Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA)
Trade in Services
Under CEPA, service suppliers in Hong Kong enjoy preferential treatment when setting up business in most service sectors in the Mainland. Many of these are sectors in which Hong Kong has competitive advantages. The liberalisation measures under CEPA provide Hong Kong service suppliers with preferential access to the Mainland market. The preferential treatment takes various forms, including allowing wholly-owned operations, relaxing restrictions on equity shareholding, reducing registered capital requirements, relaxing restrictions over geographical location and business scope, etc.
Under the Agreement on Trade in Services (the Agreement), Hong Kong service suppliers investing in services sub-sectors under the Agreement in the Mainland, except for those under reserved restrictive measures in the Agreement, establishment and change of companies under the telecommunications and cultural service sectors and financial institutions, establishment and change of commercial presence other than in the form of a company, will be subject to filing of record according to the circular of the Ministry of Commerce (in Chinese only), which can be conducted via the Online Filing Administrative System for Foreign Investment (in Chinese only).
Hong Kong Service Supplier (HKSS)
Both "natural persons" and "juridical persons" of Hong Kong can enjoy preferential treatment offered by the Mainland if they fulfil the definition of HKSS under CEPA. HKSS as a "natural person" means a Hong Kong permanent resident, whereas HKSS as a "juridical person" means any legal entity duly constituted or organised under applicable laws of Hong Kong (i.e. corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, etc.) and which has engaged in substantive business operations in Hong Kong for 3 to 5 years. HKSS as a juridical person should apply to this Department for an HKSS Certificate, and then apply to relevant Mainland authorities for providing services in the Mainland with CEPA treatment. HKSS who wants to enjoy the CEPA treatment as a natural person is not required to apply for an HKSS Certificate