Why is the Certificate of Incorporation so important? How is it different from a business registration certificate?

Why is the Certificate of Incorporation so important? How is it different from a business registration certificate?

When setting up a company in Hong Kong, many legal documents need to be applied and processed, of which the most well-known must be the business registration certificate. However, when applying for a limited company, the Certificate of Incorporation may be more important. Why does a company need a Certificate of Incorporation? How can I apply for a company registration certificate?

Why do I need a Certificate of Incorporation?

According to the Hong Kong Companies Ordinance, the certificate of incorporation (English: Certificate of Incorporation, CI) is of great legal importance for legal persons and shareholders and is also the key to the smooth development of business.

To conduct business legally and compliantly, the company registration certificate can avoid many violation risks. Moreover, the company registration certificate also helps enterprises to provide proof and protection when opening bank accounts and providing financing loans. In view of this, it is recommended that the proprietor of the limited company keep the certificate properly.

Is there a difference between a company registration certificate and a business registration certificate?

First, the business registration certificate only allows the applicant to engage in business, business and other activities in Hong Kong for profit. Once faced with more complex legal issues, such as being sued, the business registration certificate basically has no protective effect.

On the contrary, the certificate of incorporation certifies the compliance of the limited company/legal person and specifies the responsibilities and rights therein.

How to get a company registration certificate?

To obtain a company registration certificate, you must first complete the process of setting up a local limited company. After selecting “Company Limited by Shares” and “Company Limited by Guarantee”, formulating a company name, and applying, companies that meet the requirements of the Companies Ordinance will be issued a certificate of incorporation within six working days.

After the application is approved, the certificate of incorporation can be delivered electronically or in hard copy, both of which have the same legal effect, and the electronic certificate is generally issued within 1 hour; the hard copy certificate is notified by fax within four working days. If the person collects the certificate in person, remember to present the relevant notification and supporting documents when collecting the certificate.

Does the Certificate of Incorporation need to be displayed on the business premises?

Although the company registration certificate is not like the business registration certificate (English: Business Registration, BR), which needs to be displayed and stored at a valid operating address, the company registration certificate serves as a proof of “a legal entity that conducts business in Hong Kong and other regions”.

What should I do if I lose the company registration certificate?

In fact, according to Section 305(1) of the Companies Ordinance, the original copy of the company registration certificate will only be issued once. If the original copy is violated, it may cause unnecessary trouble to the legal person. Therefore, it is recommended to keep it properly.

Although the Companies Registry will no longer issue the original certificate for a legal person, it is still possible to apply for the relevant certificate. Therefore, it is recommended that the company apply for a certified copy in advance when the company registration certificate has not been violated to ensure safety.

The above information is for reference only. If you have any questions about the Certificate of Incorporation, we welcome your inquiries.

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