e-Registry Aids Peak Company Registration in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s startup-friendly status continues to grow, with the total number of local companies registered in Hong Kong now standing at 1,319, 267.

This growth can be attributed in part to the continued success of the e-Registry service. The 24-hour portal acts as a one-stop platform for company incorporation and registration, allowing users to both register and incorporate their companies online, in the space of less than an hour. Launched in 2011, the 24-hour portal has played a key role in Hong Kong’s rise through the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings: 17,452 of the 71,769 companies registered between January and June were registered using the e-Registry service.

width=640

One feature of the e-Registry process which has proved especially popular with users is the sample articles of association feature, which was used by approximately 60% of companies incorporated electronically in the first half of 2016.

In addition to the ease of setting up a company in Hong Kong, Companies Registry have made it easier than ever to maintain transparency: with the new Company Mobile Search service, company information can be easily accessed via smartphone or tablet.

Alongside the streamlined electronic services, the ease of starting a business in Hong Kong has been significantly increased by the abolition of capital duty levied on local companies and the elimination of the requirement for a company seal, when registering a company.

Registrar of Companies Ms Ada Chung said, In addition, [to the new Company Mobile Search service] the business community widely adopted the new initiatives introduced by the new Companies Ordinance that facilitate business and save costs, such as the alternative court-free procedure for reduction of capital and the new administrative restoration procedure.

Hong Kong now ranks as 4th internationally for ease of starting a business, according to statistics from the World Bank Group.

Changes to company formation rules in the UK from June 2016

Companies House – the UK government agency which acts as the registrar for companies in the UK, has recently introduced some changes which affect the information that needs to be supplied when forming a company in the UK. From 30th June 2016, people establishing new companies need to supply additional information about Persons of Significant Control (PSCs) and Standard Industrial Classification Codes (SICs). There are also additional rules relating to Confirmation Statements, Statements of Capital and Statutory Registers.

PSC registers

UK Companies will now need to identify Persons of Significant Control during the company formation process. The objective of identifying PSCs is to increase transparency over who owns and controls companies in the UK and provide more relevant information to investors.

What is a PSC?

A person with significant control (PSC) or influence, is a person who controls or owns a company.

A PSC is defined as someone who meets one or more of the following aspects:

  • Holds more than 25% of shares in the company
  • Has more than 25% of the company’s voting rights
  • Can appoint or remove the majority of the company’s board of directors
  • Has the right to exercise, or actually exercises significant influence or control over the company
  • In the case where a trust or firm has the same levels of significant influence and control as outlined in the four points above, the person who controls the activities of that trust or firm is also considered to be a PSC

All companies must declare their PSC (or PSCs) as part of the company formation process and then keep a PSC register within their statutory compliance documentation. Existing companies must also update Companies House on their PSC information.

Expert company formation agents in the UK like The Company Warehouse can support start-ups with this process.

SICs

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes are used in the UK to classify businesses into different industries. SICs are aligned with European codes so that the same nomenclature is used across the EU. The changes that have been introduced mean that new companies now need to state an appropriate SIC code during company formation, rather than when filing their first annual returns to Companies House – as was previously the case.

A full list of SICs can be found on the UK Office for National Statistics site.

If you are considering forming a company in the UK, the Company Warehouse can provide expert support and advice and help you to identify the correct SIC codes for your business.

Confirmation Statements

Confirmation Statements have now replaced Annual Returns and need to be completed every year. This change mean that Companies House will now tell companies what it believes to be the correct information about them which they will need to confirm – or identify any necessary changes.

Additional changes

There are a number of other significant changes which were introduced into law in the UK on 30th June. These relate to Statement of Capital and also the statutory registers that all companies need to keep. Statements of Capital have been simplified to improve the quality of information in them and it is now possible to have company registers stored centrally at Companies House.

If you are considering setting up a company in the UK, The Company Warehouse is a registered filing clerk and expert on company formation and will support you throughout the process and help you to comply with the 30th June changes.  Take a look at their web site for more information or contact one of their expert business consultants direct.

University of Edinburgh Startups Continue to Multiply

Universities are fast becoming a lot more than just institutions for further education. Gone are the days where they simply offered students the opportunity to gain further skills and qualifications before embarking on their chosen careers.

The growth in commercially focused research and development at many of the UK’s universities has seen them become hugely valued resources among young entrepreneurs who wish to start their own businesses. With departments dedicated to helping with things like product innovation, business mentoring and even the company formation process itself, some Universities could almost be mistaken for company formation agents in their own right.

This is certainly the case at the University of Edinburgh, which has reported a record number of company formations in the past 12 months, taking the total created over the past five years to 184. Bosses have revealed that the institution formed 44 start-ups and three spin-outs last year, with investment in university-founded companies also hitting a record high to the tune of £237 million.

It is over 40 years since Edinburgh established its first spin-out, and since then the university claims to have created a total of more than 400 start-ups and spin-out companies. Of the businesses formed over the past five years, the total number of people employed is said to be 343.

One of the most high-profile success stories to emerge from the university has been pureLiFi, a high-tech spin-out whose light-enabled internet technology has been incorporated at the home of the current NBA basketball champions, the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, California.

Grant Wheeler, head of company formation at Edinburgh Research and Innovation, the university’s commercialisation arm, attributed the performance to Edinburgh’s emergence as the largest technology hub outside London with the university and its enterprise scene at the centre.

“Whether it’s from the world-class research base or from the student entrepreneurs, we’re seeing new companies being formed here and in record numbers,” he commented.

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, principal of the university, added: “Edinburgh is amongst the most entrepreneurial universities in the United Kingdom. The first-class support provided by the university and the wider enterprise support network play an important role not only in the student experience but in delivering impact for the world-class research coming out of our university.”

With more and more Universities striving to emulate Edinburgh, it seems only a matter of time before company formation and business support services become as embedded within institutions as the courses they offer. Who knows, maybe we’ll be listing university reviews on here one day?

Are you setting up a company in the UK? Our directory lists approved company formation agents that can help you, and post reviews of their services so you can make an informed choice about which one to use.

Ease of Doing Business in Singapore Attracts New Formations

Singapore has long been regarded as a commercial hub of global significance. It should come as little surprise therefore that new business formations saw an increase of 9% in Q2, proving that the fall reported in the first three months of 2015 was nothing more than a blip.

Hawksford Singapore, who has been publishing the quarterly Singapore Business Formation Statistics report since 2010, revealed that 15,964 new businesses were registered in Q2 and cited the growth in business formation as evidence of the international confidence in the island city-state as a global business centre.

With its strong business friendly practices and strategic location primed for tapping into expanding Asian markets, Singapore continues to attract foreign investors and enterprises. Over a third of the new businesses formed in Q2 had foreign shareholders; while a total of 47 new foreign company branch offices were set up – a quarter-on-quarter growth of 11.9%.

Entrepreneurs continue to take advantage of the favourable share capital threshold outlined in the Singapore Company Act, which stipulates that businesses can be formed with share capital as low as S$1. Such an attractive piece of legislation helps to explain why nearly 75% of the businesses formed were done so with less than $10,000 share capital.

Singapore continues to be a popular location for the subsidiaries of international enterprises, with the share of US companies setting up subsidiaries having increased in the quarter by 2%, to 5%.

The dominant type of business structure remains the private limited company, which accounted for 54.7% of the total business formations. Sole trading was the second most popular way of running a business, with 6,021 entrepreneurs electing to form their business under this structure. This particular category witnessed an 18% quarter-on-quarter growth and contracted by over 20% on a year-on-year basis.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Ms. Jacqueline Low, COO of Hawksford Singapore, was bullish about the prospects for further growth in new business formation despite a less than favourable economic climate.

“For the second half of 2015 we anticipate the economic growth to remain muted, yet the business incorporation numbers will continue to grow at the present level aided by strong domestic consumption, sustained recovery of the west and the regional growth pockets,” she commented.

 

Are you looking to form a company in Singapore? Company Formation Agents is a global directory where you can find an agent to help you set up your company correctly.

Millennials Are More Likely to Be Entrepreneurs, Report Finds

Any accusations that young people around the world today in general do not possess the same drive and business acumen as previous generations are wide of the mark. That’s the official view of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), whose latest special topic report – entitled ‘Future Potential – a GEM perspective on youth entrepreneurship 2015’, found that across five world regions, the youth of today are 1.6 times more likely to form their own company than adults.

The report analysed data from sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Middle East and North Africa(MENA), South and East Asia (S&EA), Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and the European culture countries (ECC) and provides a fascinating insight on what motivates young entrepreneurs and the factors that determine success or failure in these regions. It defines youth as people aged between 18 and 34 years of age, and assesses the impact of inter-generational, gender and regional differences in drawing its conclusions.

Characteristics

While young people in all of the regions analysed were found to be typically more active in starting new businesses than adults, their enterprises are likely to generate significantly fewer jobs (73% of companies run by young people under 24 years of age are one-person businesses) revealed Thomas Schøtt, Professor in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management at the University of Southern Denmark and lead author of the report.

Startups that have survived beyond their first three-and-a-half years are also less likely to be run by young people, with adults over 34 years of age 1.7 times more likely to be in charge of mature businesses.

Young men are 1.3 times more likely than young women to form companies and 1.6 times more likely to be running mature businesses. They are also twice as likely to provide employment for more than five people, compared with their female counterparts.

The report also shows profound differences in the entrepreneurial traits of young people from region to region, with youth in SSA much more likely to express an intention to start a business (52%) and much more likely to actually form one (28%) compared to young people in the ECC region. Just 19% of youth in that region make their entrepreneurial intentions clear and this drops to less than 10% for the proportion that have actually acted on them (measured as a percentage of the adult population).

Schøtt concluded that the research highlights the importance of finding ways to make youth startups more sustainable and to identify and support businesses that are both rich in potential and primed for job creation.

Helps and hindrances

A consistent finding of GEM research over the years has been a strong link between general education and training in starting a business and entrepreneurial behaviour. Encouragingly, this particular report confirms that young people across all regions are now more likely to be educated, a statistic that is enhanced further by the fact that training in schools specifically around entrepreneurship has more than doubled from one generation to the next.

Nevertheless, the report also states that much more needs to be done to create an environment that allows young entrepreneurs to flourish, specifically with regards to access to finance and IT infrastructure. An example is the underutilisation of e-commerce in all regions bar ECC and to some extent MENA, most notably in SSA where just 16% of young people are selling products or services online.

If you want to demonstrate your entrepreneurial credentials by starting your own business, the Company Formation Agents directory can help you find the right company formation agent.