HK Investment Visa

Centre O VISA ARRANGEMENTS

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Are you thinking about acquiring a Hong Kong Investment Visa but don’t have the funds needed to do so? Since June, the Hong Kong Immigration Department offers a range of government-backed programmes to encourage enterprise and innovation. By joining one of these programmes the Immigration Department looks favourably upon an Investment Visa applicant. At Centre O we help our clients every step of the way to give them every chance of a successful application.

The first scheme that is particularly useful for technology start-ups is the Cyberport Incubation Programme. Cyberport is managed by Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited which is wholly owned by the Hong Kong SAR Government. Cyberport assists and strengthens Information and Communications Technology (ICT) entrepreneurs and start-ups by offering financial assistance, support and professional services of all kinds in different stages of enterprise development. The incubation programme provides a wide range of support, including financial assistance of up to HK$530,000, a rent free office space for 24 months, state-of-the-art ICT facilities, and marketing and promotion opportunities such as up to HK$50,000 subsidies on marketing. There are certain eligibility criteria to be accepted onto the start-up programme, including the Incubatee must be a company registered and incorporated in Hong Kong upon admission, the applicant must have a viable business plan for a product or service to be ready for marketing in 12 to 18 months, projects must be rooted in ICT-related areas, the company must have sufficient funds, or plans to raise sufficient funds, for the company to operate for at least one year upon admission to the Incubation Programme, and that projects must have not received and will not receive funding granted by other publicly funded organisations/programmes. Applications to the Cyberport Incubation Programme are accepted all year round, however they are processed in batches. There are no fees involved in the whole application process.

A second programme that is beneficial for acquiring a HK Investment Visa is the Enterprise Support Scheme (ESS). This is a new programme created by the Hong Kong Government to help encourage the private sector to invest in research and development. The funding comes from the Innovation and Technology fund (ITF), and support for each approved project (for which the project period should be no longer than 2 years) can be up to HK$10 million, provided on a dollar-by-dollar matching basis. A benefit of the programme is the recipient company will own all intellectual property rights arising from the project and recoupment of the Government’s contributions is not required. Another benefit of the programme is that if the approved project is 12 months or longer, an added financial benefit that can be applied for is the internship programme to hire up to 2 additional staff for each project. The recipient project can also apply for The Research and Development Cash Rebate Scheme, which means they could receive a cash rebate of up to 30% of the company’s expenditure on the project. Again, there are certain eligibility criteria for applicants. Firstly, the company needs to be incorporated or registered in Hong Kong under the Companies Ordinance, to not be a government subvented organisation, and that the company is not a subsidiary of any government subvented organisation.

The Design Incubation Programme (DIP) is another programme created by the Hong Kong Government, that lasts for 2 years, with the aim to assist successful applicants in a large number of areas, including office premises, business development support, tailor made training programmes and networking sessions with industrial organisations, academic institutes, professional bodies and potential business partners. Applicants from the design disciplines of fashion, branding/packaging, product, jewellery, visual/spacial arts, media and communication, and interior/architecture are welcomed to apply. Office rental for the first 12 months is free and the total financial assistance is HK$260,000. The admission criteria for local applicants onto this programme is to be a permanent Hong Kong resident, already with a startup HK incorporated company (incorporated not more than 3 years before the application date), and be in early stages of development, so that financial and professional support is needed. Overseas applicants must have an overseas incorporated company operating at their respective country of domicile, that hasn’t been incorporated for more than 5 years at the date of application. If the application is improved, a Hong Kong incorporated company must be set up immediately. Other admission criteria is that a shareholder or partner of the application-company must not be a shareholder or partner of a current incubatee or graduated company in the DIP, or other incubation programmes funded by the Hong Kong SAR Government, and that for overseas applications, the application-company must have at least two full-time staff, including at least one representative from his /her country of domicile, working for the Hong Kong-incorporated company before the commencement of the programme. The total processing time is around 11 weeks upon receipt of a completed application.

Another scheme that benefits applicants from many different areas of technology are the incubation programmes operated by Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP). There are three different incubation programmes – Incu-App, Incu-Tech, and Incu-Bio – which are custom-made for start-ups involved in web and mobile technology, technology, and biotechnology respectively. The main objective is to encourage and promote innovation-based entrepreneurship by providing relevant assistance and support. Firstly, Incu-App. This is an 18-month incubation programme which aims to provide support to web/ mobile application technology start-ups. The types of companies that can apply for this programme are web-based companies, smartphone-based applicants, and PC/internet/smartphone/console game companies. There is an Incu-App Centre that is equipped with meeting rooms, pantries, vending machines, networking areas, and office equipment. Each incubatee will be entitled to up to two assigned workstations free of charge throughout the incubation period. The financial aid package for the Incu-App programme is up to HK$300,000. The mandatory admission criteria to this scheme includes that the applicant must be a Hong Kong registered technology start-up company established for no more than 2 years before the date of application, founding team members must hold more than 50% of the company at the time of application submission, that there is a minimum of one full time staff in the company, and all staff must be able to work in Hong Kong legally, at least 50% of full time staff must be engaged in technology related work and there must be implementation of R&D activities at the Centre – the incubatee cannot operate a sales and marketing office only. Finally, the incubatee cannot require more than 1,600 square feet of office space. In general, the processing time is around 26 working days upon receipt of a completed application. A business plan also has to be submitted.

Incu-Tech is the second programme offered by HKSTP. It is a three year incubation programme, which is designed for technology start-up companies, and can help with subsidised rent and various other supporting services. Applications are welcomed in the following areas: Electronics, Green technology, Information Communications Technology (ICT) and Material and Precision Engineering. Below is the financial aid package provided by Incu-Tech:

 

Fund Coverage Amount
Micro Fund Other services provided by external vendors EXCEPT salary, rent (license fee/ management fee), goods purchased such as parts / components of products for re-sale (i.e. work-in-progress), entertainment, local / overseas traveling and matching of our Aid Package, HKSARG and other NGO’s support schemes HKD 45,000
Business Support Fund – Exhibition- Talents (Intern)

– Business Consultancy (incl. ISO)

– Market Intelligence

– Accounting Services

– Product Launch

– Training

HKD 300,000
Technology Support Fund – Lab Services- Licensing/ Joint R & D

– Tech Consultancy

– Legal (General + IP)

– Data Centre/ Hosting

– First@Science Park

HKD 300,000

Total

HKD 645,000

The mandatory admission criteria to this scheme includes that the applicant must be a Hong Kong registered technology start-up company established for no more than 2 years before the date of application, founding team members must hold more than 50% of the company at the time of application submission, that there is a minimum of two full time staff in the company, and all staff must be able to work in Hong Kong legally, at least 50% of full time staff must be engaged in technology related work and there must be implementation of R&D activities at the Centre. The incubatee cannot operate a sales and marketing office only. Finally, the incubatee cannot require more than 1,600 square feet of office space. In general, the processing time is around 11 weeks upon receipt of a completed application. A sound business plan also has to be submitted.

The final programme offered by HKSTP is Incu-Bio. This programme is for purpose of boosting the number of biotechnology start-up companies that need a wet lab environment. The programme offers an independent lab space in the Biotech centres in Science Park, with subsidised rent and a large number of supporting services. Applications from the following fields are welcomed: Biotechnology, Therapeutics/Personal Care, Chinese or Herbal Medicine, Regenerative Medicines, Medical Devices and Diagnostics. Incubatees can enjoy a ready-to-use wet lab at the Biotech Small Enterprise Centre for free in the first yearand with a subsidised rental in the subsequent three years. Each incubatee may have access to a package of financial aid valued at HKD 860,000 during the incubation period.

 

Fund Coverage Amount
Micro Fund Other services provided by external vendors EXCEPT salary, rent (license fee/ management fee), goods purchased such as parts / components of products for re-sale (i.e. work-in-progress), entertainment, local / overseas traveling and matching of our Aid Package, HKSARG and other NGO’s support schemes HKD 60,000
Business Support Fund – Exhibition
– Talents (Intern)
– Business Consultancy (incl. ISO)
– Market Intelligence
– Accounting Services
– Product Launch
– Training
HKD 400,000
Technology Support Fund – Lab Services
– Licensing/ Joint R & D
– Tech Consultancy
– Legal (General + IP)
– Data Centre/ Hosting
– First@Science Park
HKD 400,000

Total

HKD 860,000

The entitlement to the aid package is subject to the successful assessments of the business plan milestones set by each incubatee and agreed by HKSTP. The applicant should meet the following conditions to apply for the Incu-Bio Programme – an applicant must be a Hong Kong registered technology Start-up Company established for no more than 2 years before the date of application, founding team members must hold not less than 33% of the company at the time of application submission, at least two full-time staff in the company; and all staff must be able to work in Hong Kong legally, at least 50% of full time staff must be engaged in technology related work with implementation of R&D activities at the Incubation Centre, it cannot operate a sales and marketing office only. The applicant’s office and work bench set up at the Incubation Centre must be environmentally friendly (i.e. must not create smell, noise or other elements which may disturb others) and should not handle hazardous materials (except in wet labs of Biotechnology Small Enterprise Centre adhering to HKSTP published safety standard and guidelines), and must be able to operate in an office building. Finally, the incubatee cannot require more than 1,600 square feet of office space. In general, the processing time is around 11 weeks upon receipt of a completed application. A sound business plan also has to be submitted.

The running theme throughout all four government-backed programmes is that the applicant must first set up a Hong Kong Limited Company with a registered office address in HK. At Centre O we also provide this service.

Hong Kong Limited Company Incorporation – HK$7200, you’ll get:

– Company Incorporation

– Business Registration

– Incorporation Certificate

– Articles of Association

– NC1

– 1 Set of Certified True Copies for Bank Account opening

– Company Green Box

– Common Seal

– A Round Company Chop

– A Company Signature Chop

– First Year Company Secretarial Service

All that is needed for incorporation is:

1.    Your passport/ HK ID card copy

2.    Commercial address for the company (we offer registered office address services in 2 locations)

3.    Residential address of the person (we accept overseas address), email and contact phone number

4.    Three preferred Company Names for company name search.

The process of company incorporation takes around 2 days, and the company green box creation will take another 3 to 4 days to produce. If you need to setup a company bank account, we can assist in arranging an appointment with your preferred bank (HSBC, Hang Seng

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