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How to open a business account in Hong Kong?

Are you wondering about opening a bank account in Hong Kong? In order to start operating the business, every owner needs to have a bank account. Though the process of opening a bank account in HK is relatively simple and straightforward, some rules need to be followed.

Technically, “a special administrative region of China”, Hong Kong is renowned as a major business hub and finance center in the Asia-Pacific region. If you are planning to establish a business in Hong Kong, you have to open a bank account. Keep on reading to gather all the important information about opening a bank account in Hong Kong.

Opening Bank Account in Hong Kong

There is a broad range of Hong Kong-based and international banks at your service when you contemplate opening a business account with your business in HK. We have the expertise to assist you with this procedure with banks. As banks may be particular with the information you must provide, please contact us and we’ll take you step-by-step on how to open a bank account efficiently. Below shared is a list of banks you need to be aware of before opting for any banking option.

Banking in Hong Kong & list of major banks

Hong Kong is known as one of the world’s top financial centers with the highest banking institutions’ concentrations. In fact, overall, 70 out of the 100 largest banks are situated in Hong Kong, offering services and products to address local and international needs.

There are 164 licensed banks, 17 restricted license banks, and 13 deposit-taking companies, constituting a total of 194 authorized institutions. Apart from these banks, there are 42 local representative offices of foreign banks present. Hong Kong banking systems follows a three-tier system that every entrepreneur should be aware of:

  • Licensed Banks – Licensed banks offer companies and individuals with saving and current accounts facilities. These banks don’t impose any restrictions on the acceptance of the deposited value. HSBC, DBS, and Hang Seng banks are the largest common licensed banks in Hong Kong.
  • Deposit-taking Banks – The deposit-taking banks are associated with the deposit-taking companies which can deposit at least HK$100,000, with an original maturity term of at least three months. Some common types of deposited-taking banks are Public Finance Limited, Fubon Credit (Hong Kong) Limited, BCOM Finance (Hong Kong) Limited, etc.
  • Banks with Restricted License – These types of banks are engaged in the capital market and merchant banking activities. The restricted license banks are Bank of America Securities Asia Limited, J.P. Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Limited, Allied Banking Corporation (Hong Kong) Limited, Citicorp International Limited, Goldman Sachs Asia Bank Limited, and others.

List of Banks in Hong Kong

Thinking of establishing a new business entity in Hong Kong? Are you aware of the types of corporate banks you can choose for your business? If not, check out the list of major banks in Hong Kong.

Always remember that before selecting a bank for your business, you should gather all the important information about its operations. Every bank has its own procedures and requirements for opening a bank account.

Below is a list of banks based in Hong Kong but each of them has different functions and not all of them are for SMEs. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all method, which is why you must understand your own company needs in order to be matched with a bank that will meet them. Because this process can be confusing or daunting, you can rest assured we have the experience and knowledge to assist you. Contact us today!

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Application Process for a New Business Account

There is a proper process to apply for a bank account in Hong Kong that needs to be followed adequately. In fact, you have to be quite aware of all the banking needs and requirements. As per your business objectives, you can choose the best bank that matches those demands. Let’s have a look at the process involved in opening a business bank account.

Step 1 – Research Bank Institutions You’re Interested In

The first and foremost step is to start searching for banks you may go with in Hong Kong. Select the bank that offers facilities that match your business objectives. You can also share your ideas and requirements with a great agency like Startupr. We will help you find out the best banks and benefits for your business.

Step 2 – Choose The Appropriate Business Account

There are certain capabilities that all bank institutions have in common but in addition to providing business checking and company credit cards, some banks also offer payment processing services, payment services, and retirement accounts. Make sure the business account contains the advantages you want for your business. We can help you make the right choice by introducing you to the bank and ensuring the bank’s offers match the nature and transaction of your business.

Step 3 – Fill Out the Application

The next step involves filling out the selected bank’s application to apply for a business account. You’ll also need to submit an application along with a set of CPA-certified documents (NNC1 Incorporation form, Articles of Association, Certificate of Incorporation, Business Registration Certificate). These CPA-certified documents are available for $125 USD + $95 USD DHL delivery cost.

Step 4 – Submit Your Business Documents

The next step involves submitting application documents along with a valid copy of the certified passport by CPA, company secretary, or CPA to the bank. Here Startupr can help you prepare and submit all the desired copies signed along with the company registration copies. You also need to prepare some questions:

  • What is the nature of your business?
  • How long has your firm existed?
  • What is your business address?
  • How many current employees do you have? What is or would be the trading currency?
  • In which countries will you provide services or products?
  • What is your customer base?
  • What is your expected annual turnover?

Step 5 – Processing Time

It usually takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour for the bank officer to examine all the submitted documents and applications with the set of questions they have asked from you. Once the appointment is done, the application will be sent to an internal division for further review. If it gets approved, the account may be opened at once or within 10-15 business days, depending on numerous factors. Always remember that the approval of the business account depends on the bank’s own process and decision.

Documents required to open a bank account in Hong Kong

Some documents need to be prepared during the process. In the Due diligence process, companies have to prepare the documents to match the bank process. Always remember that HK banks have different requirements that need to be met. Be prepared with the below-shared documents as they are the most common ones banks ask to provide.

Company Documents

Each bank account opening process would demand these below-shared documents:

Remember that all of these documents should be verified by the Company Registry and the copies that are sent to the bank have to be signed by the CPA. Startupr will help you take care of all the details and assist you in opening the bank account.

For personal bank account opening

The most obvious documents are as follows:

  • Passport
  • Proof of Address: It can be either a driver’s license, or any recent utility bill that shows your address and name.

For Business Bank Account Opening

Some documents need to be prepared by business owners. These documents are not the company registration documents or other documents that have been mentioned above. In fact, these documents should outline your business transactions, business plan, and what services you are offering to the clients.

As these documents will help the bank officer to understand the business nature and your required experience, it would also help bank officers determine how long your business would take to reach higher-level goals. Below shared are the documents needed:

  • Received or issued invoices
  • Business Plan with business description
  • A business certificate of the previous firm
  • A letter attesting to your professional standing
  • Agreement with the suppliers if there is any.
  • A reference letter from the previous bank that knows you and your business, if you had.

How do I open a business account in Hong Kong as a non-resident entrepreneur or business owner?

Hong Kong permits all the business owners to open a bank account, irrespective of the fact that they are resident or non-resident. The documents are almost the same for both types of entrepreneurs. But there are some additional requirements for verification purposes as compared to a local resident that needs to be met. Here are the two most popular ways of opening a bank account in Hong Kong as a non-resident. If you want to set up a business, here is a way out:

Open Bank Account in Hong Kong (Remotely) Without Visiting HK

You must have heard from some people that they can’t open a Hong Kong account remotely. But this is just a myth! In reality, overseas customers can open a bank account in Hong Kong by following several ways.

However, one in-person requirement creates a hurdle or inconvenience for non-residents, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. All the applicants are required to be present in the bank for the application interview in Hong Kong. There is a slight chance opening a bank account remotely is possible, but it is very slim and holds many challenges.

Apply with a HK branch of your bank

If you are a non-resident of Hong Kong and still want to open a bank account, you can opt for the ”branch application” as one viable solution to reduce the complexity issues. They can opt for a global bank with offices around the world and a foothold in Hong Kong. HSBC and Citibank are both examples of such globally-recognized institutions.

In this way, they can complete all the desired documents before arriving in Hong Kong to complete the final steps to open a bank account. Always remember that only a few banks offer this option, and individual banks might have their own policy regarding this matter. Therefore, you would be advised to consult a trusted banking introducer to learn more about this option at your nearest bank’s branch. Again, the success rate of this is very low, so please be mindful of this when considering it during your application.

Set up virtual bank accounts in Hong Kong

Virtual banking in Hong Kong is seeking the attention of every entrepreneur. It is a new type of self-service in mobile banking that facilitates business founders to operate their business anytime, anywhere.

The virtual banking services’ primary purpose is to deliver retail banking services through an electronic medium instead of the physical traditional type branches. It allows remote registration for the bank account opening without any hassle. After all, modern technology should be utilized to streamline the traditional process and everything completely done online.

Open Overseas/Offshore Bank Account for Hong Kong Company

The overseas or offshore banking facilities are absolutely legal in Hong Kong and highly beneficial to the companies. Therefore, turn a deaf ear to all who are advising you not to opt for this . An offshore account offers more legal diversifying options by putting down the risk over your capital funds. In fact, the success rate for opening an overseas or offshore bank account is higher than the other kinds of a bank account.

Why choose offshore banks?

As stated above, if you are opting for this, it is neither good nor bad. In fact, you enjoy the maximum benefits of opening a bank account in Hong Kong. Below shared are some benefits that an international bank offers to business founders:

  • High Approval Rate – One of the main benefits is the high approval rate. Some banks don’t approve the business bank account application easily. The international banks allow business founders around the world to share the benefits of having a bank account in that country.
  • Multi-Currencies – With an international bank account, entrepreneurs can also enjoy the benefits of operating their business transactions in various currencies. Now, you will no longer have to face the issues to deal with each deal’s financial commitment.
  • Flexibility to Access the Accounts – Another primary benefit is that it offers the customers maximum flexibility regarding account usage. No matter where you are in the world, you can access the funds from ATMs or perform online transactions at any time.
  • Political and Economic Stability – An offshore bank account also offers business founders to benefit like political and economic stability towards the assets. In this way, the funds will be secured in a country that has more significant economically stable jurisdictions.

Looking to open a bank account in Hong Kong?

This article is all about the process and benefits of opening a bank account in Hong Kong, whether you are resident or non-resident or whether you want to go with globally-recognized or offshore banking institutions. If you need any assistance regarding the opening of the bank account, head over to Startupr. We are one of the leading company secretary service providers in Hong Kong, and we’ve partnered with some of the major banks in Hong Kong. We can help you start opening a bank account in Hong Kong and gathering all the required documents. Contact us now!