Regarded as one of the most liberal countries in the world, Hong Kong has one of the highest concentrations of banking institutions in the world. Over 71 of the world’s biggest international banks have their operations in Hong Kong. The financial hub was ranked 4th in the Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI) in 2016. In the last article we discussed why Hong Kong is an ideal location to start a business. The next logical step for a company after setting up a business is to open a corporate bank account. This article gives you information on how to open a bank account in Hong Kong.
Opening a business bank account in Hong Kong is a relatively simple process. But before opening an account, one must be aware of the facilities different banks provide to its customers. Your needs should match with the offers provided by a bank.
Prerequisites to Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong
In order to open an account in Hong Kong, most banks require you to hold a Hong Kong ID card, be a Hong Kong resident or rent an office in Hong Kong. The first and foremost question is: which bank to choose?
There are many renowned international banks in Hong Kong like (1) HSBC, (2) Citi Bank, (3) Deutsche Bank, (4) United overseas Bank, out of which HSBC is famous and highly recommended.
Other local banks include: (1) Bank of East Asia, (2) Dah Sing Bank, (3) Hang Seng Bank, etc.
After you choose the bank of your choice the next step is submitting the documents. You are required to submit the following documents in order to open a bank account in Hong Kong.
Documents Required to Open a Bank Account in Hong Kong
- A bank account opening form that is filled and duly signed by authorized signatures as per the Board resolution
- An extract of the Board resolution approving the opening of corporate bank account
- Certified true copy of the company’s certificate of incorporation issued by Company Registry
- A certified true copy of the company’s Business Registration Certificate, issued by the Inland Revenue Department
- A certified true copy of the company’s Articles of Association
- A declaration that provides the personal particulars of directors and principal shareholders. A principal shareholder is a person entitled to exercise or control the exercise of 10% or more of the company’s voting rights
- A copy of the Hong Kong identity card or passport; residential proof such as utility bills, bank statements, driving license; etc., and former name or alias proof (if applicable) for each of the directors, authorized signatories, principal shareholders and beneficial owners of corporate shareholders
- A list of specimen signatures of authorized signatories
- Proof of business, like business plan or audited financial statements
- For corporate shareholders of the company: 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
Apart from this, Hong Kong banks have a strict rule and require all company directors, shareholders, and beneficiaries etc. to visit the bank and sign the necessary documents. The total fees and deposits payable are: an initial payment of HK$1,000 for the initial appointment meeting and a deposit of HK$1,000,000 to be made within 30 days pending approval (from which HK$5,500 will be taken as company details verification search fee).
If your application is successful, your account should be approved and activated immediately. It takes around 2 weeks to make the approval and you are good to go.
Banks will not open an account if the companies are involved in the businesses like:
- Mutual and hedge funds
- Broker dealers
- Security exchanges
- Online casinos
- Insurance companies
- Churches and charities
If you are thinking of setting up a company in Hong Kong, then the aforementioned guidelines should help you in opening a bank account in Hong Kong. Also, before opening the account do check all the important factors like bank reputation, services offered, monthly fees and future support services offered by bank, and make a wise & informed decision.