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Hong Kong import guide

While Hong Kong is officially part of China, it maintains a degree of independence as one of two Special Administrative Regions (nearby Macau is the other). This status makes it a business-friendly environment that welcomes new companies and makes it easy and efficient to register them. In addition, shares of a company registered in Hong Kong can be 100 percent foreign-owned.

Registering your business as a Limited Liability Corporation is considered an effective option for most companies and can be set up in 7-10 business days. LLCs in Hong Kong enjoy preferential trading terms with China and premier access to markets across a wide range of service sectors.

Hong Kong customs brokers
Since goods arriving at a Shipwire warehouse must be DDP (Delivered Duty Paid, or free of all import taxes or customs clearance charges), Shipwire recommends working with a customs broker to import your products into Hong Kong. While there is typically no legal requirement to hire a customs broker, it is often the most efficient way to clear customs. A licensed customs broker will fill out paper work and obtain the required documentation to complete the import.

You can find a list of licensed Hong Kong customs brokers on this page.

On this page


Register your business in Hong Kong

Foreign-owned companies and LLCs must register with Hong Kong’s Inland Revenue Department within one month of the commencement of operations, regardless of whether the business is operational at that point. Business registration is required, but is not considered a license to trade.

Non-Hong Kong companies
Non-Hong Kong-based companies must do the following in order to register the business in Hong Kong:

  • Fill out company registration form (Form NN1 – “Registered Non-Hong Kong Companies”. Note: subject to change)
  • Fill out a Notice to Business Registration Office form (Form IRBR2 – “Notice to Business Registration Office”. Note: subject to change). Include whether the company has already registered under the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310) and if so, provide the business registration number. If the company is not yet registered, indicate whether it elects for a 3-year certificate and state:
    • Business name (if different from corporate name)
    • Description of nature of business
    • Date of commencement of business
  • Pay the business registration fee and other related fees.
  • Registering online
    You can also register your business online via e-Registry. Once your registration is completed you will be issued a Certificate of Incorporation and a Business Registration Certificate in paper format, or if registration was completed online, as a PDF.

    Licensing requirements
    Hong Kong maintains a free trade policy with almost no barriers on trade. There are no tariffs charged on the import or export of goods. Hong Kong import and export licensing is also kept to a minimum. Licensing is only imposed when there is a genuine need to fulfill obligations to trading partners, or to meet public health, safety, or internal security needs. Note that while there are no import or export charges in to or out of Hong Kong, your product’s destination country may impose import tariffs. One common detail overlooked by importers is that if a product is manufactured in China, then imported into Hong Kong, then sent back to a customer in China, there is an import tariff charged by China.

    Related links


    Confirm your goods can be imported

    Prior to importing your products, identify any regulations on the goods you plan to import. You must have an accurate description of the goods you plan to import before proceeding.

    Determine which country the goods are coming from and in which country they are manufactured and make sure the goods are not prohibited from coming into Hong Kong. You can search articles that have import or export controls here. You should also confirm that your products are not excluded by the Shipwire Acceptable Use Policy.

    Duties, tariffs, and taxes

    You can find a comprehensive list searchable by article, control type, document type, or issuing authority, on Hong Kong’s Trade and Industry Department site. Find out whether your product is subject to import or export controls and fill out the appropriate documents before submitting them to the correct authority. You can also find related documents about dutiable commodities here.

    Import and export declaration
    Other than exempted articles, products must be declared within 14 days of import or export. Refer to the Excise and Customs Department page for related forms, charges, and FAQs.

    Related links


    Understanding shipping in Hong Kong

    Once you have completed the previous steps, send your products to Hong Kong by shipping a small batch of merchandise or a large container, depending on whether you are testing your products in a new market or meeting the demand of existing customers.

    With all of the available options, following the receiving guidelines will enable your products to be shipped with fewer issues. You must define the products you are shipping in your Shipwire account (either one by one or by uploading a spreadsheet); you may include special instructions for breaking down inventory or labeling at this stage. Once your shipping method is confirmed, it is ready to be picked up and sent to the Shipwire Hong Kong warehouse.

    See the related information about import and export clearance here. Clearance documents required to facilitate customs clearance include:

    • Manifests
    • Import / export licence or removal permit (if required)
    • Copy of detention notice (if applicable)
    • Other supporting documents such as bill of lading, airway bill, invoice, packing list etc.

    Refer to the following warehouse guide(s) for shipping capabilities, available carriers and features:


    Understanding pricing

    Shipwire has purposely aligned the way it prices its services with the needs of the fast-growing business. Our pricing is designed to be simple and transparent, to not require any management or oversight on your part, and to reward increased order volume. Learn more about pricing:

    Shipping fees are denominated in US dollars. Shipping rates may fluctuate as the dollar fluctuates. Please read our Terms of Service for more information on shipping price quotes.

    Handling 1 item from Hong Kong is the same as shipping 1 item from any other Shipwire location. For example if you ship 50 orders in one month, split evenly between Hong Kong and Los Angeles. On the 51st order, you upgrade to the next handling level, decreasing your handling price on the following orders for the month.

    Storing 1 pallet in Hong Kong is the same as storing 1 pallet in any other Shipwire location. For example, if your account includes up to 4 pallets of storage. If you store 1 pallet in Hong Kong, and 1 pallet in the Los Angeles, you have 2 pallets of storage left.

    How does Shipwire calculate currency rates?
    The most readily available information on currency exchange rates is based on “interbank exchange rates”. Interbank exchange rates are established in the course of currency trading among a global network of over 1000 banks, and are not available through consumer or retail channels. Consumers may use these rates as a reference, but should not expect to use interbank rates in transactions that involve currency conversion. To obtain actual retail rates, contact your local financial institution or currency exchange.

    If your transaction involves a currency conversion, it will be completed at a retail foreign exchange rate determined by Shipwire, which is adjusted regularly based on market conditions.

    This exchange rate includes a 3% spread above the exchange rate at which Shipwire obtains foreign currency, and the spread is retained by Shipwire.

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