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Business Name Availability

Updated: Apr 15, 2023

Business Name Availability
Business Name Availability

Knowing if the Company Name You Intend to Use is the Same as the Name in the Index of Company Names Kept by the Registrar of Companies or Has Already Been Used by Another Company

You can conduct a free company name search through the Companies Registry's Cyber ​​Search Center or Company Search Mobile Service.

Please use the "Exact Name Search" mode and enter the full and exact company name you want to register, including all spaces, punctuation and ending words, such as "Company", "Company Limited", "Limited", "有限公司", "公司", etc. Exact Name Search results will display the current name of the live company that exactly matches the characters entered. Only English or Traditional Chinese characters can be used as the search language. Entering other languages ​​or Simplified Chinese characters may cause incorrect search results, because the system will display the message "No matching records found".

Please use the "Left Partial Search" mode and enter any number of initial characters of the intended company name. Please do not enter ending words such as "Company", "Company Limited", "Limited", "有限公司", "公司". The search results will display the current and old names of all companies that contain the same initial characters regardless of the company's active status and company type. Only English or Traditional Chinese characters can be used as the search language. Entering other language or Simplified Chinese characters may result in incorrect search results as a "No matching records found" message will appear.

Choosing a Name Your Want for Your Company

There are some restrictions on the registration of a company name. Generally speaking, a company name will not be registered if:-

  1. it is the same name as appeared in the Index of Company Names kept by the Registrar of Companies (“Registrar”);

  2. it is the same as a corporation formed or incorporated under the Ordinance;

  3. in the opinion of the Registrar, its use would constitute a criminal offence; or

  4. the Registrar considers the name offensive or contrary to the public interest.

Additionally, some business names require registrar approval before registration. These include names containing any of the words or expressions listed in the Companies (Words and Expressions in Company Names) Order (Cap. 622A), as well as names which may give the impression that the company is in any way connected with the Central People's Government or the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or any department or agency of any government.

In addition, unless agreed to by the Registrar, the same name as that already subject to a change of name instruction issued by the Registrar will not be registered.

Company names that contain English words/letters and Chinese characters will not be registered. The Chinese company name of the local company must be in traditional Chinese characters. Companies can be registered with a Chinese name only. A company can also be registered using an English name only or both an English name and a Chinese name.

Although the word "Ltd" is considered to be the same as "Limited", Section 102 of the Companies Ordinance stipulates that the last word of the English company name of a limited company must be "Limited".

Determining if One Company Name is "the Same" as Another

Certain words and their abbreviations are ignored when determining whether one business name is "the same" as another. These words include the definite article, which is the first word of a name, and "company", "and company", "company limited", "and company limited", "limited", "unlimited", "public limited company", words such as "公司", "有限公司", "無限公司", "公眾有限公司", etc. appearing at the end of the name. The type or case of letters, spaces between letters, accents and punctuation marks will be ignored.

The following words "and" and "&", "Hongkong", "Hong Kong" and "HK", "Far East" and "FE" are deemed to be the same respectively.

In addition, one Chinese character will be regarded as the same as another Chinese character if the Registrar is satisfied that the two Chinese characters can reasonably be used interchangeably as they are used in Hong Kong.

Knowing if the Company Name You Intend to Use is the Same as the One Subject to a Change of Name Direction Issued by the Registrar of Companies

You may perform a search (free of charge) on the listings containing these old company names by clicking on the "hyperlink" provided on the screen displaying the company name search results.

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