Guideline on Hong Kong Company Names
The Companies Ordinance in Hong Kong provides tremendous flexibility in naming a Hong Kong registered company. There are, however, a few limitations to bear in mind.
Identical or Similar Names
Perhaps most significantly, when naming a Hong Kong registered company, meaning a company incorporated in Hong Kong, the proposed name must not be the same as or confusingly similar to that of another existing company. Under the Companies Ordinance, a company cannot be incorporated with the same name as another existing company. Even if a proposed name is not identical to the name of an existing company, the Registrar of Companies has the power to direct a company to change its name where its name, at the time of its incorporation, is too similar to another company which was already registered.
It is possible to conduct a Hong Kong company name search in the Companies Registry to ascertain whether a proposed company name is the same as or similar to an existing Hong Kong registered company.
Under the Companies Ordinance, a Hong Kong registered company cannot be incorporated with a name the use of which would, in the opinion of the Registrar of Companies:
constitute a criminal offence;
be offensive or contrary to public interest; or
would be likely to give the impression that it is connected with the Government of Hong Kong or the Government of the People's Republic of China ("PRC").
In the latter respect, words such as "department", "government", "commission", "bureau", "federation", "council" or "authority" would generally be regarded as being suggestive of a connection with the Government of Hong Kong or the Government of the PRC.
Restricted Words and Expressions
Under the Companies Ordinance, except with the approval of the Registrar of Companies, a Hong Kong registered company cannot be incorporated with a name that contains any of the following words or expressions:
chamber of commerce
Laws in Hong Kong other than the Companies Ordinance may restrict the inclusion of certain other words and expressions in the name of a Hong Kong registered company. For example, the Banking Ordinance restricts the inclusion of the letters "b-a-n-k" in any name except in the name of a regulated bank and the Securities and Futures Ordinance restricts the inclusion of the phrase "stock exchange" in any name.
Unlike some other jurisdictions, Hong Kong does not provide any means to reserve a name. In the case of a new company, the only way to secure a name is to apply to incorporate a company under that name. In the case of an existing company which proposes to change its name, the only way to secure the name is to register the change of name with the Companies Registry.
Inclusion of the Word "Limited"
The English name of every Hong Kong registered company must end in the word "Limited". The Chinese name must include the Chinese equivalent. Designations such as "Incorporated", "Inc", "Corporation", "Corp" and similar nomenclature used in other jurisdictions cannot substitute for the word "Limited".