Sunday, April 14, 2024

Do you need a company chop in Hong Kong?

All companies have legal papers and contracts worldwide that require a director or someone else with senior status to authorize the documents. 

In certain parts of the world, a signature is all that is required to make papers into legal documents. But in Hong Kong, the question of chops (stamps) is commonly raised and whether you require one as a business owner to validate your firm’s legal documents.

What is a company chop?

A company chop is the rubber stamp of a firm. The phrase “chop” is derived from colonial Indian English; it is only in place in a few countries, including Hong Kong.

Official documents such as contracts, certificates and deeds that need validation generally utilize a chop (stamp). They are engraved with the company’s name and registration number to make it distinctively theirs.

What is the stamp’s function?

Many countries require stating your registration number as a legal requirement on all types of documents, and this is where the stamp/chop comes in. It provides a convenient method for delivering that essential information on deeds, corporate documents and more.

You can think of the company chop in Hong Kong as a business signature. It’s not always needed and an actual signature can suffice in most cases, but there’s no harm in having one!

However, Mainland China is a different story and company chops are more significant. Their government registers business chops and all firms doing business with China should definitely acquire a company chop.

Where to find Company Stamps

Making a business chop in Hong Kong is not difficult – in fact, it’s intentionally made simple.

Several businesses can help you create a unique company look. Selecting a style based on your preferences is entirely up to you, so long as all details are supplied.

The creation process is fast and generally takes two days or so.

Company stamps can also be made at any post office! Many options are available, and you can realistically have one over the weekend.

Documents Legal Status with or without a company stamp

A company stamp used to play an essential part in the past since it could authenticate documents and support their validity. The seal on a paper document indicated that a business was committed to the contract or agreement.

Now, company chops can be substituted by a company director’s signature. Their signature is subject to legal interpretation due to the act or deed performed by that individual in their capacity as a director.

Because of this change company chops are no longer as prominent as they were in the past and aren’t always required. Often, a paper with no stamp might be just as legal as one with a stamp.

Is the stamp a legal requirement?

As mentioned earlier, the stamp is still nice to have but isn’t a legal necessity. They’ve become more of a corporate custom that old-school businesses like to use.

The signature of an individual with authority such as a CEO or CFO is more recognisable and has greater weight than a stamp. 

What about Green Box?

This old system has essentially become obsolete.

The Green Box was used in the past to keep company records, but the need for vast paper documentation or a legal obligation to maintain hard copies is long gone. Across the world and particularly in Hong Kong, paperless filing is becoming more common and the Green Box has consequently become redundant.

The Verdict

The majority of countries will not require a chop, but if your firm has or will have business in mainland China, it is recommended to order a company chop just in case. It’s always best to check if your business destination uses them, whether it’s a necessity or just a custom.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to leave the chop in everyone’s hands, especially those who are unfamiliar with all of your business activities.

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