Choosing Right Address for HK Company

Michael MicheliniBlog, Corporate, Incorporation0 Comments

Ready to get a Hong Kong company address?

Wondering what the best option is for your business? Does it even matter? How will it affect your bank account applications and customer acquisition positioning?

Today, we are going to dig in a bit and see what considering

Getting a Hong Kong address

If you get a Hong Kong company setup – You’ll need a Hong Kong address (or a company secretary who is in Hong Kong. This is because you need to have somewhere for the Hong Kong government to send the official company notices to if you want to open a company.

But for your bank account and most other matters, you can give them a non-Hong Kong address (for example I have my HSBC bank statements mailed to me in Mainland China).

An address is the first real step to getting established in Hong Kong. There are tons of virtual offices, serviced offices, and secretariat services to choose from because tons of companies simply need an address and a friendly receptionist for them. The primary reason, as far as setting up your company, is so that the mail “goes through” and you are alerted when a letter from the Hong Kong government or other business matter gets to you. There are tons of these services, and it depends if you need a fancy office to work in, want a fancy “expensive and exclusive” downtown address, or just want a place to collect your mail. Later I will go into the various districts and locations of Hong Kong so you know what is “cool” and “not cool” if you’re concerned about that.

Virtual Offices and Serviced Offices

Again, it is pretty overwhelming when shopping for an address in Hong Kong, and it depends on your needs. Here are a few services to consider when comparing:

Mail collection and scanning services – this is pretty critical, when a government notice comes in about your business registration, you need to get alerted. Will the service provider scan and email these important notices to you, or will they put it in a box for you to collect? These small clarifications will make all the difference if you are not going to be regularly visiting the office and working remotely overseas.

Secretary services – Instead of hiring your own admin, you can leverage their team to do local Hong Kong business help, translation, calls, replying to customer service emails, etc.

Phone answering services (dedicated number or shared) – They can offer you a local Hong Kong number and answer it on your behalf when you’re out of town (which could well be always!) and email you or even transfer to you – various plans and packages so ask for all details.

Meeting rooms – this comes in handy! Hong Kong coffee shops are jam packed and many times it’s impossible to find a good seat when meeting a client. Leveraging the serviced offices’ meeting room is a life saver and also makes you look more professional to your client or business partner.

Business lounge (also can be called a “hot desk”) – A lower price than a dedicated or shared office. Many of these serviced offices now offer a shared business lounge where you can find an open seat to work from. Basically a coffee shop that is only for paying members.

Dedicated office – For a certain amount of days per month, or full time usage, you can get access to an office to have team meetings or work together more often. Pretty cool idea is to invite your virtual team to meet face to face together and have a few days where you rent out a dedicated office to base and get tons of work done!

The top 4 most common services that I hear friends using that you can check out. Varying from basic to full service, it depends on the level of service you are looking for.

Commercial Address and a Residential Address

Commercial address is so easy, any serviced office will work as we just discussed. Most businesses I know never have to deal with needing a residential address in Hong Kong.

A residential address comes up when you are applying for credit cards or merchant accounts. I remember I had to apply 4 times to get my first HSBC credit card issued in 2009. I kept getting rejected and then on the third or fourth time finally my banking representative (I kept seeing the same one, in the 6th floor of the HSBC SME center in Central district on Queens road) saw my persistence and told me I needed a residential address as a director of the company.

Getting a residential address proof is tricky – if you’re not living here! I can’t advise you here, but you need to be a creative entrepreneur. It is part of the challenges of being an international business person. Make friends, and maybe spend more time in Hong Kong?

Why does residential address matter?

Residential is used more for “credit check” in Paypal and HSBC credit card POA (proof of address) procedures in my experience. Friends have also noticed when they use “expensive and exclusive” addresses such as ones in Central district Mid Levels, they get better rates or higher likeliness of approval when applying for credit limit increases or new credit card programs. So some of our friends allow us to use more exclusive addresses when applying for credit cards. It is worth having friends in Hong Kong for so many reasons, and Hong Kong people themselves love to know people from around the world and be cosmopolitan. So make sure to make some friends while visiting!

Make sure to do your own due diligence on various address options. I know you may think to use your serviced office address, and you may wonder how the Hong Kong banks could ever know which addresses are serviced offices and which are residential. But trust me, they know – Hong Kong isn’t that big! 🙂

What’s in an Address?

I’ll start the office address topic off firstly by explaining the Hong Kong landscape. It is some of the most expensive real estate in the world! But pricing changes dramatically depending on how close to downtown you want to be. If you plan to do business in Hong Kong and have meetings and put your Hong Kong address on your business cards to show local clients – address is more important for you. If you are running an online e-commerce business and don’t care how “exclusive” your address looks to prospective clients – it’s good to be aware of these cheaper places.

Breakdown of Hong Kong districts

There are 3 main districts / regions in Hong Kong – Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and New Territories. Hong Kong Island, as you may be able to tell by the name, is the most exclusive and central (CBD / Central Business District) where most of the financial centers are located. Across the body water (Victoria Harbour) is Kowloon district – which is a much “cheaper” or lower cost area than Hong Kong island. It is more local and residential, with smaller shops and less international financial banking centers. It is accessible by MTR (The Hong Kong subway system) in about 15 minutes, and there are two tunnels where cars and taxis can commute back and forth.

I personally have no problem with using Kowloon on my company address, but there is a clear difference when someone locally in Hong Kong sees your address is in Hong Kong island vs Kowloon district. And when I do have meetings in Hong Kong, 80% of them are on the Hong Kong Island side – so having an office or serviced office to have meetings there is helpful over the crowded Starbucks coffee shop (Hong Kong is densely populated and these cafes are jam packed!)

Places You’ll Most Likely Not Use

I am not sure if this title is completely suitable, but then again it is probably true. These spaces highlighted below you will probably not end up using for your company address (you can if you like!)

New Territories is a massive part of the Hong Kong landscape, but there aren’t too many serviced offices and not too much “business” happening there. For the most part, it is residential, shops, and factories and warehousing/logistics.

There is Lantau island which has the airport, Big Buddha, and Disneyland, which is a cool place to work out of (my buddy Larry Salibra works there sometimes with his year pass!), but most likely you’re not registering your company there.

Lamma Island I have visited once, very relaxed area and there is a running joke everyone who lives there has a dog. So Lamma island is a place to visit, maybe live (if you don’t mind commuting on ferry daily to downtown), but again, not a place where readers will establish their business.

So hope by now you got it – for the most part you will be looking at Hong Kong island or Kowloon districts for your business center.

Most Likely Spots

Here are some top spots in Hong Kong that most likely you will hear a lot about.

* Hong Kong Island Side

  • Central

    Obviously you can find out from the name, it’s the center of Hong Kong. HSBC headquarters are there, as well as tons of financial institutions. Also plenty of restaurants, bars, and meetings are happening right here.

  • Admiralty

    Is a MTR station next door to Central (or ten minute walk), and a lot of government offices are there.

  • Wan Chai

    Just about 10 minutes away from Central by subway, a lot of businesses are located here. Not as exclusive of an address as Central, but still a respectable address and central location.

  • Times Square

    A part of Causeway Bay (mentioned below) but worth it’s own bullet point. Another massive business district and one of the most densely populated shopping areas I have ever seen, in Hong Kong or anywhere for that matter! I have visited Alibaba’s office here as well as other big companies, so don’t just think of it as a shopping district.

  • Causeway Bay

    The home of Causeway Bay, this is another center of Hong Kong, with quite a lot of businesses there, but generally would say it is more for retail shops when compared to Central or Wan Chai. But as I said in Times Square section, I have visited some massive companies Hong Kong office in this district so it is a respectable business place for sure.

* Kowloon Side

  • Tsim Sha Tsui (TST)

    In my “places to stay” section I discussed Chungking mansions and this is where it is located. One of the most densely populated places in the world (Mong Kong below is also a top one), there are tons of businesses and shopping malls crammed together here. You can also take a walk to Victoria Harbour and via Hong Kong island skyline – a popular tourist spot for photo ops. TST is almost like a living organism, there are so many people in every square inch. This is the closest district to the Hong Kong island, but Yaumatei and Mong Kok are only 10 minutes or so further away.

  • Yaumatei

    Between TST and Mong Kok, but not as famous as either of those – it’s another highly populated area with lots of residential buildings. Not much of a difference really between the others, but good to understand it is there as you will notice this on addresses going forward.

  • Mong Kok

    A seriously densely populated district! And tons of markets to go shopping for electronics, clothing, and gifts to bring back to friends and family. As it’s a bit further from Hong Kong island than TST, prices might also be a bit cheaper. It also depends if you don’t mind being in an old building with a 6 or 8 floor walk up! (yes, seriously!). But of course it does have modern business and residential buildings as well as the old.

What is the Right Address For You?

Well, you went through this and may be wondering, ok great – but which address should I pick?

If you’re doing local Hong Kong business, and will do a lot of face to face sales meetings – then address matters. If you’re trying to save every last penny, and work in the middle of the night in your pajamas – location may not matter as much!

Where Is Your Hong Kong Address? Share With Us

So where are you thinking of having your address? Or picked one and really happy with it? Maybe not happy with it – please leave a comment below and let us know.

If you enjoy this guide and want to support the Global From Asia business, please consider purchasing our guide book – Hong Kong Business Supercharged.

Thanks and all the best to your Global Business from Hong Kong!

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Tags: asia, corporate, entrepreneur, guide, hong kong, startup

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