Celebrate the Olympics: Be the first to win with 10% off company registration.Start now!

an illustration of statrys mascot holding a piece of paper that is titled certificate with a hong kong symbol

The Certificate of Incorporation is the official document proving your company's legal registration in Hong Kong.

To obtain your certificate, you can submit your company's Articles of Association and Business Registration Notice to the Companies Registry.

The process typically takes 4 to 5 working days after submitting the document.

The certificate is available in both English and Traditional Chinese and can be accessed publicly through the Cyber Search Center.

For many entrepreneurs, incorporating a company in Hong Kong is a significant milestone, and the Companies Registry issues a Certificate of Incorporation to verify it. 

In this quick guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about the Certificate of Incorporation, including the step-by-step process for obtaining it. By the end of this article, you should have a clearer understanding of the certificate of incorporation and know why it is crucial to your business in Hong Kong.

What Is a Certificate of Incorporation?

An example of a certificate of incorporation

A certificate of incorporation is an official document that verifies your company’s legal registration in Hong Kong. This legal document confirms that your company is officially registered and legally recognised in Hong Kong. The certificate includes a unique identification number and is available in both English and Traditional Chinese, which reflects Hong Kong's bilingual nature. 

If you are planning to open a business bank account in Hong Kong, the service provider or your bank will request to see certified copies of your company as part of their application process.


Did You Know? Certificates of Incorporation are publicly accessible through the Cyber Search Center, which is a registrar of companies.

What Information Does the Certificate of Incorporation Include?

The certificate of incorporation is a one-page document that contains key information about your company. 

Here are some information you can find on the certificate:

  1. Registration Number: This is a unique 7-digit identifier in the certificate's top left corner that is specific to the company.
  2. Ordinance Type: This refers to the Companies Ordinance, the governing law regulating business entities in Hong Kong. This information appears as the first title beneath the Companies Registry logo (CR).
  3. Certificate Type: Crucial for distinguishing it from other certificates; it should be titled "Certificate of Incorporation." Alternative titles indicate different certificate types, e.g., for Trust companies.
  4. Official Company Name: The official name of the company is displayed in the centre of the document. Since Hong Kong is a bilingual region, they allow registered entities to present the name of the company in English, traditional Chinese characters, or both.
  5. Incorporation Date: Located above the registrar's signature, this date signifies when the company officially entered the Company Registry record and serves as the recognised date of incorporation.

Differences Between Certificates of Incorporation and Business Registration Certificates

Next, let’s clarify the key differences between these two important documents. The company incorporation process in Hong Kong involves obtaining two crucial documents: the Certificate of Incorporation and the Business Registration Certificate

Below we will discuss the distinct purpose of these two certificates, which are issued by different authorities, by highlighting their roles in establishing and maintaining a business entity.

Key Differences

Certificate of Incorporation

Business Registration Certificate

Purpose and Requirements

This document verifies a company's legal establishment and registration by validating its existence and compliance with Hong Kong’s legal requirements. 

It is specifically required for limited liability companies and must be issued by the Companies Registry.

This document is required for all profit-generating businesses in Hong Kong. It ensures that companies are registered with the Inland Revenue Department and can legally conduct business operations. 

It applies to both limited liability companies and other business entities, serving as their tax ID. 

Issuing Authorities

Certificate Identification Numbers

Unique 7-digit company registration number

Issuance Timelines

Typically takes 4 to 5 working days to obtain

Typically takes 2 working days

By understanding these distinctions, businesses can ensure they are fully compliant with Hong Kong’s legal requirements and ready to operate effectively within the region.


Tip: For more detailed information about registering your company, visit the Inland Revenue Department website.

How to Obtain the Certificate of Incorporation?

Obtaining the certificate of incorporation is straightforward and does not require an in-person visit to the registered office if the application is submitted online through the cr.gov.hk website. 

  1. Choose Company Name and Type:
    First, select the type of company that you want to incorporate, and select a suitable name for your new company. You must ensure that the chosen name complies with Hong Kong's company name regulations and is not already used by other registered companies.
  2. Submit the Application:
    Submit the Incorporation Form and a copy of your new company's Articles of Association and the Business Registration Notice to the Companies Registry. The Business Register at the business registration office will handle the notice.
  3. Receive the Certificates:
    After your application is approved, you can receive the Certificate of Incorporation in either hard copy or electronic format, depending on your application preferences.

Tip: Here’s an expert guide on how to choose the right company name in Hong Kong

How to Verify the Authenticity of a Certificate of Incorporation?

It is simple to verify the authenticity of a certificate of incorporation in Hong Kong. 

The Hong Kong government has a bilingual platform for the public to verify information about Hong Kong companies. 

There is a system called the “Integrated Companies Registry Information” (ICRIS) that allows users to obtain information such as whether a company has a profile in the company's record if a company had a name change, and other basic information like the date of incorporation of the company. 

These documents can be downloaded for a fee, but we recommend visiting the platform directly for more detailed information.

Special Distinctions

One special distinction that you should be aware of is Hong Kong enjoys a special administrative status and Mainland China has a different system. However, this does not impact the way you can conduct business between 2 different jurisdictions. 

It is important to note that a Mainland China company does not have the same certificates as Hong Kong-registered entities with a Hong Kong certificate of incorporation. Additionally, Mainland Chinese companies' documents are only available and valid in simplified Chinese since English is not an official language


As discussed in this article, the Certificate of Incorporation is only issued to a specific type of entity in Hong Kong. Furthermore, it is important to know the documents that are issued in the name of your Hong Kong entity since each certificate serves a specific purpose. 

Some institutions, such as banks in Hong Kong, will sometimes request the Certificate of Incorporation number since it is the one that is registered with the company compliance authority in Hong Kong. In some other cases, the Business Registration Certificate is normally used as the tax identification number of your Hong Kong company.


What is The Hong Kong Certificate of Incorporation?

Hong Kong Certificate of Incorporation is a document that confirms the legal establishment of a Limited Liability Company and its registration in the Hong Kong Companies Registry.

What is the difference between a Certificate of Incorporation and a Business Registration Certificate?


Which Entity Issues a Certificate of Incorporation?


Looking for a business account?