Opening a Bank Account in Hong Kong

Opening a Bank Account in Hong Kong

Hong Kong as always been a tricky jurisdiction where to open a bank account. Hong Kong banks usually don’t open accounts unless the company has substance in the territory. However this has recently changes, pushed by the need of changing the traditional way of banking in the region. Paperless, online, fast, these are just few of the key elements that are restructuring the banking system in Hong Kong. Together with this, the increasing number of online credit facilities (so called online banks) have created a new market, helping companies choosing the best solution for them.

In this article we dive into the options that companies have in Hong Kong, as well as the documents requirement the banks have.

How to select the right bank for a business account in Hong Kong?

The first step might sound obvious but is not. A bank account allows our company to thrive in the market and gove also our conterparts (weather they are supplier or clients) a sense of security. The right bank account is like a nice business card, it gives the first impression of your business. Research and select a bank that aligns with your financial needs, services, and preferences is vital. If an online solution may align to the needs of a start-up in its early stage, an international bank account offers different currency solutions and credit facilities that may be more aligned for a SME.

To help you understanding the difference between an online solution and a phisical bank, we have summarised some of the main difference between these two banks:

Online solutions (e.g., Currenxie, Statrys, Airwallex):

  • Digital-First Approach: Online banks operate entirely on the internet. They don't have physical branches.
  • Paperless: Transactions, account management, and communication are done digitally. There's less need for physical paperwork.
  • Fast and Convenient: Services are available 24/7, allowing for quick account setup and transactions at any time.
  • Specialized Services: Some online banks offer specific features like multi-currency accounts or tailored services for businesses.
  • Lower Fees: Online banks often have lower fees compared to traditional banks, thanks to their streamlined operations.
  • Higher interested rate: an online bank might offer a better return on your savings compared to a traditional bank.
  • Restricted Services: Online banks may not offer the full range of financial services that traditional banks provide.
  • Perception of Risk: Some people might be cautious about using online banks due to concerns about security and legitimacy.

Traditional Banks (e.g., HSBC, DBS, Bank of China):

  • Physical Presence: Traditional banks have physical branches and ATMs, offering face-to-face services.
  • Wide Range of Services: They provide various financial services, from personal and business accounts to loans,investment, and multi-currency account..
  • Established Reputation: Traditional banks are usually well-known and have a history of serving customers over a long time.
  • In-Person Assistance: Customers can visit branches for personalized assistance and advice.
  • Higher Fees: Traditional banks may have higher fees due to their broader range of services and overhead costs.

In summary, online banks offer convenience, speed, and specialized features, often with lower fees. Traditional banks provide a physical presence, a wide array of services, and a long-standing reputation.

What documents are needed for opening a personal bank account in Hong Kong?

Once you have chosen your preferred bank, collecting the required documents is the next step. Here we provide a list of documents that on average banks may require, but the list might be longer and more detailed according to the different bank:

  • Incorporation Documents: Business registration certificate, certificate of incorporation, and articles of association. These are all documents you get after incorporating your business, and that a company secretary can easily provide you;
  • Proof of Identity and Address: Documents for authorized signatories, directors, and beneficial owners. Some banks accept a utility bill as address proof, but is better to check with them first. Don’t forget that everything must be submitted translated in English or Chinese;
  • Business Plan: For entrepreneurs or businesses applying for corporate accounts;
  • Curriculum Vitae of the directors and shareholders;
  • Proof of business: sales and purchase agreements with existing clients/suppliers, invoices, existing bank statements. Don’t worry, the bank knows that you might be in your initial stage and currently not in possess of contracts or invoices. The important thing here is to show that you are serious about your business, Talk to them and find a valid alternative;
  • Initial Deposit: Some banks require an initial deposit to open the account.

Is it necessary for company representatives to visit a bank branch in person to open an account, or can it be done remotely?

Things have changed! With the rise of online solutions and the challenges traditional banks encountered in opening new accounts during travel restrictions, most traditional banks now provide fully online account opening procedures. It's important to note that for certain types of businesses and organizations with well-defined structures, banks may still require the physical presence of a company representative. However, even in such cases, banks often allow the representative to visit the nearest branch, even if it's not located in Hong Kong.

Can foreign companies open a corporate bank account in Hong Kong?

Yes, foreign companies can open a bank account in Hong Kong if they have established a presence within the territory. Foreign companies have various options for establishing their presence in Hong Kong, including setting up a branch, establishing a representative office, or forming a subsidiary.

How long does it take to open a bank account in Hong Kong?

Once received the document, the  bank will run a quick verification and if all in order, approve your case.

You'll then receive your account details, including account number and instructions for accessing online banking services.

The whole process may take a minimum of 3-4 weeks, with a faster process for start-up and small companies.


In conclusion, opening a bank account in Hong Kong doesn't have to be a puzzle. With the right guidance and the right bank, you can navigate the process smoothly and enjoy the benefits of modern banking services tailored to your needs.

Contact us for assistance with opening your bank account. 

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