Hong Kong is considered one of the financial centers of the world, with a strong banking system and a business-friendly financial environment.
They are known as the heart of the financial industry worldwide.
Seventy of the top one hundred banks in the world have some form of operations in Hong Kong.
Twenty-nine multinational banks have their regional headquarters in Hong Kong.
An Overview of the Banking System in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, there are three types of banks.
- Licensed Banks can operate current (checking) and savings accounts, take deposits and accept and paychecks.
- Restricted License Banks do business in merchant banking and capital markets and can take deposits greater than HKD 500,000.
- Deposit Taking Companies are associated with licensed banks and are involved in consumer finance, commercial lending, and securities. They can take deposits of greater than HKD 100,000 with a maturity of three months or greater.
There are also a large number of foreign banks in Hong Kong.
All the banks on our list are licensed banks. Banks in Hong Kong are regulated and supervised to ensure banking stability, which is a factor in the overall financial stability of the country.
HSBC is ranked 2nd on The Asian Banker strength list of Asian Pacific banks, which evaluates banks based on their balance sheet strength.
They most recently reported net income was over HKD 96 billion, they have assets of almost HKD 8 trillion, and they employ over 68,000 people.
HSBC has a comprehensive range of both consumer and commercial services and is a leader in business accounts in Asia.
They were listed as the top corporate and investment bank on the Asiamoney Best Bank Award 2020 list.
Generally, they are the preferred bank of high net-worth clients, although their minimum deposit to open a consumer account is only HKD 1. They serve over 60 nations worldwide with their global banking services.
HSBC is also often the chosen bank of foreigners because of its global services.
Hang Seng is ranked 4th on The Asian Banker strength list of Asian Pacific banks.
Their most recent net income was over HKD 24 billion, they have assets of over HKD 1.5 billion, and they employ over 9,600 people.
Heng Seng has a comprehensive range of services, both domestically and globally.
Customers can open accounts in a range of foreign currencies at Heng Seng.
They have been awarded the Outstanding Cross-border Banking Service Award by Wen Wei Po several times, and in 2015 they were named the world’s strongest bank by Bloomberg Markets Magazine.
They currently serve over half of the population of Hong Kong.
Bank of China (Hong Kong)
Bank of China (Hong Kong) is ranked 1st on The Asian Banker strength list of Asian Pacific banks.
Their last reported net income was over HKD 34 billion, and their total assets are over HKD 3 billion.
They employ over 14,500 people.
They are the 2nd largest commercial banking group in Hong Kong and have over 190 branches.
BOC has a full range of commercial and consumer banking services.
In 2017 they were awarded Bank of the Year in Hong Kong by The Banker in the UK and have also received awards for various individual services that they offer.
They were named as the “Best Bank for CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in Hong Kong” in Asiamoney’s “2020 Best Bank Awards” for three years in a row.
Citibank Hong Kong
Citibank Hong Kong is ranked 37th on The Asian Banker strength list of Asian Pacific banks.
Their last reported net income was HKD 3 billion, and they have assets of HKD 224 billion.
They were the first foreign bank to offer services in Hong Kong beginning in 1902, so they have a long history in the region.
They also have a strong global brand, which is one of the reasons they were chosen for our list.
They offer a full range of services for consumers and businesses and have a large presence in the commercial and investment banking arena in Hong Kong.
They are often the chosen bank for ex-pats and non-residents of Hong Kong, and they are one of the largest credit card issuers in the country.
They offer fee-free account packages, and also have private banking services.
For two years Citibank Hong Kong was chosen as the Best Global Private Bank at the PWM/The Banker Global Private Banking Awards.
Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong
Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong is ranked 3rd on The Asian Banker strength list of Asian Pacific banks.
Their last reported net income was HKD 9.7 billion, and they have assets of over HKD 1.1 billion.
It is one of only three banks in the country licensed to issue banknotes.
They were founded in 2004 and do business in over 60 countries.
They are unusual for the region in that they offer remote account openings.
They offer a comprehensive array of services and are a leader in the digital banking world.
They have lower fees for some services in order to accommodate all consumers. Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong awards include:
- International Retail Bank of the Year by Asian Bank and Financing
- Digital Banking Initiative of the Year by Asian Bank and Financing
- Best Digital Bank in Hong Kong Award by Asiamoney
Virtual Banks are one of the newest banking fads to arrive in Hong Kong around 2020, with the first licenses being delivered to banks that are fully online, without any retail presence.
Effectively, Banking as a Service.
It's important to note that almost all virtual banks in Hong Kong are in reality subsidiary virtual banks to larger traditional banks, so take these new virtual banks with a grain of salt.
here's a full list of all major virtual banks in Hong Kong.
MOX (by Standard Chartered)
MOX is a virtual bank launched by Standard Chartered with the express goal of being a fast and convenient method of banking.
Mox specializes by being a completely mobile-only platform with no physical location, and not even a desktop browser-based app for banking.
Mox is purely for mobile-only experiences, which offers a great range of features for those customers who like to travel or use mobile payments often.
Livi Bank (by Bank of China)
Livi Bank is a direct competitor to Mox, being the Bank of China's flagship virtual bank offer with a wide range of offers with local partners in tow.
Livi Bank is more of a purchase-benefits package meant to entice customers to spend using Livi's wide, wide range of product offers and cash-back debit cards.
WeLab is one of the most major virtual banks in Hong Kong that is still independent of a larger parent bank.
In this way, WeLab is able to offer some key features that other virtual banks haven't caught onto yet, like direct mobile lending options under the sub-brand WeLend.
Banking Alternatives for Businesses
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