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How to open a bank account in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is an attractive destination for foreign investors. As a gateway to China, Hong Kong has earned a reputation for being an international business hub for the ease of doing business for foreign companies. Opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong is a straight-forward process, especially if you have all the documents handy.

Having an account in a local bank is vital to setting up your business presence in Hong Kong. Let’s get some insight into the procedures and documents required to do so.

Bank account opening

Excellent cash management facilities, internet banking, and trade financing have made Hong Kong a lucrative destination to do business.  However, before applying for a bank account in a Hong Kong bank, you should be clear about your exact needs and match the same with the facilities and services that each bank offers.

  

You do not need to be a citizen to apply for a bank account in Hong Kong nor are you required to hold an Employment Visa. All you need is an identity proof and address proof. However, businesses, whether local or overseas, must submit detailed information about their proposed business plans and business proof, if available.

 

Banks also require details about company partners, owners of the company with a majority stake, whether the company has an actual place of business in HK and has any employee or not. Apart from this, a formal interview at the bank is mandatory to open a corporate account in Hong Kong. The quorum of directors are required to attend the interview.

The procedure

Most banks in Hong Kong require an initial appointment on your part as they would conduct a preliminary review when you make the appointment. This means the bank may conduct a phone interview with directors or you could be required to share by email the corporate documents with any business proof documents. Some banks might require you to meet in person with original documents.

 

After the preliminary review, you are required to meet the bank in Hong Kong to sign the relevant application forms and documents, and they may enquire more about the proposed business of the company and the anticipated transactions in the bank account in terms of volume and frequency. At this stage, it is not guaranteed that the bank account can be opened. 

 

The bank would conduct compliance review and when it’s cleared, you would be informed of the bank account details and you will be required to pay the initial deposit to the bank account. The time taken to review varies with different banks from 2 weeks to 2 months, so as the amount of initial deposit depending on the bank and the type of business account that the company opens.   

Documents required

To successfully open a bank account, you need to present the following documents.  Banks usually require sight of the originals or true copies certified by professionals acceptable to the bank:

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business Registration Certificate (for HK company)
  • Articles of Association or Constitution
  • Form NNC1 (for newly set up HK company) / latest Form NAR1 plus documents evidencing any subsequent change in company structure (for HK company set up for more than 1 year)
  • Certificate of Incumbency or document from the relevant authority of the jurisdiction providing details of company (for non-HK company)
  • Identity documents and residential address proof of every individual as director/shareholder/beneficial owner/controller
  • Corporate documents of the intermediary layer of companies, if any
  • A complete bank account opening form duly signed by directors and authorized signatories
  • Business plan, background and experience of the owner/director in the same industry, audited financial statements of the holding company (for newly set up company)
  • Business proof like audited financial statements, sets of purchase orders and invoices, bank statements, details of some major customers and suppliers etc. (for company already in business for some time)

Types of banks available

When it comes to choosing the right bank, you might be overwhelmed by the choices, with over 250 licensed banks to choose from in Hong Kong.

 

The simple solution is to open a local bank account in Hong Kong with a large international bank that has a presence here. This includes Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, or Citibank, OCBC, DBS, Bank of China.

Next steps

While the opening and document gathering part can be quite tricky, opening a bank account can be quite straightforward. At Sleek, we are familiar with the requirements of different banks and the procedures.  With every incorporation we can introduce you to our network of bankers in order to help with your bank account opening. Get in touch to learn more.

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