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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Number of registered companies reaches record high

A total of 815,762 live local companies are listed as at the end of June 2010.

Companies Registry on Sunday said the number of companies registered under the Companies Ordinance has reached a record high. The total number of live local companies registered was 815,762 at the end of June this year, up 43,509 from the number at the end of 2009.

"The number of new companies incorporated continued to rise in the first six months this year, with a monthly record averaging around 11,300," said the Registrar of Companies, Ms Ada Chung.

A total of 67,669 new local companies were registered during the first half of 2010, representing an increase of 17.77% from 57,459 in the second half of 2009 and a surge of 30.22% from 51,965 in the first half of 2009, according to the report.

As regards new non-Hong Kong companies that had established a place of business in Hong Kong and registered under Part XI of the Companies Ordinance, 350 were registered in the first half this year, up 24.56% from 281 in the corresponding period of 2009. The total number of non-Hong Kong companies registered stood at 7,959 by the end of June this year.

On the progress of the development of electronic incorporation of companies, Ms Chung said, "The development of Phase II of the Integrated Companies Registry Information System is now in full swing. We anticipate the launching of the electronic incorporation of companies and a one-stop service for company incorporation and business registration in early 2011. With the new electronic services, the time required for incorporation of a company and business registration will be significantly reduced from four working days to less than one day. This improvement not only facilitates business, but also puts Hong Kong on a par with comparable jurisdictions like the UK and Singapore.

"The Amendment Ordinance also facilitates electronic and website communications between a company and its members. Relevant provisions are expected to be brought into operation later this year. By then, companies can disseminate information, including annual reports, to their members through the companies' websites or other electronic means," Ms Chung said.

Meanwhile, Chung said the government is consulting the public on the draft provisions of the new Companies Bill until 6 August. It aims to introduce the new Companies Bill into the Legislative Council by the end of this year.

The number of charges on assets of companies received for registration in the first half of this year was 19,448, up 10.47% from 17,604 in the second half of 2009. The number of memoranda of satisfaction and releases received for registration in the first half of this year also increased by 0.3% to 14,625, compared with 14,581 in the second half of 2009.

The number of documents received for filing during the first six months of 2010 increased by 4.75% to 920,987, from 879,247 received in the second half of 2009.

A total of 1,509,286 searches of document image records were conducted through the Registry's Electronic Search Services in the first half of 2010, an increase of 0.61% compared with 1,500,085 searches during the second half of 2009.

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