Do You Need a Company Chop/Stamp in Hong Kong?
8 minute read
Each business has to render legal documents and contracts, this practice being common 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?
- Where can I get a company stamp?
- Legality of documents with vs. without a company stamp
What is a company chop?
A company chop refers to a company’s rubber stamp. The term ‘chop’ is a term coming from colonial Indian English and it is common to a small portion of jurisdictions, Hong Kong included. The chop (stamp) is used to validate official documents such as contracts, certificates, deeds, and so on. It usually has the name and registration number of the company engraved on it.
What is the stamp used for?
Companies apply stamps to validate documents that need to be executed as a deed, issue corporate documents such as share certificates, and communicate information required by law.
Many countries have a law about companies stating the registration number has to be legible on all kinds of documents. It is possible to use a letterhead or stamp/chop that has these details included.
In simpler terms, a Hong Kong company chop is like a business signature. This means that a chop may not always be a necessity.
In Hong Kong, you can either use a company chop or your signature. However, a stamp is often not required and in most cases, a signature can replace a company chop.
On the other hand, company chops have more significance in Mainland China. This is due to the fact that company chops in Mainland China are registered with the government.
Hence, all companies based in Hong Kong that do business with China should have a company chop.
Where can I get a company stamp?
Fortunately, it is 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.
- Finally, you can also order your stamp through Sleek if you are our client.
Legality of documents with vs. without a company stamp
Back in the day, 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 or act.
However, nowadays, the documents signed by directors alone can be subject to legal interpretation as the act or deed carried out by the individual on behalf of the company.
This is why company chops are no longer as important as they used to be. Moreover, they are not necessary in 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, it is rather an optional choice. A company chop is more of a tradition than something mandatory.
As mentioned above, 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.
Back in the day of typewriters and handwriting, Green Box was used for keeping company records together with the stationery. However, today there is no need for extensive paper documentation or legal requirement to keep hard copy record.
Instead, paperless filing is encouraged across the globe, especially in Hong Kong, which is a leading commercial center. Therefore, Green Box is no longer in use.
Our recommendation To be safe and secure when doing business both with Mainland China and other countries, it would be best to create your company stamp.
Most of the countries worldwide will not require a chop, but if your company has or will in the future have business with companies in mainland China, 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.