Business bank accounts in Hong Kong used to be an easy thing to create. However, recent developments have made it more challenging. South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong used to be the leading business city in Asia. Due to its proximity to mainland China, it serves as the perfect base to access one of the biggest markets in the world.

While the opportunities cannot be doubted, the need for a corporate bank account is one thing that turns off potential entrepreneurs in Hong Kong. It used to be easy to open an account, but now, that is no longer the case.

 Business Bank Accounts In Hong Kong: What You Should Know

Important facts about opening a bank account for your Hong Kong business

So before you start your company, make sure you understand what it takes to open a business bank account in Hong Kong. Here are the important details that you need to know:

Required documents

These are the documents you need to complete, depending on the type of business structure you have. These documents should all be certified by a licensed professional (e.g. accountant, lawyer, banker, etc.).

  • A completed corporate bank account opening form that is signed by authorised representatives of the company.
  • Proof of the board resolution that approves the opening of the bank account.
  • Certified true copy of the Certificate of Incorporation from the Companies Registry.
  • Certified true copy of the Business Registration Certificate from the Inland Revenue Department.
  • Certified true copy of the Articles of Association.
  • Declaration from the director along with the list of trustees and principal shareholders (those who control more than 10% of the voting rights of the company).
  • Hong Kong ID or passport, utility bills (to prove residency), and former names (if applicable) for all director signatories, principal shareholders, and beneficial owners.
  • List of signatures of all that the authorised signatories with a bank reference letter.
  • Business plan or financial statements (must be audited).
  • Organisation chart to show the shareholdings of principal shareholders and beneficial owners of the business.
  • Information about the ultimate beneficial owners (e.g. trust deed or declaration of trust).
  • Certificate of Incumbency and Certificate of Good Standing (only for offshore companies).

Initial deposit

This will vary depending on your bank of choice. The initial deposit is usually HK$5,000. This is usually required when you submit the documents to the bank. Take note that you can choose to deposit a larger amount but not lower than what is required.

Expect due diligence

All Hong Kong banks are required by the authorities to follow the “KYC policy” when opening a new account with a client. The initial due diligence is evident in all the signatories and documents that will be requested by the bank. Most banks in Hong Kong will require the directors and principal signatories to be present in the region during the opening of the business bank account. In case one of the signatories is offshore, it is still possible to proceed with the opening of the account if the signatory goes to a branch of the same bank in that location and sign with a witness present.

Interview with a banker

An interview is also required to complete the application process. This is why business representatives have to set a face-to-face meeting with the banker. In this interview, the banker will ask you about your business, clients, and suppliers.

These sets of questions can be a problem for start-ups since they cannot start the business without business bank accounts. Some experts suggest doing a couple of test runs of the product or service with family or friends. This should help start-ups answer the interview questions.

Even though opening an account can be challenging, you have to understand that banks are just protecting their interests from money launderers. This is something that you need to be aware of so you can comply with the strict procedures of opening a corporate bank account in Hong Kong.

Corporate bank accounts you can open in Hong Kong

Here are some banks that you can go to for business bank accounts in Hong Kong:

HSBC

This bank offers both current and foreign currency accounts. The initial deposit for both is HK$5,000. You have three options: Business Direct, BusinessVantage and BusinessVantage Plus. The BusinessVantage option will require you to maintain HK$500,000 in the account. If the amount goes lower than that, you will be charged a monthly amount of HK$75 to HK$150.

The accounts come with an ATM, and the daily withdrawal limit is HK$20,000. You have the option to apply for a credit card or a chequebook (HK$ or US$). The bank has an online banking feature that allows you to transfer up to HK$500,000 and HK$1 million. It also offers insurance, loans, accounts payable/receivable services and even trade financing. You only have to pay HK$100 to set up this corporate account.

Hang Seng Bank

Like HSBC, this bank offers both current and foreign currency accounts, with an initial deposit requirement of HK$50,000. The average monthly balance requirement is lower at HK$50,000. If you end up with a lower balance, you will be charged HK$150 on a monthly basis.

The bank also offers an ATM (daily withdrawal limit of HK$20,000), a credit card and a chequebook (HK$ and US$). They also offer internet banking that allows transfers of up to HK$500,000 and HK$5 million. The bank provides insurance, loans, trade financing and services for both account payables and receivables. The set-up fee is HK$100.

Bank of East Asia

Also known as BEA, this bank offers two types of business bank accounts: current and foreign currency. Like Hang Seng, the initial deposit is HK$5,000, which is also its minimum balance requirement. If your balance is lower, you will be charged HK$50 monthly. Like the other two banks, you can get an ATM service (daily withdrawal limit of HK$20,000), a credit card and a chequebook (HK$ and US$).

Their internet banking will allow you to transfer between HK$50,000 to HK$2 million. The other services that they offer include insurance, loans, and trade financing. They can also help you with accounts payables and receivables. To set up the account, you have to pay HK$150.

There are various other banks offering business bank accounts in Hong Kong. Make sure you conduct a thorough research on what they offer so you can set up an account with a bank that understands your needs and can help you meet your business goals.

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