Do you need a company chop/ stamp in Hong Kong?
5 minute read
Each business has to render legal documents and contracts. This is a common practice for most legal systems in the world. These documents need to be authorized by an official stamp or signature of a director or other person with legal authority.
There are some regions around the world where a signature is all that is needed for such documents to be legal.
But what is the case with Hong Kong? As a Hong Kong company’s owner, do you need a company chop (stamp) to render valid documents?
Keep reading to find out more.
What is a company chop?
A company chop refers to a company’s rubber stamp. The official company chop (stamp) is used to validate official company documents such as contracts, certificates, deeds, and so on.
Company chops usually have the company name and registration number engraved on them.
What is the stamp used for?
Companies primarily use stamps to validate documents that need to be executed as a deed, issue corporate documents such as share certificates, and communicate information.
A Hong Kong company chop can often be thought of as a business signature and as such, be used interchangeably. What this means is that an official company chop may not always be a necessity for businesses as many have the option to use either. In most cases, a stamp is often not required as a signature can easily fulfill the purposes of a company chop.
Having said that, company chops have greater significance in Mainland China. This is because company chops in Mainland China are registered with the government. As such, if you are contemplating doing business in Mainland China, we highly recommend you getting a company chop.
Legality of documents with vs. without a company stamp
In the past, a company stamp used to have an essential role because it could validate the documents and support their authenticity. The stamp you would find on a paper document meant that a company was committed to the contract.
Nowadays, the documents signed by directors alone can be subject to legal interpretation as an act or deed carried out by the individual on the company’s behalf.
This is why company chops are no longer as important as they used to be. Moreover, they are not necessary for most situations. In other words, a document without a stamp may be equally valid as one with a stamp on it.
Is the stamp a legal requirement?
No. Following the Hong Kong Companies Ordinance 2014, the use of company stamps is no longer a requirement to validate and authenticate any company document.
Now, the signature of an individual with authority (CEO, CFO, etc.) is often more recognizable and carries more weight than a stamp.
However, even though a stamping chop is no longer required, it still is a mark of identity for a corporation and is often used to stamp important company documents.
Companies can now validate their documents and conduct legal business activities without maintaining a common seal. To build a company, it’s enough to get the signature of two or more directors.
However, it’s still a common practice to use company chops. If a document is signed by a company employee who isn’t a director, the counterparty would ask for the document to be stamped by the company chop.
Types of company chop
The “company chop” is the name for the main chop that is registered and obtained by an entity. This chop is mandatory any time a signed document requires legal authority. The official chop holds the highest level of authority within the company and can be used in a variety of instances.
However, sometimes secondary specific company chops are required, such as:
- Finance chop. This is used when a company wants to manage and open financial accounts or disburse funds. It’s mandatory for any financial actions that are taken on behalf of the company such as, for example, opening a bank account or signing financial documents.
- Contract chop. This chop is used when someone needs to sign and validate a contract with another party.
- Invoice chop. In some cases, issuing tax filings, receipts, and invoices requires the use of an invoice chop to declare a certain purchase is the company’s business expense.
- Electronic chop. The electronic chop is a newer version of the classic company chop and is utilized in digital and online transactions. Electronic chops have the same legal power as physical chops thanks to the Electronic Signature Law of the PRC that was passed in 2019.
- Customs chops. Businesses that operate with imports and exports might be required to hold a registered customs chop so they could engage in cross-border trade and import and export goods.
Where can I get a company stamp?
Fortunately, it’s not very difficult to get a company chop in Hong Kong.
- There are a lot of providers who can create custom company chops for entrepreneurs. It is up to you to choose a design according to your own preferences and provide the necessary information. The creation process usually takes a couple of days.
- You can also create your company stamp at any mailroom store.
An official issuer of company stamps doesn’t exist in Hong Kong, so you’re allowed to make a particular custom Company chop by yourself. Go to a rubber stamp creator, give your organization details and think of your plan, and the creator will make you a company stamp within a few days.
To obtain all the paperwork that is required for a company chop, you will have to work with a corporate expert. In certain cases, you will need to have a chop so you can finalize the registration of a company.
If you want to be safe and secure when doing business both with Mainland China and other countries, our recommendation is to create your company stamp.
Most of the countries worldwide will not require a chop, but if your company does or will do business with companies in mainland China in the future, our recommendation would be to order a company chop to be safe. Just remember not to leave the chop in everyone’s hands, especially those who are not acquainted with all your business operations.
If you need more information about company stamps or you need a chop created, feel free to contact Sleek today.