A- General Requirements of Hong Kong company names
1. A company may be registered with an English name, a Chinese name, or an English name and a Chinese name. A company name with a combination of English words/letters and Chinese characters is not allowed.
2. An English Hong Kong company name must end with the word “Limited” and a Chinese company name must end with the characters “有限公司”.
3. A Chinese company name should contain traditional Chinese characters (繁體字) that can be found in the Kang Xi Dictionary (康熙字典) or Ci Hai Dictionary (辭海) AND also in the ISO 10646 international coding standard. Simplified Chinese characters will not be accepted.
B- Circumstances in which a Company Name will NOT be registered
Generally speaking, a company name will not be registered if –
(a)it is the same as a name appearing in the Registrar’s Index of Company Names;
(b)it is the same as a name of a body corporate incorporated or established under an Ordinance;
(c)in the Registrar’s opinion, its use would constitute a criminal offence; or
(d)in the Registrar’s opinion,it is offensive or otherwise contrary to the public interest.
In determining whether a company name is “the same as” another –
- The following shall be disregarded –
(i)the definite article, where it is the first word of the name (e.g. The ABC Limited = ABC Limited)
(ii)the ending words or expressions “company”, “and company”, “company limited”, “and company limited”, “limited”, “unlimited”, “public limited company”, their abbreviations, and the ending characters “公司”, “有限公司”, “無限公司” and “公眾有限公司” (e.g. ABC Company Limited = ABC Limited = ABC Co., Limited; 甲乙丙有限公司 = 甲乙丙公眾有限公司)
(iii)type or case of letters, spaces between letters, accent marks, and punctuation marks (e.g. A-B-C Limited = a b c Limited)
- The following words and expressions are regarded as the same –
- “and” and “&”
- “Hong Kong” , “Hongkong” and “HK”
- “Far East” and “FE”
- (e.g. ABC Hong Kong Limited = ABC Hongkong Limited = ABC HK Limited)
- Two Chinese characters will be regarded as the same if the Registrar is satisfied, having regard to the usage of the two characters in Hong Kong, that they can reasonably be used interchangeably (e.g. 恆=恒; 峯=峰: 匯=滙).
C- Company Names which will require approval before registration
- The Registrar’s prior approval is required for a company name –
(a)that, in the Registrar’s opinion, would be likely to give the impression that the company is connected in any way with the Central People’s Government or the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or any department or agency of either Government. Such a company name will be allowed only where it is considered the company in question has a genuine connection with the Central People’s Government or the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The use of words such as “Department”(部門), “Government”(政府), “Commission”(公署), “Bureau”(局), “Federation”(聯邦), “Council”(議會), “Authority”(委員會), would in general imply such a connection and will not normally be approved;
(b)that contains any of the words or expressions specified in the Companies (Words and Expressions in Company Names) Order (Cap. 622A) (see Appendix A);
(c)that is the same as a name for which a direction for change of name has been given by the Registrar under sections 108, 109 or 771 of the Companies Ordinance or sections 22 or 22A of the predecessor Ordinance (i.e. the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32) as in force from time to time before the commencement date of the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622)) on or after 10 December 2010.
- Applicants should seek the advice of the Registrar about the above types of names and apply in writing for the consent to use these names before the documents applying for incorporation or change of name are delivered for registration. Applications should be sent to the New Companies Section of the Companies Registry on the 14th Floor, Queensway Government Offices, 66 Queensway, Hong Kong.
D- Company Names with words and expressions which are covered by other legislation
In some cases, the use of certain words and expressions in company names is governed by other legislation. Their improper use will constitute a criminal offence. The followings are some examples –
(a)Under the Banking Ordinance (Cap. 155), it is an offence to use “Bank” (銀行) in a company name without the consent of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
(b)Under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571), no person other than the Exchange Company (交易所) as therein defined shall use the title “Stock Exchange” (證券交易所) or “Unified Exchange” (聯合交易所) or other variations. Contravention of the provision will constitute a criminal offence.
(c)It will also be an offence for a body corporate other than a corporate practice as defined in the Professional Accountants Ordinance (Cap. 50) to include in or use in conjunction with its name the description “certified public accountant (practising)”, “certified public accountant” or “public accountant” or the initials “CPA (practising)”, “CPA” or “PA” or the characters “執業會計師”, “會計師”, “註冊核數師”, “核數師” or “審計師”.
Applicants should ensure that words or expressions used in company names will not contravene any laws of Hong Kong. Where appropriate, applicants should seek advice from the relevant body on the use of words or expressions which are subject to restrictions.
E- Dispense with the word “Limited” in the Name of a Company
A company which wishes to apply for a licence under section 103 of the Companies Ordinance to dispense with the word “Limited” and/or the characters “有限公司” in its name (either on incorporation or upon change of name by special resolution) may refer to the Guidance Notes on “Application for a Licence to dispense with the word “Limited” in the Name of a Company” for further details.