Keywords: Hong Kong, companies ordinance, bilingual names

Since the commencement of the Companies (Disclosure of Company Name and Liability Status) Regulation (Cap.622B) ("Regulation"), a subsidiary legislation of the Companies Ordinance (Cap.622) in March this year, practitioners and compliance professionals have been concerned about its impact on company operation. In particular, they are concerned about early indications from the authorities that full compliance means a company registered by both an English name and a Chinese name ("bilingual names") must use both names in all circumstances where its registered name is required to be displayed or stated under the Regulation.

In response to these concerns, the Registrar of Companies has considered the matter further and sought legal advice. On 24 July 2014, the Companies Registry (CR) published External Circular No. 13/2014, stating that for the purpose of compliance in ensuring that a company is properly identified, CR considers that it is sufficient for a company with bilingual names to display or state either its English name or Chinese name. Of course, such a company may still choose to display or state both its English name and Chinese name.

This is a welcome move for the market and is in line with the general policy of bilingualism in law. The responsiveness of the Registrar of Companies to the concerns of the market should be applauded.

Apart from the above clarification, the CR Circular has also summarised the major changes introduced by the Regulation e.g., the relaxation of the requirement for the display of the company's registered name at the registered office and business venue, and the need to display the registered name and liability status on the company's website.

For further details, please click here to view the CR Circular.

Originally published 25 July 2014

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