Business registration in Hong Kong
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
Are there any business registration requirements I need to be aware of?
As long as your Experiences are offered for the purposes of gain, you will be carrying on a business, which requires registration with the Business Registration Office of the Inland Revenue Department within one month of commencement of the business pursuant to the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap 310) ("BRO").
All businesses must be registered regardless of the vehicle through which the business is conducted (e.g. whether in the form of a sole proprietorship, partnership, company or branch). If you intend to carry on your business by incorporating a company, you will need to make an application with the Companies Registry by completing an application form. All applications to incorporate a company in Hong Kong are automatically treated as including an application to obtain the business registration certificate required to operate a business in Hong Kong under the BRO.
Apart from paying the incorporation fee, you will also have to pay for the business registration fee and levy. You have a choice of applying for a 1-year certificate or a 3-year certificate. These fees have to be paid at the time when your application for incorporation is made.
The authority presumes that all companies on incorporation have not commenced business. You will need to take an additional step to notify the Commissioner of Inland Revenue by completing and filing a specified form with the Business Registration Office to provide information on the date of commencement of your business and a description of the nature of your business within 1 month of the effective date of commencement of business.
For further details, please refer to the Inland Revenue Department’s FAQs webpage on ‘One-Stop Company and Business Registration’ and the Companies Registry’s website.
You will need to display at all times your business registration certificate at your place of business. If there is any change in the nature of your business that is inconsistent with the description shown on the business registration certificate, you will need to notify the Commissioner of Inland Revenue as to any such change by completing and filing a specified form with the Business Registration Office within 1 month of the effective date of any such change.
Are there any other registration and/ or licencing requirements I need to be aware of?
Aside from business registration, you may also need to obtain specific licences, permits, certificates and/or approvals to provide certain Experiences. The Business Licence Information Service provided by the Trade and Industry Department can help you find out if you need a specific licence to provide a certain Experience. You can also call the general government hotline at 1823 for further guidance.
You may also refer to our other information pages to work out if additional regulations may apply to your activity. However, do note that our sections on activity specific licensing requirements and rules cover some of the typical activities but are not intended to be comprehensive.
You should also check what tax and accounting rules apply to you, and make sure you have the right insurance cover in place to cover all the activities you will be providing.
Is there anything I need to be aware of when dealing with consumers?
Yes. You should be aware of the following in particular:
- Anti-competitive behaviour: Certain business practices that prevent, restrict or distort competition are prohibited under the Competition Ordinance (Cap 619).
- Unconscionable contract terms: "Unconscionable" terms in consumer contracts may be unenforceable under the Unconscionable Contracts Ordinance (Cap 458).
- False or misleading trade descriptions: You must not do or say anything in providing or promoting your services that is likely to be false or misleading under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance (Cap 362).
- Product safety and consumer guarantees: Goods and services supplied to consumers must be safe and meet consumer guarantees under the Sale of Goods Ordinance (Cap 26) and the Supply of Services (Implied Terms) Ordinance (Cap 457).
Is there anything I should be thinking about if I am offering an Experience in my home?
Yes. You should consider whether providing the Experience at the intended premises is in compliance with the laws and legal documents relating to the use of the premises. These include, for example, the Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123), occupation permit, Government grant, deed of mutual covenant, lease, tenancy or licence agreement. If you are in any doubt as to whether your premises may be used for your Experience, you are encouraged to consult with a legal advisor.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).