Are you passionate about making a positive impact and contributing to the greater good in Hong Kong? Iff yes, then establishing a Non Profit Organization might be your calling. In the vibrant and diverse city of Hong Kong, a non-profit business plays a crucial role in addressing various societal, environmental, and cultural issues. These organizations, fueled by dedication and compassion, bridge gaps in society, offering solutions and hope where they are most needed.

Whether you’re considering starting your own non profit organization or looking to support an existing one, understanding the landscape, legal frameworks, and opportunities for this business type in Hong Kong is the first step towards making a meaningful difference.

Overview of the Non Profit Organization in Hong Kong

A Non-profit Organization (NPO) in Hong Kong refers to an entity established with the primary aim of serving the public interest rather than making a profit.

In Hong Kong, NPOs play a crucial role in addressing societal needs and contributing to the well-being of the community. These NPOs span a wide range of sectors, which may include the following:

  • Educational Institutions: This organization is dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities and outcomes for students, often focusing on under-served communities or specialized areas of study.
  • Health organizations: Health-focused NPOs work to improve public health and provide medical services and support such as hospitals, clinics, or support groups. They may also engage in public health campaigns and medical research.
  • Cultural associations: This type of NPO strives to preserve and promote the city’s rich cultural heritage and diversity by organizing cultural events, exhibitions, performances, and educational programs.
  • Charities: Charities in Hong Kong are dedicated to providing aid and support to those in need. This includes offering financial assistance, food, shelter, and other forms of relief to underprivileged individuals and families. Charities may also focus on specific causes such as poverty alleviation, disaster relief, and support for individuals with disabilities.

Hong Kong charities that are recognized as institutions or trusts of a public character can be granted tax exemption under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112). To attain this status, organizations must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Be exclusively established for charitable purposes.
  • Serve charitable purposes in one of the four categories:
    • relief of poverty;
    • advancement of education;
    • advancement of religion; or
    • other beneficial community purposes not covered in the first three categories.
  • Benefit the public or a substantial portion of it.
  • Operate lawfully without engaging in activities against national security.
  • Have a written governing document specifying its charitable objectives.
  • Ensure no distribution of income or property among members.
  • Apply all profits and income solely towards the promotion of its objectives.


Moving forward in this article, we’ll primarily refer to non-profit organizations in the context of charities, as it’s these entities that require formal registration and adherence to legal standards set by the government.

Motivation for setting up a non profit organization

Setting up a nonprofit organization can be a fulfilling and impactful way to contribute to society. Here are some reasons why individuals or groups might choose to establish a nonprofit:

Addressing social issues

Nonprofits are often formed to address specific social, environmental, educational, or health-related issues. This allows founders to focus on a cause they are passionate about and make a tangible difference.

Community engagement and support

Nonprofits can unite people, fostering community engagement and support. They can serve as platforms for volunteers and benefactors who wish to contribute to a cause, thus strengthening community bonds.

Fulfillment of personal or organizational mission

Individuals or organizations may have a personal mission that aligns with the objectives of a nonprofit. Establishing a nonprofit allows them to pursue these goals in a structured and impactful way.

Long-term sustainability

Setting up a nonprofit can create a framework for the long-term sustainability of a cause or project. It allows for the establishment of processes, governance structures, and succession plans.

How to fundraise for NPO in Hong Kong?

Another matter that needs careful consideration is that your non profit start up, or how to become a nonprofit organization smoothly, it should secure your funds for it to operate. Here are some strategies we suggest you can start:

Crowdfunding and online donations

In today’s digital age, crowdfunding and online donations are powerful tools for raising money. These methods allow you to reach a wide audience with minimal effort.

You can start by creating a compelling story about your NPO’s mission and what difference it makes. Share this story on social media platforms and crowdfunding sites to connect with potential donors from all over the world. Make sure your donation process is simple and secure, encouraging more people to contribute.

Corporate sponsorship and partnerships

Another effective way to secure funds is by forming sponsorships and partnerships with businesses. Companies in Hong Kong are often eager to support causes that align with their corporate values, as it also enhances their brand image.

Carefully identify businesses that share your NPO’s goals and pitch your projects to them. Highlight how a partnership with your organization can be mutually beneficial. Not only do you receive financial support, but the companies also get positive exposure for their social responsibility efforts.

Organizing fundraising events

Lastly, consider organizing fundraising events. These events can range from small community gatherings to large-scale galas, depending on your resources and network. A must-know about these types of events is that you have to acquire a license from the government to organize one.

The events are not just about raising money; they are also great for building a community around your cause, increasing visibility, and engaging with your supporters.

A noteworthy when planning an event is to keep your audience in mind and create an enjoyable and meaningful experience for them. Remember, a successful event can also lead to more word-of-mouth referrals and greater support in the future.

In Hong Kong, non-profit organizations (NPOs) can choose from several legal entities, each with its own set of benefits and responsibilities. However, among these, forming a Hong Kong Limited Company stands out as an advantageous option, particularly for those looking to establish a solid foundation for their non-profit endeavors. Here’s a breakdown of why opting for a Hong Kong Limited Company can be a wise choice for your NPO:

Distinct legal identity

A Hong Kong Limited Company operates as a separate legal entity from its founders and members. This distinction provides a layer of protection, as the company itself is responsible for its debts and liabilities, safeguarding the personal assets of its members. This structure instills confidence in donors, sponsors, and partners, knowing that the organization is well-structured and credible.

Limited liability

The ‘limited’ in Hong Kong Limited Company signifies that the liability of its members is limited to the amount they have invested or guaranteed to the company. This feature ensures that personal finances are protected, allowing members to contribute to the cause without the fear of risking personal loss beyond their investment in the NPO.

Enhanced credibility

Operating as a Hong Kong Limited Company adds a layer of professionalism and credibility. It reassures donors, government bodies, and partners of your organization’s commitment to governance, transparency, and accountability. This perceived credibility can open doors to more significant funding opportunities and partnerships.

Governance structure

The requirement to have Articles of Association provides a clear governance framework for the charity. This includes the charity’s objectives, membership rules, and how its income will be used, promoting good management and accountability.

Perpetual succession

As a separate legal entity, a company limited by guarantee enjoys perpetual succession. This means that the charity can continue to operate beyond the lifetimes and involvement of its original members, ensuring long-term sustainability and impact.

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How to start a non profit organization in Hong Kong

Here is the general process to start your NPO, or in other words, have your charity organization registration legally:

Step 1: Name reservation and approval

Selecting a name for your nonprofit should ensure it is distinctive, meaningful, and does not violate any current trademarks.

Additionally, it shouldn’t suggest affiliation with government agencies unless you have explicit authorization. You can request approval for the name from the Companies Registry.

Step 2: Appointing director and officers

After finalizing the company structure and gathering all required documents, you can start the process of officially registering your business.

You must appoint at least one director and a company secretary. Directors can be from any country but must be over 18 years old. If the company secretary is a person, they should usually live in Hong Kong. If it’s a corporate entity, it must have a registered office or business location within Hong Kong.

Step 3: Crafting the bylaws or constitution

Setting up your non-profit involves carefully creating its bylaws or constitution. This crucial document acts as the foundation guiding all aspects of your organization’s operations and governance.

It outlines the main mission and purpose, ensuring all activities are in line with these goals. Besides defining the organization’s objectives, the bylaws or constitution covers the details of the structure and procedures, giving a clear plan for its operation.

Step 4: Opening a bank account

Opening a bank account for charities in Hong Kong is a crucial step for efficient charity operations in the region. A bank account is essential for daily tasks like receiving donations, paying bills, and managing staff payroll, simplifying financial transactions, and fund management.

However, opening a charity bank account in Hong Kong can be challenging due to the strict due diligence requirements, which include providing incorporation documents, proof of address, identification details of directors and trustees, and detailed charity information.

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Compliance requirement for NPOs in Hong Kong

Comply with annual reporting requirements

Charities incorporated as limited companies are required to file annual returns with the Companies Registry and, depending on their activities may need to submit audited financial statements.

Below is the detailed list of reporting requirements for charities in Hong Kong:

  • Audited financial statements: Charities are required to prepare audited financial statements for each of their public fundraising activities. These documents must be made publicly available, typically by placing them on a website accessible to donors and the general public. This requirement helps stakeholders understand how funds are being utilized by the charity.
  • Annual returns: Charities incorporated as companies must comply with the Companies Ordinance’s annual return filing requirements. This includes details about the company’s officers, registered address, and members.
  • Annual activity report: Charitable organizations should file an annual activity report to a future charity commission (or equivalent regulatory body). This report would likely detail the charity’s activities throughout the year, providing a comprehensive overview of its operations and achievements.

Tax exemption review and obligations

Charities in Hong Kong that qualify for tax exemption under the jurisdiction’s laws are obligated to fulfill the conditions below

  • Submit accounts, annual reports, and evidence of ongoing charitable activities to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to retain the tax-exempt status.
  • Ensure that their activities align with the stipulations of Section 88 to maintain tax exemption.
  • Profits must not be distributed to members or stakeholders. All earnings should be reinvested into the organization’s mission-driven activities.


In summary, starting a non profit organization in Hong Kong is a promising path for those looking to make a meaningful difference. While it involves navigating local regulations and planning effectively, the potential for positive impact is vast. Focus on clear objectives engagement, and leveraging local support to ensure your non-profit thrives. Your dedication can indeed lead to significant change, benefiting both the community and the broader societal landscape in Hong Kong.

If you have further questions concerning the Hong Kong company incorporation, feel free to contact us at

Disclaimer: While BBCIncorp strives to make the information on this website as timely and accurate as possible, the information itself is for reference purposes only. You should not substitute the information provided in this article for competent legal advice. Feel free to contact BBCIncorp’s customer services for advice on your specific cases.

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