Business Registration Number (BRN) in Hong Kong: what is best to know in 2023

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Table of Contents

business registration number in hong kong

Business Registration Number (BNR) in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the most sought-after business destinations in the world, and for good reason. The city is a hub of international trade and commerce, and is known for its low taxes and ease of doing business. If you’re planning to start a business in Hong Kong, one of the first things you’ll need to do is obtain a Business Registration Number (BRN).  

In this article, we will dive deeper into the BRN and its significance in the process of setting up a business in Hong Kong. We will explain the process of obtaining a BRN, the importance of having one, and how it can help in running a successful business in Hong Kong. By the end of the article, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the Business Registration Number in Hong Kong and how it impacts your business operations. 

What Is The Business Registration Number?

The Business Registration Number (BRN) is a unique identifier assigned to businesses in Hong Kong. It is an 8-digit sequence at the front of your BR certificate number issued to businesses in Hong Kong by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). It is used to identify and track the status of registered companies in the region. The BRN is an essential part of conducting business in Hong Kong, as it is required for many legal and financial transactions. In addition, the BRN is used by the government to ensure that businesses are operating in compliance with the law. 

Each BRN is unique and assigned to a specific business, ensuring that there is no confusion between businesses with similar names. This allows for easy identification and tracking of businesses by the government, financial institutions, and other organizations. 

What Are The Requirements To Obtain A Business Registration Number In Hong Kong?

If you’re looking to start a business in Hong Kong, the first thing you should know are the requirements to obtaining a BRN. 

Types of business entities that require a BRN

All companies and businesses operating in Hong Kong must obtain a BRN. This includes sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited companies, and limited liability companies. This applies regardless of the size of the business or the industry it operates in. 

Residency requirements for BRN applicants

In order to apply for a BRN, all applicants must be residents of Hong Kong. This includes individuals who are setting up a sole proprietorship or partnership, as well as the directors and shareholders of a limited company or limited liability company. The residency requirement ensures that all businesses operating in Hong Kong are accountable and accessible to local authorities.

Legal requirements for obtaining a BRN

In order to obtain a BRN, businesses must meet all legal requirements set by the Companies Registry. This includes registering the business with the registry, having a registered office in Hong Kong, and complying with all relevant laws and regulations, such as business licensing, tax laws, and others. Failure to meet these requirements may result in the rejection of the BRN application or the imposition of penalties and fines. It is important for businesses to consult with a lawyer or professional to ensure that they are in compliance with all legal requirements before applying for a BRN. 

What Are The Steps To Obtaining A BRN In Hong Kong?

There are several steps to obtaining a Business Registration Number in Hong Kong that businesses should be aware of. They include:  

Preparation of required documents

To obtain a BRN, businesses must prepare and submit several required documents to the Companies Registry. These may include a completed business registration form, proof of residency for the business owner and directors, a certificate of incorporation for limited companies, and other documents that may be specific to the type of business entity. It is important for businesses to consult with a lawyer or professional to ensure that they have prepared all required documents accurately and completely. 

Filing an application with the Companies Registry

Once the required documents have been prepared, the business registration form and all supporting documents must be filed with the Companies Registry in Hong Kong. This can be done in person, by mail, or online, depending on the preferences of the business. 

Payment of fees

There is a fee associated with obtaining a BRN, which must be paid at the time of filing the application. The fee amount varies depending on the type of business entity and other factors and can be found on the Companies Registry website. 

Timeline for obtaining a BRN

The timeline for obtaining a BRN varies, but typically takes several days to several weeks from the time of filing the application. The exact timeline will depend on factors such as the completeness of the application and the volume of applications being processed by the Companies Registry. 

Issuance of BRN certificate

Upon approval of the application, the Companies Registry will issue a certificate of registration, which includes the business’s BRN. This certificate serves as official proof of the business’s registration and should be kept with the business’s important records. Businesses should also ensure that the BRN is displayed prominently on all official business documents and correspondence. 

How Do I Maintain My Business Registration Number In Hong Kong?

Once you have obtained your unique Business Registration Number, you should ensure that you are keeping the following information up to date: 

Annual return filing requirements

Businesses with a BRN are legally required to file an annual return with the Companies Registry in Hong Kong. This return must include updated information about the business’s status and details, such as changes to the ownership, management, or registered office. Failing to file an annual return can result in penalties, so it is important for businesses to be aware of the deadline and to file the return on time. 

Updating of business details with the Companies Registry

In addition to filing an annual return, businesses must also update the Companies Registry with any changes to their business details. This includes changes to the business owner, directors, registered office, and other relevant information. Failing to keep the Companies Registry informed of these changes can result in penalties, so it is important for businesses to be proactive about updating their information. 

Consequences of failing to maintain a valid BRN

Failing to maintain a valid BRN or failing to comply with the annual return filing requirements and updating of business details can result in significant penalties. These penalties can include fines and legal consequences, such as the suspension or revocation of the business’s BRN. Businesses must take their responsibility to maintain a valid BRN and comply with the associated requirements seriously to avoid these consequences. 

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What Is The Purpose Of A Business Registration Number In Hong Kong?

The Business Registration Number has different purposes. It is important to be aware of what they each are: 

Identification of a business in Hong Kong

The BRN is a unique identifier assigned to a business in Hong Kong, making it possible for various organizations, such as the government, financial institutions, and others, to easily track and verify the existence and status of the business. This helps in maintaining accurate records and ensuring the smooth operation of various processes and transactions. 

Legal compliance

Having a valid BRN is a mandatory requirement for a business to operate legally in Hong Kong. The BRN helps to demonstrate that the business is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations in the region, including but not limited to those related to business registration, taxes, and employment. 

Taxation purposes

The BRN plays an important role in taxation, as businesses must provide their BRN when filing taxes and registering for tax identification numbers. The BRN helps to ensure that the business is properly registered and tracked for tax purposes, helping to reduce the risk of tax fraud and evasion. 

Banking and financial transactions

The BRN is a critical piece of information for banking and financial transactions in Hong Kong. Banks and financial institutions use the BRN to verify the identity and status of a business before proceeding with transactions such as opening a business bank account, issuing loans, or providing other financial services. 

Opening a business bank account

For businesses in Hong Kong, having a valid BRN is a prerequisite for opening a business bank account. Banks use the BRN to verify the legitimacy of a business and ensure that it is in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations before opening an account. 

How Do I Check My Business Registration Number?

You can check your BRN on the GovHK Business Registration Number Enquiry website.  

The Companies Registry is responsible for issuing and maintaining the BRN, so you may also consult it as an authoritative source for information on a business’s BRN.  

By checking the BRN, businesses can confirm that they have a valid BRN and that it is up-to-date, which is important for ensuring legal compliance and smooth operation of the business. 

What are the Differences between a Business Registration Number (BRN) and Company registration number (CRN)?

In Hong Kong, the Business Registration Number (BRN) and the Company Registration Number (CRN) are two distinct numbers used to identify different aspects of a company. The BRN is a unique identifier assigned by the Hong Kong Companies Registry to a business operating in Hong Kong, while the CRN is a number assigned to a company that has incorporated with the Companies Registry. The CRN is used to track the company’s legal status and its compliance with Hong Kong’s Companies Ordinance, while the BRN is used for taxation purposes and for conducting business activities such as banking and financial transactions. 

What If There Are Changes To My Business Registration Number?

Changes to your Business Registration Number in Hong Kong may occur. If you find yourself in that situation, here are the following things to know: 

Reasons for changes to BRN

There could be various reasons for a business to change its BRN, such as changes in ownership, name or status of the business. For instance, a change in ownership structure, such as the addition or removal of partners, could lead to the need for a BRN change. Similarly, a change in the name of the business or a change in the type of business entity, such as from sole proprietorship to limited liability company, would also require a change in BRN. 

Procedures for changing BRN

The process of changing a BRN involves filing an application with the Companies Registry. Businesses are required to provide updated documentation and information as part of the application, such as details of the changes being made, information about the business, and the current BRN. 

Impact of changing BRN on a business

A change in the BRN may have an impact on the financial transactions of a business. This is because a BRN is used for various purposes, including for tax identification, opening a business bank account, and for banking and financial transactions. A change in BRN would require updating the information with financial institutions and other organizations that have a record of the previous BRN. This may lead to temporary disruptions in the business’s financial transactions until the information is updated and the BRN change is complete. 


Starting a business in Hong Kong is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and individuals looking to grow their businesses in a thriving and dynamic city. Obtaining a Business Registration Number (BRN) is an important first step in this process, and it is something that should not be taken lightly. However, with the right guidance and preparation, obtaining a BRN can be a straightforward and manageable process. 

There are many benefits to having a BRN, including being recognized as a legitimate and registered business in Hong Kong, having access to financial and legal services, and being able to easily conduct business transactions. With a BRN, you can take your business to the next level, reaching new heights and expanding your reach. 

So don’t let the process of obtaining a BRN intimidate you. Take the time to research, prepare, and seek guidance from professionals when necessary. The result will be worth it, and you will be on your way to building a successful business in Hong Kong. Remember, with determination and hard work, anything is possible. 

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