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Number of companies registered approaches 1.4 million
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     The total number of local companies registered under the Companies Ordinance was 1,383,946 at the end of 2017, up 42,723 from the corresponding figure for 2016, according to statistics released by the Companies Registry today (January 7).

     In 2017, a total of 160,229 local companies were newly registered with the Registry, among which 51,002 were incorporated online at the e-Registry (www.eregistry.gov.hk) via the one-stop electronic company incorporation and business registration service. According to the World Bank's "Doing Business 2018" report, Hong Kong’s ranking in "starting a business" remained third internationally.

     In view of the popularity of smartphones and mobile devices, the Registry launched the free "CR eFiling" mobile application in February 2017 to help users of the e-Registry to submit forms using mobile devices. "With the launch of the final batch of e-forms in November 2017, 'CR eFiling' now covers 13 commonly filed forms ranging from applications for company incorporation and annual returns to forms for reporting changes of company particulars," the Registrar of Companies, Ms Ada Chung, said.

     To bring Hong Kong's regulatory regime in line with international requirements as promulgated by the Financial Action Task Force, the Registry will implement a new licensing regime for trust and company service providers to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. All companies incorporated in Hong Kong, except listed companies, will also be required to maintain a significant controllers register for inspection by law enforcement agencies. "Subject to the passage of the relevant amendment bills by the Legislative Council, we aim to implement the new initiatives in March this year," Ms Chung added.

     In 2017, 1,028 non-Hong Kong companies that had newly established a place of business in Hong Kong were registered under the Companies Ordinance, an increase of 17.62 per cent from 874 in 2016. The total number of registered non-Hong Kong companies reached 10,434 by the end of 2017, up 4.52 per cent year on year.

     The number of charges on assets of companies received for registration in 2017 was 21,394, 11.28 per cent up from 19,226 in 2016. The number of notifications of payments and releases received for registration increased by 6.56 per cent, from 21,532 in 2016 to 22,945 in 2017.

     In 2017, a total of 246 prospectuses were registered, an increase of 17.7 per cent from 209 in 2016.

     The total number of documents received for registration last year increased from 2,681,445 to 2,827,405.

     A total of 4,396,950 searches of document image records were conducted using the Registry's electronic search services in 2017, an increase of 9.19 per cent from 4,027,025 in 2016.

     For details of the statistics, please visit the "Statistics" section of the Registry's website (www.cr.gov.hk).