Opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong.

Opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong is a simple yet time consuming process for the bank. In this guide, we will shed more light into the opening process, what it takes and and share comparison data to help you choose the right bank for you.

Opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong

Once you have successfully registered your business in Hong Kong, your next move is to open a business bank account. Hong Kong provides you with many bank options to choose from, both local and international banks. Banks also offer you attractive features such as credit cards, ATM cards, internet banking, multi-currency accounts and more.

Before choosing a bank, we recommend exploring the choices and features, and select the one that is most suitable for your business operations.

What to consider when choosing a bank

There are several factors to consider when you are choosing the best bank for your business, these include:

  • Availability of future support services, such as loans or trade financing
  • Availability of internet banking facility
  • Bank reputation
  • How old is your business?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • Minimum deposit requirements
  • Monthly fees
  • Services and facilities offered
  • What is the nature of your business?
  • What countries do you sell products?
  • What would be the trading currency?
  • What is your current or expected annual turnover?

The process of opening a corporate bank account is very straightforward once you have all documents prepared. Most banks in Hong Kong are very cautious when opening corporate bank accounts for foreign-owned companies. Banks in Hong Kong require a lot of paperwork and may still reject you during the process. In the past, the process for foreigners was somewhat easier. However, as a result of conflicts with foreigners that have happened in the past, the easy access is now not as easy as before. Hong Kong has many strict rules and regulations regarding money laundering and financing linked to terrorist organisations. Therefore, their process can sometimes take time because they want to filter any high-risk clients or high-risk transactions. If your application is not accepted, these may be some of the reasons why:

  • The products or services involved are of high-risk (eg commodities, gambling, remittance agent)
  • The directors, shareholders, ultimate beneficial owners, clients or suppliers are from high-risk countries
  • Multi-layered structure without business reasons
  • The directors or shareholders have no track records of doing the business
  • The directors, shareholders or ultimate beneficial owners failed the background check (eg on the sanction list, politically exposed persons or has committed a crime)
  • Source of income of the shareholders or ultimate beneficial owners is in doubt
  • There is no Hong Kong element in the business plan (ie no suppliers, customers, staff)

If you are rejected, you can file the rejection to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority by sending an email to accountopening@hkma.gov.hk

Requirements

Opening a business bank account in Hong Kong requires several documents which include:

  • An excerpt of the board resolution approving the opening of a corporate bank account.
  • A certified true copy of:
    • The company’s Business Registration Certificate, issued by the Inland Revenue Department
    • The company’s Certificate of Incorporation, issued by the Companies Registry
    • The company’s articles of association
  • A director declaration that provides the personal particulars of directors and principal shareholders.
  • Proof of identity:
    • A copy of the Hong Kong ID card or passport
    • Residential proof, such as utility bills, bank statements and driving licenses
    • Former name or alias proof (if any) for each of the directors, authorized signatories, principal shareholders and beneficial owners of corporate shareholder.
  • A list of specimen signatures of authorized signatories
  • Proof of business:
    • Detailed business plan or audited financial statements
    • Sales/purchases contract
    • Bank reference letter in your country
  • For corporate shareholders:
    • A certified copy of an organization chart that shows the percentage of shareholdings held by each individual and the ultimate beneficial owners of the company.
  • Details of ultimate beneficial owners for nominee shareholders of a company
  • For ultimate beneficiaries who are trusts:
    • A certified copy of the trust deed or declaration of trust with details of the trustees, settlers and beneficiaries

How to open a corporate bank account: Steps

After you have prepared all the documents needed, the steps to open a corporate bank account include:

  • Most banks will require you to make an initial appointment
  • The bank will interview you in order to make sure you are a real company with a feasible business plan, and understand the nature of your business
  • A preliminary review is conducted after the appointment
  • When the preliminary review is approved, both parties will meet to sign relevant documents and bank application forms, and pay the initial deposit
    • Deposits differ based on banks and changes from time to time.
    • Signatories also differ according to bank and time. Some banks accept certified true copies of the shareholders’ identification card. However, some require the physical presence of the director, shareholder, beneficial owner or nominee.
  • The bank manager will send the application for a department review.
  • Once approved, you will be notified and your bank account will be opened

Fees involved

Many banks will charge appointment and application fees. You also need to pay an opening fee of HKD 800 to HKD 1,200 for the processing of your application. If your application is rejected, you will not be able to get a refund. Banks also charge for transactions with other banks both local and foreign, and have fees for withdrawing from ATM machines if you are not a member of the bank. Monthly fees are also charged if your balance is below the minimum amount required. However, fees charged will differ for each bank. If the bank’s exchange rate is lower than the real mid-market rate, you are going to pay more fees than necessary.

How long does it take?

The process of opening a corporate bank in Hong Kong can take 2 to 3 weeks and requires that all relevant people to be physically present when visiting the bank. However, the process may take up to a month or two if the process is not going on as smoothly.

Bank comparison

FeatureHSBCHang Seng BankBank of East AsiaBank of ChinaCitibankStandard Chartered Bank
Account setup feeHKD 100HKD 100HKD 150NoneNoneNone
HKD current account availabilityYesYesYesYesYesYes
Foreign currency account availabilityYesYesYesYesYesYes
Initial deposit

For HKD current account: HKD 5,000

For foreign currency account: HKD 5,000 or equivalent

For HKD current account: HKD 50,000

For foreign currency account: HKD50,000 or equivalent

For HKD current account: HKD 5,000

For foreign currency account: HKD 5,000 or equivalent

For HKD current account: None

For foreign currency account: None

For HKD current account: HKD 10,000

For foreign currency account: HKD 10,000 or equivalent

For HKD current account: HKD 1,000

For foreign currency account: USD 200 or equivalent

Average monthly balance

For HKD current account (Business Vantage): HKD500,000

For foreign currency account (Business Vantage): HKD 500,000 or equivalent

For HKD current account: HKD 50,000

For foreign currency account: HKD 50,000 or equivalent

For HKD current account: HKD 5,000

For foreign currency account: HKD 5,000 or equivalent

For HKD current account: None

For foreign currency account: None

For HKD current account: HKD 10,000

For foreign currency account: HKD 10,000 or equivalent

For HKD current account: HKD 10,000

For foreign currency account: HKD 10,000 or equivalent

Monthly fee payable in the absence of average monthly balance

For HKD 100,000 – HKD 500,000: HKD 75

For < HKD 100,000: HKD 150

HKD 150

HKD 50

None

HKD 400

HKD 100

ATM card availability

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Default ATM withdrawal limit per day

HKD 20,000

HKD 20,000

HKD 20,000

HKD 10,000

HKD 20,000

HKD 20,000

Chequebook facility

Yes, for HKD and USD

Yes, for HKD and USD

Yes, for HKD and USD

Yes, for HKD and USD

Yes, for HKD and USD

Yes, for HKD and USD

Credit card availability

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Internet banking facility for enquiries, local payments, trade transactions, fund transfers, check status of issued cheques, etc.

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Conclusion

Provided that you follow the steps above, opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong will not be a challenge for you. If you need a reliable partner to help you go through this process, Acclime is willing to support you and make the process smooth.

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