and development (R&D) work with a view to encouraging the private sector to invest in R&D. 

(Source: https://www.itf.gov.hk/l-eng/ESS.asp)  

  • Technology Voucher Programme (TVP) 

TVP subsidise local enterprises and organisations to use technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes. TVP invites applications for funding all year round. 

(Source: https://tvp.itf.gov.hk/)  

  • Reindustrialisation and Technology Training Programme (RTTP) 

Reindustrialisation and Technology Training Programme (RTTP) is a funding scheme under the Innovation and Technology Fund that subsidises local companies on a 2:1 matching basis to train their staff in advanced technologies, especially those related to “Industry 4.0”.  

(Source: https://rttp.vtc.edu.hk/)  

Incubation and acceleration programs 

  • Cyberport Incubation Program 

Cyberport Incubation Programme supports entrepreneurs and start-ups with resources that aim to accelerate their growth. In addition to a range of business and professional services, incubatees get up to HK$500,000 support over 24 months.  

(Source: https://www.cyberport.hk/en/about_cyberport/cyberport_entrepreneurs/cyberport_incubation_programme)  

  • Cyberport Accelerator Support Programme 

The Cyberport Accelerator Support Programme prepares Cyberport incubatees and alumni for international markets and investors, providing up to HK$300,000 financial assistance to each successful applicant. 

(Source: https://www.cyberport.hk/en/about_cyberport/cyberport_partners/cyberport_accelerator_support_programme)  

  • Cyberport Macro Fund 

With an initial size of HK$200M, the Cyberport Macro Fund is set in place to provide seed to Series A stage funding to Cyberport digital entrepreneurs to assist them to accelerate; and promote the development of the venture capital ecosystem for digital entrepreneurs in Hong Kong. 

(Source: https://www.cyberport.hk/en/about_cyberport/cyberport_macro_fund)  

  • Incu-Tech Incubation Programme 

Incu-Tech helps technology startups kickstart their journey to productize its R&D outcomes, explore the market and scale their businesses. The 3-year programme offers comprehensive services including R&D support, mentorship, investor matching and more.  

(Source: https://www.hkstp.org/en/innovate-with-us/incubation/incu-tech/)  

  • Incu-Bio Incubation Programme 

A four-year programme managed by the Biomedical Technology Cluster, Incu-Bio supports the development of biomedical tech startups in Hong Kong. Connect with stakeholders in investment and regulatory support to devise the perfect business plan. Access cutting-edge equipment, co-working space and lab services. Cover R&D costs with financial support up to HK$6,000,000. 

(Source: https://www.hkstp.org/innovate-with-us/incubation/incu-bio/)  

  • Incu-App Incubation Programme 

Incu-App is a two-year programme designed to help startups develop new solutions from existing technology. We provide designated account managers who can give you professional guidance, so you can tap into industry expertise in content development, application platform and market support value chains through partnerships with top companies in Hong Kong. 

(Source: https://www.hkstp.org/en/innovate-with-us/incubation/incu-app/)  

  • Corporate Venture Fund (CVF) 

The Corporate Venture Fund (CVF) gives early-stage Hong Kong technology startups a chance to fully develop their ideas and create revolutionary new tech products and services. 

(Source: https://smuhk-new.ipulseclients.com/startup-resources/government-funding-scheme-and-support/hong-kong-science-technology-parks-corporation-hkstp/corporate-venture-fund-cvf)  

Besides looking for funding opportunities, overseas startups should also pay close attention to the abundant startup network, marketing campaigns, competitions and matchmaking events organized by an extensive network of stakeholders in the startup ecosystem.  A good way to keep track of Hong Kong’s startup events is to visit the Events section on InvestHK’s startmeup.hk website: https://www.startmeup.hk/upcoming-events/events-calendar/  

CW STARTUP SERVICE PACKAGE 

The unique status of Hong Kong in the international community, the increasingly close co-operation between Hong Kong and the Mainland, and the financial support from various sectors of the society have all contributed to the startup development of Hong Kong. 

Despite the fact that Hong Kong has been battered by social movements and epidemics, CW believes that it is precisely during uncertain times new forms of business start to sprout.  

While our future relies on innovation and new business models, it is equally important for business advisory firms like CW to learn how to support startups to grow in a healthy and compliant manner. Last month, CW joined Cyberport Hong Kong, Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce and Invest Hong Kong in the promotion of Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF) which took place during 3-4 November. According to the post-event report, more than 250 deal flows arranged during CVCF. Startups received ample opportunities to meet with investors and showcase their solutions.  

If you are ready to take advantage of the funding opportunities in Hong Kong to expand into Asia, CW offers an attractive service package to help you: 

  • Setting up a limited company in Hong Kong 
  • Taking care of your annual accounting and tax compliance 
  • Connecting you directly to our startup ecosystem partners  

ACCESS OUR STARTUP SERVICE PACKAGE IN THREE DIFFERENT LANGUAGES 

English

Spanish

Portuguese

Resources: 

Hong Kong Startups Support

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Today, organizations can now select from several international and local banks to open a corporate bank account in Hong Kong. Many products and services have been tailored to address these issues by every significant bank in Hong Kong, both local and international. You need to know those things required by your bank before opening an account so that whatever the bank offers can go with your needs. 

 

Have you had a go at opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong and had been dismissed with no clarification from the bank? The global banking system has been compelled to rebuild its activity and strategies. Compliance is characterized as the capacity to act by following some guidelines. By not complying with these guidelines, the reputation of the bank is affected.   

 

You must come prepared with the following in mind, a non-exhaustive list, and be ready to wait for some days to get approval if you want to open a bank account without having issues. And be prepared for the banks to come back with more questions and clarifications, as a direct result of anti-money laundering and counter-financing terrorism (AML/CFT) during the process of opening a new bank account for the client.  

 

Below, we list the primary reasons why people find it hard to open bank accounts in Hong Kong: 

 

COMPLIANCE REASONS 

Banks work under a lot of standards and rules that are commanded by regulators. What is more, banks ought to be severely penalized under various sanctions if they do not conform to these rules. Subsequently, it has made them excessively protective of their financial services, which causes that the procedures involved in opening a new bank account gets more complicated and difficult and takes more time. 

 

BUSINESS REASONS 

Banks are commercial organizations motivated by financial benefit. They hope to guarantee that the organizations are beneficial before contributing their time and assets. A business evaluation will be applied based on the interests that can be earned from the organizations. Along these lines, an organization’s profile is an important criterion that can influence the bank’s points of view. 

 

PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES 

By and large, banks will demand that each organizational head come to Hong Kong or meet them face to face for the procedures involved in opening a bank account. It makes things even more difficult, especially with the outbreak of COVID-19. Then again, the application surveying can be taken half a month or every month to process the stringent assessment. What’s more, the bank evaluation plan will differ by organizations, making the selection of candidates obscure. The whole process can move faster if the banks get advice from a service provider that is well-vast in this area and prepare adequately before an interview. 

 

Most of the world’s important banks have branches in Hong Kong. Before you get involved in the opening of a corporate bank account, it is critical to consider these factors: 

 

  • The reputation of the bank 
  • Services and facilities offered by the bank 
  • Future support services like loans or trade financing  
  • Minimum requirement deposit 
  • Internet banking facilities offered and 
  • Monthly charges (if any) 

 

Despite the difficulties, most international companies appreciate the advantages of establishing a company in Hong Kong and the using of Hong Kong’s banking system to facilitate their international transactions. These advantages include: 

  • No restriction on foreign exchange remittance or free transfer of funds; 
  • Convenience in settlement of international trades; 
  • No interest in tax with higher revenues of deposits; 
  • Free conversion of currencies; 
  • Convenience in daily account operation and online bank transactions; and 
  • The ease involved in getting trade financing from international banks. 

 

As one of the world’s largest financial centers, Hong Kong is the perfect spot for making ventures and opening bank account for investors. Be that as it may, banks have various prerequisites on the procedures and information needed to open a bank account. The organization’s executive may need to invest extra energy in making inquiries to the bank for this, as he may neglect to produce the necessary information, which might lead to a lot of wasted time.  

 

CW has been working closely with a couple of international banks trying to provide solutions to foreign companies with imminent needs to operate in Hong Kong. In the past few months, our Company Secretarial Team has helped several clients open the corporate bank account without the directors’ presence. We can help you navigate through the process of applying for a corporate bank account with our expertise in dealing with the increasingly stringent customer due diligence requirements mandated by the banks. 

 

If you are interested in opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong, please download CW service brochure (https://www.cwhkcpa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/CW-Service-HK-Company-Corporate-Bank-Account-Opening.pdf) and contact Ms. May Ly (may.ly@cwhkcpa.com). 

 

Please click below link to access June 2020 South China Business Journal of American Chamber of Commerce in South China: 

AMCHAM South China – June 2020 South China Business Journal

 

Written by Company Secretary Team, CW CPA

With an open economy, multiple entry models and an easy tax system, Hong Kong is still one of the top destinations for business all over

Written by May Ly, Corporate Secretarial team, CW CPA   According to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 Report released on 31 Oct 2018, Hong

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