How to open a business bank account in Hong Kong? [Updated]
In Hong Kong, one of the most popular questions these days after a company’s registration is “How to open a bank account in Hong Kong?”. Some may find it difficult to fulfill the bank’s detailed and exact requirements, and other accounts may get rejected at the beginning. New entrepreneurs often ask about bank accounts:
- Why is it difficult to open a bank account in Hong Kong?
- Can they still open their business bank account after rejection?
- What can they do to open a bank account successfully?
- What are the exact bank requirements for opening an account online?
- How to open a bank account in Hong Kong for non-residents?
Get answers to all these questions and make things easier for yourself.
How to set up a business bank account?
Creating a business bank account in Hong Kong is a straightforward process. If you have all the required documents and are aware of the procedures, it just takes about two to three weeks to complete the process. Other members of the company including shareholders, directors, and nominees need to also visit the bank in person.
Here are some of the tips to help you prepare everything to set up your business account in Hong Kong:
- If you or any of your partners need to fly to Hong Kong for completing the account opening process, it is recommended to hire an agency so that they can help you in gathering all the documents and save your
time. Of course, you don’t want to fly all the way to Hong Kong and then realize that you’ve missed any details or documents that are vital for opening the business bank account.
- It is important to know that each bank has its own process for the opening a business bank account in Hong Kong. Hence, the documents required for the account opening may differ.
- The day when you are planning to go to the bank for meeting you need take the company documents that would prove your business existence and registration.
- The documents you need to bring along with you are your proof of residence, your proof of identity and any proof that shows your business activity. These activities may either include your banking history or your business plan.
- If the language is not an international one, many banks ask you to get a certified or translated copy. Also, the bank expects you to provide the proof of the beneficiary owners or the final shareholders, even if they don’t have access to the bank account.
It is always recommended to call up the bank beforehand and book an appointment with them before you give them a visit. With this, you would be told about the documents that are needed for the process of opening a business bank account in Hong Kong, making your complete process much more straightforward.
Documents needed to open an account
To open a bank account for Hong Kong company, you need to carry some company documents along with you during your visit to the bank. Below are some of the standard documents that almost every bank asks for:
- In the beginning, a bank account opening form is required. The form should be filled accurately with all the correct details along with the signature from the authorized signatories.
- Your HK ID card (if you don’t have a valid HK ID card your only option as a non-resident is to apply for a business account with HSBC)
- A certified copy of the Certificate of Incorporation and the Articles of Association of the company issued by the Companies Registry.
- A document of the board of resolution approving the opening of the business bank account in Hong Kong.
- A detailed and well-structured business plan or the audited financial statements along with the list of individual signatures of each authorized signatory along as a valid proof of the business. This business plan should be clear and state which services will you offer, or which goods you are willing to trade.
- A certified copy of the Official Business Registration Certificate issued by the Inland Revenue Department.
- An address proof such as a copy of your passport, driving license, bank statements, utility bills, etc. But these should be less than 2 months old.
- A valid visa.
- A properly described declaration that provides the details of the principal shareholders and the directors. Usually, a shareholder with above 10% holdings attends the bank account opening meeting.
Other Necessary Requirements
- Along with the documents mentioned above, most banks in Hong Kong will require an initial minimum deposit to open the bank account.
- Offshore companies that are opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong are expected to submit a Certificate of Good Standing and a Certificate of Incumbency in addition to the normal documents.
- Almost all banks in Hong Kong expect you to follow the due diligence procedures strictly. Also one of the main requirements is they want the account signatories, principal directors, and shareholders to be physically present in Hong Kong at the time of corporate bank account opening. However, some banks may also authorize the opening of a corporate bank account without the need for directors, shareholders, and signatories to be physically present in Hong Kong. The documents can be signed at one of the bank’s overseas branches in the presence of a witness.
Can a non-resident open a bank account?
Hong Kong is a city that welcomes people from all around the world, so most of its residents are temporary. Due of this reason, opening a basic current account is an easy process, even if you’re a tourist. The process is primarily simple for EU, Australian, and American passport holders; who can open an account almost immediately. For any other nation, the process can take up to 2 weeks to complete.
What are the advantages of opening Hong Kong bank accounts?
If you are still confused whether to open a Bank Account in Hong Kong or not, check how Hong Kong bank accounts are beneficial for your business:
No Tax on Interest: No tax on interest is earned in the bank account opened in Hong Kong. Hence, it is a major advantage for the business bank accounts.
Less Minimum Bank Account Balance: These days the banks have made a strict rule of keeping a minimum balance in the account. In Hong Kong banks, the minimum balance can be as low as 10,000 HKD along with a 100 HKD monthly fee. This usually depends on the bank’s rules and regulations, you can check these policies by either contacting an agency or by personally calling the bank.
Free Capital Transfer: Hong Kong has the most diversified economy; there is no foreign exchange control on the trade. Hence, you can easily go for international capital transfer, including transferring dividend or profit to your homeland without any restriction.
RMB Trade Settlement: The cross-border scheme for RMB trade settlement has evolved since 2009. The Hong Kong banks have been permitted to take care of the RMB agreement for cross-border trading with mainland China. Under the RMB scheme, all the companies in China with an import-and-export license can settle their foreign trade in RMB. The advantage of this is the lowering costs of selling and buying RMB. Also, it gives an opportunity to receive and maintain the RMB trade receipts offshore.
Convenient access to bank account: In this era of mobile banking, it is convenient to handle all your bank accounts, check your account history, transactions and statements in a few clicks. With Hong Kong banks, you can easily access your bank accounts from anywhere and at any time.
Sound Banking System: Due to the presence of many reputed International banks in Hong Kong like HSBC, the Bank of China, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, and HSBC, the banking industry significant in Hong Kong. Also, Hong Kong is reputed for having high-quality regulations of the banking industry. The identity of the account holder and their transaction information is also subjected to a very high standard of confidentiality. So, you can be sure that your data is in the right hands after opening a business bank account in Hong Kong.
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Disadvantages of Hong Kong bank accounts
The one and the only disadvantage of Hong Kong bank accounts is that the approval rates are low and less certain. But if you follow the tips shared, the chances increase, and many allow you to be successful in opening a bank account.
What difficulties can you face while opening a Hong Kong?
Due to the strict rules and regulations on money laundering within Hong Kong as well as FATCA regulations, many account openers may be disappointed. So, if you are being refused to set up a Hong Kong business bank account, these might be the reasons why:
- Your trading accounts do not have any trading history.
- Your business does not have a regular income, have lots of bills and a risky nature considering it as a high-risk business. Banks do not find it safe to open an account of such businesses.
- If you have not done any business or trading with Asia, banks may hesitate to open your account.
- If you live far away from Hong Kong and do business regularly in other countries, it might affect your business account.
- You are a citizen of America. (Note: If you are an American trying to set up a Hong Kong business bank account, there are minimal chances that you might succeed. But it is always recommended not to give up, give it a try at first!)
One of the best tips for this is that you can open up a business bank account in the UK or any other country with the HSBC bank, and develop a six to twelve months of trading with them. With this, the bank is assured of your authorization and thus your chances of opening a bank account in Hong Kong increases.
Other than this, you can increase your chances to be successful in opening a business bank account in Hong Kong by rectifying little things in your business. You can target the adverts at Asian customers to gain their attention, and after this, begin making sales within Asia.
If you have tried all these and still your bank is refusing to open an account, then it might be because the bank is not interested in your business or business plan. Then, there may be no point on pu on that bank and approaching them again and again. You can simply try other banks such as Bank of China or DSB Bank since they have much easier procedures to open a business account as compared to others.
How to open a bank account in Hong Kong for businesses successfully?
Apart from the above standard documents, what would a bank want to see?
The name of the game is reducing your recognized liability in the banks’ eyes. Many banks may request to see originals of:
- Director’s passport (original）
- The Annual return 2017(original)
- Residence address proof
- Business proof, such as contracts, quotation, invoices, shipping notes, etc
It may be quite complex for you as an individual to know if you’re giving the banks the right information? This is to do with crafting your ‘story.’ If you appear as a company who exists, has good standing, stable cash flow, an audited bank account, and who is actively doing business, then, of course, the banks will take this as being favorable.
How to open a bank account in Hong Kong Online?
You can also start the process to set up a Hong Kong business bank account online and even get the application through the web.
Neat provides a modern alternative to a traditional bank account, focused on startups & SMEs. The account opening process is done fully online and directors / shareholders do not need to travel to Hong Kong. Customers get a dedicated Hong Kong bank account number, in their company’s name, to receive payments and disbursements from e-commerce payment gateways such as Stripe, PayPal, Amazon and more.
Customers also have have the ability to transfer money to third party bank accounts around the world at competitive rates. Moreover, Neat provides corporate MasterCards for you and your team to make purchases worldwide, online & offline as well as to withdraw cash at ATMs, all of this at the best exchange rates.
Directors and shareholders do not need to be Hong Kong residents, have a Hong Kong ID, or be physically present in Hong Kong for account opening. All you need to apply for a Neat Business account is a Valid Business Registration Certificate (BR), passport of all directors, passport of all shareholders who ultimately own 10% or more of your company, and a Board Resolution, which can be generated from within the Neat sign up form.
Neat is not a traditional bank, but works with a licensed MasterCard® issuer in Hong Kong, ePaylinks, who is also a holder of a Stored Value Facility “SVF” license issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”). As per HKMA requirements, customer funds are stored in a segregated bank account, in Neat’s case this is at ICBC (Asia), the Hong Kong subsidiary of ICBC, the largest bank in the world by assets. This means if anything were to happen to Neat or ePayLinks, customer funds are safe in the ICBC segregated account. Moreover, Neat has secure and compliant due diligence process, which has won an award by the Hong Kong government.
Account opening and maintenance is free and the application only takes 15 minutes to fill out. Read more and sign up for Neat at https://business.neat.hk.
Conclusion and offshore banks
Hence, with all the tips given above, you can open a bank account in Hong Kong easily. Other than the business bank account in Hong Kong for your company in Hong Kong, you can also open an offshore account, also referred to the international account in another country. This means that the bank account would be in a country where the company has not been incorporated.
If you are looking for a trusted partner or agency to help you with opening a bank account in Hong Kong, you can visit Startupr. Our professionals have years of handling the clients’ Banking Services. Check out our Hong Kong Banking Services.