Hong Kong companies and China visa issues

One question that we often get from our clients is whether registering a Hong Kong company can help in obtaining a business visa or a residence permit in China. The answer is NO. Although part of China now, Hong Kong is in reality a very separate jurisdiction, as per the “one country two systems” policy. Hong Kong companies are considered as foreign companies in China, and investment from Hong Kong into the mainland is considered as foreign investment. In that regard, operating a Hong Kong firm is not more helpful to get any visa facility for mainland China, than say a BVI or US company.

The proper way to get a one year residence permit in mainland China as an owner of a Hong Kong company, would therefore be to open a representative office in China for that company, if one doesn’t want to invest in a WFOE (wholly foreign owned enterprise). Obviously additional fees will apply. In most cities it will take about 4 to 6 weeks to process the representative office registration.

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