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How to Open a Bank Account in China as a Foreigner [2024]

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Choose a bank and account type


Prepare the supporting documents and fees


Visit a branch and complete the application process


Set up and activate your account

Are you planning to move to China to start a company or expand your business operations? 

Whether you are relocating because of new business opportunities, sourcing products, or importing goods from China, having a local bank account simplifies and makes domestic transactions more convenient. But how troublesome or easy is it to open a China bank account as a foreigner or non-resident?

In this article, we have gathered the essential information you need to know to open a bank account in China as a foreigner, including the general requirements, types of accounts, and bank options. Let’s begin with the different types of bank accounts in China.

Different Types of Bank Accounts in China

It’s crucial to understand the different types of bank accounts available to you when opening a bank account in China, as each type has unique features and benefits. 

The common types of accounts banks in China provide include:

  1. Savings Accounts: Savings accounts are provided by most banks for both individual and corporate clients. They can be used for daily expenses and receiving salaries, with the primary purpose of saving funds.
  2. Current Accounts: These are transactional accounts ideal for individuals and businesses who handle frequent expenses and payments. Current accounts generally offer little to no interest, as their primary function is facilitating transactions.
  3. Fixed or Time Deposit Accounts: These allow you to earn a higher interest rate than savings accounts when holding your funds for a fixed term or period.
  4. Foreign Currency Accounts: These accounts are suitable for individuals and businesses in international trade, travel, or investment with frequent transactions in foreign currencies other than RMB. 

Most major banks in China also offer business banking products and services, including corporate accounts, merchant accounts, and payroll accounts. It is also important to note that the account’s specific features and benefits vary significantly between banks, and certain types of accounts may not be available at some banks. 

Offshore Accounts

If you are a foreign company incorporated and registered outside China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Macau, you can choose from the following account options for non-resident business entities. 

  • Free Trade Non-Resident (FTN): FTN accounts are made for overseas companies and are only offered in the Hainan and Shanghai free trade zones. This type of account allows the holders to enjoy convenient investment options and great currency exchange tools.
  • Non-Resident Account (NRA): An NRA can be opened with any Chinese bank. They are available in both Renminbi (RMB) and foreign currencies, preventing you from foreign exchange risk exposure. Keep in mind that NRAs are not available for individuals but only for overseas corporations. NRAs are used primarily for capital investment from overseas corporations in China.
  • Offshore Accounts (OSA): OSA is a rare form of a Chinese bank account. They are used for conducting operations in foreign currencies, not RMB, and the funds can only be sourced from and used for businesses outside China. You can only open OSA at China’s Merchants Bank, China Bank of Communication, Pudong Development Bank, or Ping An Bank (formerly Shenzhen Development Bank).

💡Tip: The main currency for bank accounts in China is the Renminbi (RMB), which is often used interchangeably with the Chinese Yuan (CNY). Find out the differences between CNY and RMB in our article. 

A dropdown of some supported currencies by the Statrys business account.

What Documents Are Required to Open a Bank Account in China?

When opening a bank account anywhere in the world, you must provide the necessary documents to proceed.

To open an account with most Chinese banks, you will have to provide the following required documents:

  • The completed application form with your personal details
  • A valid passport and visa details
  • Proof of address
  • A Chinese phone number
  • A valid work permit, business license, or documents supporting employment or student status

In some cases, you may also be required to meet the bank representative in person to open a bank account in China. 

⚠️ Important: Different banks may require additional documents or details. We recommend checking with your chosen bank for accuracy. 

How Much Do I Need to Open a Bank Account in China?

The minimum deposit amount and account opening fees for a bank account in China may differ based on the bank you choose and the type of account you decide to open.

However, you can prepare around RMB 100 to 1,000 (about USD 15 to 150) to cover potential fees or charges. You may check with your preferred bank in advance if they require any initial deposit.

💡Tip: Knowing how to use your RMB deposits outside China is essential once you have your Chinese bank account.

How to Open a Bank Account in China

The account opening process may vary slightly depending on each bank’s specific requirements, the type of account, and whether you are a Chinese citizen or a foreign resident. Opening corporate accounts with banks in China also involves a more complex process than opening personal accounts, and banks may take longer to approve your accounts. 

The general account application process typically follows a standard procedure: 

  • Choose a Bank: Consider factors such as bank reputation, digital banking capabilities, and ease of opening the account. You can choose from the major banks in China, subsidiaries of international banks, or traditional banking alternatives.
  • Select an Account Type: Choose the type of bank account that suits your purpose. 
  • Prepare Required Documents: This typically includes your passport, a valid visa or residence permit, proof of address, and a work contract. Some banks may provide a document checklist in advance. 
  • Visit a Branch: Generally, foreigners must open an account in person for identity verification. Some banks may require you to make an appointment in advance to ensure that you visit a branch accustomed to dealing with foreigners.
  • Complete Application Forms: Fill out the necessary paperwork, which could be in Chinese. Some banks provide English forms or assistance for non-Chinese speakers. Ensure that you provide accurate and complete information.
  • Set Up Banking Tools: You will receive a bank card and instructions for setting up online banking, mobile banking apps, and other banking services. You may also have to make initial deposits.
  • Verify and Activate Account: Some banks may require additional steps to verify and activate your account, especially for online and mobile banking services.

 The “Big-Four” Banks in China 

China is the home to some of the world’s largest banks, mainly because they are government-owned and because of the centralized nature of the country’s financial system.

There are currently 4,561 banking institutions and 184 registered commercial banks in China, including branches and subsidiaries of international banks such as Standard Chartered and Citibank. In 2022, the Chinese banking industry held a value exceeding 23 trillion USD, according to Statista.

To help you narrow down your bank options, let’s look at the “big four” Chinese banks. 

Bank of China (BOC)

The Bank of China is China's major state-owned commercial bank, providing various financial services to individuals and enterprises. The Bank of China also has branches in multiple countries, regions, and major cities, including Hong Kong, the US, and the UK. 

Key Services Offered by the Bank of China

  • Current All-In-One-Account: This is a current deposit account for personal use. It allows users to hold deposits in RMB and other foreign currencies, including USD, EUR, JPY, SGD, and HKD.
  • Personal Foreign Exchange Savings Account: This includes current savings, term deposit, and call deposit accounts that can hold USD, HKD, GBP, EUR, JPY, CAD, AUD, CHF, SGD, MOP (Guangdong Province only), and KRW (Jilin Province only). 
  • Corporate Demand Deposit Account: This business account can hold deposits in RMB and other foreign currencies without a savings term. 

💡 Tip: Looking to open a Bank of China Business Account in Hong Kong? Read our guide to learn more about the eligibility, required documents, and initial fees. 

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is currently the largest bank in China and the world, with a total assets value of USD 6.12 trillion in 2023. ICBC has a substantial network of branches and subsidiaries in China and worldwide, and it has been renowned for its measures in digital transformation and financial inclusion.

Key Services Offered by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

  • Current Deposit Account: This all-in-one current account allows clients to deposit and withdraw cash in RMB and other foreign currencies.
  • Corporate Current Deposit Account: This is a current deposit account for corporate clients to save and manage cash in RMB.
  • WeChat Banking: This service provides the flexibility to contact the help desk, access the account, and get financial information through WeChat. 

Agricultural Bank of China (ABC)

The Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) is another central Chinese bank with branches across China and a few overseas, including in the U.S., Australia, and Canada. It provides various financial products and services, including RMB Demand Deposit Accounts and the Farmer’s Benefit Credit Card.  ABC is commended for playing a vital role in supporting China’s agricultural sector and rural development.

Key Services Offered by the Agricultural Bank of China

  • RMB Demand Deposit Account: This personal banking account can be used to deposit, transfer, and withdraw funds in RMB.
  • Personal Fund Collection: This service is designed to centralize fund management across various accounts, including between personal and corporate accounts. 
  • Corporate Demand Deposit Account: This is an RMB deposit account for enterprises to receive, pay, and settle funds. 

China Construction Bank (CCB)

China Construction Bank (CCB) is another large state-owned commercial bank in China, and it is recognized for its efforts in fintech and sustainable development. CCB has almost 15,000 branches across mainland China and many more worldwide, including Europe, Australia, and Hong Kong.

Due to its expertise in asset management, CCB is a good option for companies in the manufacturing and construction business.

Key Services Offered by China Construction Bank

  • All-in-One Account: This multi-currency current deposit account offers a seven-day call deposit with higher yields. However, it requires a minimum balance of RMB 50,000 or an equivalent of USD 5,000. 
  • RMB Deposit Accounts: Clients can choose between demand deposit and term deposit accounts to deposit funds in RMB. 
  • Corporate Notification Deposit Account: This account is designed for enterprises with a minimum deposit of RMB 500,000, offering higher interest rates than demand deposits and more flexible withdrawals than term deposits.

💡 Tip: Explore more details about how to open a CCB Business Account in Hong Kong in our article. 

Alternative to Banking in China: Statrys

Opening bank accounts in China is necessary for convenient local transactions, such as the widely used mobile payment methods like Alipay and WeChat Pay. 

However, while thorough preparation can simplify the account opening process, foreign nationals might face challenges, including language barriers and strict international transfer restrictions. If you are a foreign investor or business looking to expand globally, consider opening virtual multi-currency accounts with Statrys.

Statrys is a Hong Kong-based alternative to traditional banks that allows you to remotely open a business account online in as fast as 3 days. With a Statrys account, you can send money and receive funds in 11 major currencies, including HKD, RMB, SGD, EUR, and USD. Moreover, Statrys offers dedicated customer service in multiple languages, so you can count on receiving assistance tailored to your needs. 

Statrys Key Services

Key Features Description
Multi-Currency Business Account Hold, receive, and send money in 11 currencies: USD, HKD, CNY, AUD, EUR, GBP, SGF, JPY, CHF, NZD, and CAD.
Business Account Opening Requirements Must be incorporated in Hong Kong, Singapore, or the BVI.
Monthly Fee Free (if 5 or more outgoing transfers made in the month)
Customer Support Channels Website, Live Chat, Email, Phone, WhatsApp, and WeChat
International Payments (SWIFT) & Real-time Tracking yes
Local Payments Send local payments in 14 currencies: HKD, AUD, EUR, GBP, IDR, INR, KRW, PHP, SGD, THB, TRY, USD, and VND
Payment Cards Physical and virtual cards
FX rate and Fee Competitive exchange rates with FX fees as low as 0.15%
Xero Integration Yes
Free Invoicing Software Create, manage, and send invoices efficiently
Company Registration Service 100% online Hong Kong and Singapore company registration services.
Trustpilot Score 4.6/5, based on 254 Statrys reviews on Trustpilot
A dropdown of some supported currencies by the Statrys business account.


Can foreigners open a bank account in China?

Yes, many banks in China allow foreigners to open accounts with them, including the Bank of China, ICBC, Agricultural Bank of China, and China Construction Bank (CCB). 

What documents do I need to open a bank account in China?


What are the types of bank accounts foreigners can get in China?


How much do I need to open a bank account in China?


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