How to Choose a Company Name in Hong Kong

The process of choosing a company name for registration in Hong Kong

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The initial key thing before registering a company in Hong Kong is to have the company name chosen. To register for your company, you must pick a company name considered suitable for your company. 

You cannot choose a name that may be rejected by the Companies Registry. Creating a new application will be time and money-consuming. If the name of the company is so crucial, then what should you do?

Below are essential factors to consider when selecting a company name:

Chinese vs English Company Name

The choice of a company name for registration in Hong Kong could be in either English or Chinese. Nevertheless, the Hong Kong company name should not be a mix of English and Chinese.

In case you want to select an English name for your company, the name must include the word “Limited” (in full, not a short form of “Ltd.”) at the end.

As for the Chinese company name, it is important to have it end with the character “有限公司” referring to the ISO 10646 international coding standard, which is the appropriate one for traditional Chinese characters. Though it will be impossible for you to use simplified Chinese characters you might try to learn the Dictionary of Ci Hai (辭海) and the Dictionary of Kang Xi (康熙字典).

Unique Company Name

But naturally, you cannot pick the name of a company that is already in use in Hong Kong. You can’t also use a name that is in use of being registered. No name that is a duplicate of a body corporate that has already been incorporated will be allowed.

Any name highly similar to the collection of names on the Registrar of Companies’ Index of Names will be rejected. Perhaps you should look into the Hong Kong Company Name Generator and check with the Company Registry to see if it is usable or not. Through the Companies Registry’s Cyber Search Centre, a company name search can be done to know whether your proposed name is already used or not. In addition, you could also use the Company Search Mobile Service which is designed for that reason.

Avoid Using Government Names For Your Company

The name of the Hong Kong company should not create the image of the business being supported by any of the government departments. You must choose a name that is neither owned by anyone else and not an offensive name to anyone in the society. The name will subsequently be confirmed if the government has no objection, which means, having a successful registration as a company.

Moreover, you are not permitted to name your company in a way that would be a criminal offense from the Registrar’s point of view.

Other Restrictions On Company Name

Certain words and expressions, like “Far East,” “FE,” “and,” “&,” “HK,” “Hong Kong,” and “Hong Kong,” might be perceived as similarities between a proposed name and an existing one.

You should take care not to propose a name for your Hong Kong-based incorporated company that will lead to a dispute. The purpose is to make sure that it does not resemble any other company name.

The following are not taken into account when deciding if you have suggested a name that is similar to an existing one.

The use of the definite article as the initial word of a name will not be accepted. For instance, BAC Limited is the existing name, and using “the” at the beginning to make it sound different will not help. The name will be disapproved. The same theory also holds when adding some words or phrases at the end, such as company, and company.

Picking a Company Name for a Foreign Company

A company that is not incorporated in Hong Kong but has a place of business in Hong Kong must apply for registration with the Registrar of Companies within one month of establishment in Hong Kong. The company will be registered as a non-Hong Kong company under Part XIV of the Companies Ordinance.

In Hong Kong, a “corporate name” is the translated domestic name that a non-Hong Kong company registers with the Companies Registry. A “domestic name,” however, is the name of a non-Hong Kong company that is registered in its place of incorporation.

If you are keen to know affordable and easy steps to register for Hong Kong trade, FastLane extensively covers that process, so if you are curious to know, click here to learn more. 

When your foreign company is registered in Hong Kong, in the Companies Registry, if the company name is written in Latin characters or Chinese characters, the name of the company is entered as the corporate name. Nevertheless, the Chinese and the Roman script are not allowed in domestic names. 

In case the local name is not in either Chinese or Roman, then a certified translation in either English or Chinese may be needed if the company intends to register an English name and/or Chinese name as a company name in Hong Kong.

Is the approval of the registrar needed for this company naming process?

Approval from the registrar is needed before you register your company name depending on the following situations: 

  • If the name gives the impression that the company might be affiliated with the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or Central People’s Government or any government agency or department. The Registrar will authenticate the company name only where the company has a real tie to the government. Otherwise, you should avoid using words like “Government” (政府), “Department” ( 部 門 ), “Bureau” (局), “Authority” (委員會), “Council”(議會), or “Commission”(公署).
  • The name incorporates the words or expressions included in the Companies (Words and Expressions in Company Names) Order (Cap. Such as ‘chamber of commerce’, ‘kaifong’, ‘levy’, ‘trust’, and ‘trustee’ (622A). If you use a name that is similar to the name that was notified by the Registrar based on the name change under the Companies Ordinance (Sections 108, 109, or 771), the Registrar may require a change of name in terms of sections 22 or 22A of the Ordinance, the registrar may require a change of name.
  • Where the Registrar somehow concludes that the name misleads about the nature of the company’s activities and that would no longer be in the public interest, the Registrar may give a certain period to change the name.

What is the importance of picking the right company name?

The choice of company name is the main factor that stands for many points in particular the most evident one is the widespread competition in the business world of Hong Kong. Because of the following reasons: 

1. First Impressions

Usually, your brand name is perceived as the first impression by a potential customer, partner, or investor your company may have. A powerful name leaves an early beneficial impact and certain associations with which people relate to your brand.

2. Brand Identity and Recognition

  • Your brand name is the one that creates your brand’s identity. It should touch on the basics such as what you stand for, what you do, and why your brand is offering.
  • To be noticeable among the thousands of other businesses, getting yourself a catchy and specific name contributes to helping your customers remember and also find you with ease.

3. Marketing and Promotion

Positioning a brand with a suitable name can be easier to deploy and spread across marketing and promotional channels. It’s a really important first stage of building brand awareness that must be appealing, and adequately reach the right consumer group across various marketing channels such as a website, social media, or printed materials.

4. Website Domain Name for Online Presence

Succeeding in the current internet environment calls for securing an equivalent domain name for your website. A low-cost yet interesting domain name with your business name embedded that is easy to find will bring more traffic to your website and consequently to your business.

5. Legal Implications

Your business name must be clever and align with commercial registration listings in Hong Kong. Implementing another name that has already been used is associated with legal issues and you can face more rebranding expenses.

How Can I Change A Company Name In Hong Kong? 

Organizations and business in Hong Kong can modify their company name right after being established. These are the process to follow:

  1. Board Resolution: A company must adopt a special resolution that is approved by at least 75%Z of its shareholders.
  2. File Notice of Change: Within the 15-day time frame after the passing of the resolution, send an “Email notice of the change of company name” (Form NNC2), together with the required fee, to the Companies Registry. You may either do it online or manually.
  3. Certificate of Change of Name: Having their new name be accepted, the company registry should then issue a Certificate of Changing the Name. Effective from the date stipulated at the end of this certificate.
  4. Update Other Registrations: You will be required to report to the official authorities as well as bring your company documentation and registration current (bank accounts, business registration, manufacturing paperwork, etc.) that will carry the new name of the business.

Summary

However, when you are trying to choose a company name in Hong Kong, you should not select any name you as you like but to follow the guideline. However, some hindrances and limitations ought to be kept in mind to ensure the requirements of the Company’s Registry are followed along with the name criteria.

You might be asked to change your company name if it is “very similar to” the name of another registered company name. As an example, if the Registrar receives a court order to restrain you from using the company name or a part of it, you must get along with the instructions. Non-compliance is subjected to a fine.

With the professional corporate secretary service provided by  Fastlane Group, you can help you avoid the pitfalls that many new companies or businesses fall into when choosing a company name for your new businesses in Hong Kong. Working with us can help you speed up the process and can help you avoid confusion or mistakes that can cost you time and money. 

Ready to learn more? Contact the Fastlane team today, and find out how our services can help you obtain your business registration certificate in Hong Kong – and much more!

Frequently Answered Questions

Not exactly, there are only certain limitations would apply to company names. In addition to this, the name should not be similar to any already existing company names, offensive in any way, or against the concepts of public interest, or create any impression as a connection with governmental bodies.

The Companies Registry’s Cyber Search Centre allows you to check the availability of your selected company name. It is better to jot down several helpful substitute options so that the one which is not available can used.

The fact that using any name for the company with Companies Registry doesn’t automatically presume trademark rights. If you want to preserve the legal rights on the company name as a trademark, then applying for the Intellectual Property Department is the right thing to do.

In fact, you can bring about a change in your business name subject to getting the approval of the shareholders by an ordinary resolution and lodging the required documents at the Companies Registry. Furthermore as it associated with the name change process, this may consist certain proceedings and charges.

Pick a unique naming strategy for your company which must be clearly related to your business, must be easily pronounced and may not be offensive to any culture. Another thing is that it would be better you match the name with brand identity and moreover,  you should check if the name has already been taken or not before you choose as your domain name for your website.