Guide to Change of Company Name in Hong Kong

Guide to Change of Company Name in Hong Kong

The naming of the company is the starting point of registering the company in Hong Kong, and it is very important that the name satisfies the requirements and restrictions. We have put together a concise manual to guide you in choosing and change of company name in Hong Kong.

Selecting a company name

General Requirements of a company name in Hong Kong

There are requirements for a company name in Hong Kong which include: 

  • The name is either in English or Chinese.
  • An English company name must have an end word Limited (not Ltd), and the Chinese one must have 有限公司.
  • Traditional Chinese characters, which exist in either the Kang Xi dictionary or the Ci Hai dictionary, must be used in the Chinese name of the company, and they should also be based on the ISO 10646 international coding standard. A name in such a form as simplified Chinese characters is not acceptable.

Company name restrictions

The name will not be registered if: 

  • They are the same name as those in the Company Names index maintained by the Registrar of Companies.
  • The name itself is the same name of a company established by incorporation under an Ordinance.
  • It would amount to an illegal action.
  • The name is inappropriate or offensive, no matter the audience.
  • The name indeed is not allowed to be combined of English letters and Chinese characters.
  • The name that implies the company has ties to:
    • The Central People’s Government
    • The Hong Kong government
    • Central People’s Government or the Hong Kong government or any of its departments or agencies.

The registering of company name with the Companies Registry does not give any trademark rights, as well as no other intellectual property rights on the company name or any part thereof.

As such, it is important to ensure that the name chosen by the company does not violate a trademark or a brand name, and that it does not sound so similar to the name of a company registered at the Registrar of Companies and/or the Trademarks Register.

How to verify If your chosen company name already exists

The Companies Ordinance states that to determine if two businesses names are identical, the following criteria must be taken into account: 

  • When a name begins with a definite article, such as “The XXX Limited = XXX Limited”, should be avoided. 
  • The ending words, expressions, characters, or abbreviations should be disregarded:
    • Company
    • And company
    • Company Limited
    • And company limited
    • Limited
    • Unlimited
    • Public limited company
    • 公司
    • 有限公司
    • 無限公司
    • 公眾有限公司
  • 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 is the name or names that have been registered by the foreign company in its place of incorporation.

The corporate name is the local name or a translation of the local name registered in the Companies Register in Hong Kong.

The local name that will be registered with the Companies Registry should be either in English or in Chinese. If the domestic name is in neither English nor Chinese, a certified translation of the company name in English, Chinese, or both should be provided in the registration application.

It is only traditional Chinese characters that can be entered into the Companies Registry and if the domestic name is translated into simplified Chinese, it will be rejected.

Tips for Selecting a Business Name

Selecting a name for a company is a key aspect of registering a business in Hong Kong, and not following the requirements may result in your company registration being held back.

Here are some helpful tips for choosing a company name: 

Business naming searches can be done by the Cyber Search Centre or Company Search Mobile Service free of charge.

In this case, it is advised to use the Exact Name Search mode and put in the entire company name you desire to use, including spaces, commas, or periods, and the ending term.

For company name search, please only use English or traditional Chinese.

The process of the trademark search included a search of the Trademark Register that was maintained by the Department of Intellectual Property.

Changing the company name

Any Hong Kong company would be able to change its name by passing the special resolution.

The change of company name following the passing of the resolution should occur within 15 days after as submission of a duly filled Notice of Change of Company Name (Form NNC2) via electronic or hard copy should be done to the Registrar.

After the application is handed in, the Registrar should write the new company name in the Companies Registrar and give a certificate of the company name change as the last stage. The company’s name change is from the very day the certificate of share is issued.

The name change of a non-Hong Kong company that will be doing business in Hong Kong must provide Form NN10  to the Registrar. He really needs to do this within one month from the day of the name change.

Conclusion

The required change of company name in Hong Kong should be either in English or traditional Chinese. Combinations of the two languages (e.g., ABC有限公司 or 甲乙丙Limited) or simplified Chinese name registration can be rejected. 

FastLane can help you with not only company registration in Hong Kong but also can help you with all the cooperate assistance you need with our company secretary service. We offer you services with which we can help you along the way. 
Are you in need of our help? Contact us and set up a free consultation right now.

hello there