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Opening a business bank account in Hong Kong is a complicated process that could take several weeks to complete. Typically, at least one of the directors of the company must visit the bank. However, some Hong Kong banks now offer remote sign-up services to open a new business account. 

Are you starting a new business in Hong Kong, or do you already have an established business you want to expand into Hong Kong and Asia?

Whatever the reason, you will most likely need to open a business bank account in Hong Kong. To be extremely transparent, opening a business bank account in Hong Kong, especially for new Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs), will not be easy. Be prepared to invest time and possibly money to get your business account in Hong Kong without the guarantee that you will be successful in opening one.

In this article, we have gathered some of the most commonly asked questions with answers to help you make the application process as seamless as possible and increase your chances of success in opening a business bank account.

We will also share with you an alternative to traditional banking services: Statrys. It offers more flexibility and similar services, making the process of opening a business bank account quicker and easier.

💡 Alternatively, you can also compare different business accounts yourself using our comparisons guide.

a call to action to open a business account with Statrys

What Is a Business Bank Account?

First and foremost, let’s start with the basics.

A business account, also known as a corporate or commercial bank account, is a bank account registered in your company’s name. It's specifically designed for handling business transactions, including payments and receipts.

The key benefit of a business account is the clear separation it provides between your personal and business finances.

Using a personal account for business purposes can complicate accounting, increase legal risks, and might even lead to double taxation. To avoid these issues and maintain financial clarity, a dedicated business account is essential.

Banking Options in Hong Kong

It's no secret that Hong Kong is one of the largest financial hubs in Asia, and the most popular local and international banks you'll come across include:

Local 

  • HSBC
  • OCBC Wing Hang 
  • Bank of China (Hong Kong)
  • Bank of East Asia
  • Standard Chartered
  • Hang Seng Bank 

International

  • DBS Bank 
  • CitiBank
  • DSBC Bank
  • KBC Bank  
  • Barclays 

Currently, there are more than 100 banks licensed to provide business banking services in Hong Kong. That means you definitely have options to open a corporate bank account in Hong Kong.

Should you look for a particular bank, you can download the full list of Hong Kong banks or read our article on the 7 best banks to use in Hong Kong. Furthermore, some banks do provide programs for SMEs, such as DBS, HSBC, and Hang Seng Bank.

However, many small businesses are turning to digital bank alternatives such as Statrys, Airwallex, Currenxie, and ZA Bank, or other virtual banks because they can simplify the banking experience, offering user-friendly interfaces and quicker processes.

💡 Tip: Answer only 10 questions, and we will help you find the best Hong Kong business account for your needs.

How Long Does It Take to Open a Business Account in Hong Kong?

Bank account opening can take quite a bit of time. Depending on the bank, you can expect it to take several weeks before your business bank account is up and running.

The process will start with meeting a bank representative who will ask you to complete application forms and tell you to submit certain documents and information about your company's business nature.

Your application will then go through a review.

This review takes a minimum of several weeks, but don't be surprised if it drags on for a few months, during which time you may be asked to provide more supporting documents and explanations at any given time. As frustrating as it may be, it's important to remember that there is nothing you can do to accelerate the process.

The process ends with either a "yes" or "no" answer. 

"No" is a commercial decision by the bank, and the bank will not give you a specific reason for their decision.

Why Is It Difficult to Open Business Bank Accounts in Hong Kong?

To combat money laundering and other criminal activities, almost every country has implemented strict compliance rules on banks, which are a set of guidelines that banks follow in order to avoid any criminal activity slipping into their operations.

These rules are commonly referred to as Know Your Customer (KYC) policies and Anti-Money Laundering Regulations (AML).

However, as these compliance rules get more strict and more complex every year, applying them is increasingly costly for banks. They also face the risk of multi-million dollar fines if something goes wrong.

In all, this means SME business accounts become less profitable for Hong Kong banks, so they are becoming less and less interested in serving your SME business needs.

This trend isn't specific to Hong Kong, yet Hong Kong has become one of the countries where it's most challenging to open business a corporate bank account. The HKMA has also said that it may be challenging for banks to perform any background checks for smaller companies, especially for start-ups.

🔎 Insight: Learn why many entrepreneurs find it difficult to open a bank account in Hong Kong.

What Are the Required Documents to Open a Business Bank Account?

Different banks have different requirements for bank account opening, but you may expect all local and international banks to require at least the following documents:

  1. A resolution by the board of directors: The purpose of this resolution is to approve the opening of the corporate bank account and give one person the authority to handle the application with the bank.
  2. Establishment documents: All documents proving that your company was duly incorporated and validly registered in Hong Kong. Business registration documents vary depending on where your company is incorporated. For a Hong Kong company, this includes the certificate of incorporation, a valid business registration certificate, and the articles of association.
  3. Organisational chart: A chart showing the shareholding and management structure of the company. On one page, this chart must indicate who the directors, the shareholders, and the ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs) of the company are. It must also show the percentage of equity held by the ultimate beneficial owners in the company.
  4. ID documents: A copy of the ID documents (passport, Hong Kong identity card, or driver's license) of the directors, shareholders, and UBOs.
  5. Proof of residence: The proof of residency of the directors, shareholders, and UBOs must indicate the residence address and usually be dated no more than three months.
  6. Business plan: A simplified business plan explains the company's business and gives projections of the company's expenses and revenues for the coming 12 months.
  7. A certificate of incumbency: This certificate, also known as the Certificate of Good Standing, is required for offshore companies for which little public information is available. It shall provide information about the management and ownership structure of the company and confirm that it is in good order.

🔎 Insight: Learn how to find proof of address in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UK.

Typically, required documents must be certified true copies, which can be done by a lawyer, a public notary, a certified public accountant, or a company secretary.

Since all these professionals will charge you a fee for their service, check with your banks beforehand to avoid unnecessary costs.

Apart from these documents, the bank will ask you to complete the application form. It can be found either online or needs to be organised in a branch. If available online, you can download the form and have it filled out before you visit the branch. 

To get an idea of the information required in the application form, you may use the links for some popular Hong Kong banks listed below.

  1. HSBC
  2. Standard Chartered
  3. Bank of China
  4. Hang Seng Bank

Is It Possible to Open a Hong Kong Business Account Online?

Yes, opening a business account in Hong Kong can be done remotely.

Many Hong Kong banks now offer remote sign-up options, allowing for the submission of application forms and supporting documents online. However, it’s important to note that this process is mainly applicable to small businesses registered in Hong Kong. Given that all necessary documents are prepared, the business account can get up and running within 3 business days.

Nevertheless, the traditional process is still the most common. Depending on the bank, you may be able to submit the application form and supporting documents online but then need to meet them in Hong Kong to finalise the process.

Typically, at least one of the directors of the company must visit the bank in person. In some cases, a physical meeting may be required for all directors and shareholders.

Alternative solutions to traditional banks are available, such as virtual banks or payment solution providers such as Statrys, who also provide business accounts completely online.

💡 Tip: Make an appointment and check what you need to bring to ensure a smoother account opening process.

Statrys mobile application dashboard showing a total balance in a business account.

Can a Foreign Company Open Business Account in Hong Kong?

It's completely legal for a Hong Kong bank to provide banking services to a company registered outside of Hong Kong.

It is also possible to apply for a corporate bank account for companies whose shareholders and/or directors are not residents of Hong Kong.

However, either of these situations will often result in Hong Kong banks being reluctant to open a corporate bank account.

Why is this the case? 

Put yourself in the bank's shoes: why would a company with no presence in Hong Kong need a business bank account here?

Opening a corporate bank account is especially questionable when the offshore companies are registered in some exotic location known for its lack of transparency.

If you have business opportunities in the region, you may consider registering a Hong Kong company to increase your success in opening your business account.

This would make your life easier with the banks and give you more time to focus on your business endeavours.

Business Bank Account Fees

Opening a business bank account comes with a cost. You should be prepared to pay, at minimum, an account opening fee and an initial deposit.

It's impossible to tell the exact cost or even give a range, as the fee policies of banks are far from easy to understand. You can easily get lost very quickly with the added fees they charge.

We encourage you to read the fee policies from the following banks:

To make things easier, we've done some of the hard work for you and produced a table below that compares some options available in Hong Kong. 

Here, you'll get to see some common fees that come with opening a standard business account with HSBC, Hang Seng Bank, and Statrys – an online alternative to traditional banks.

Fee Comparison Table for Business Accounts in Hong Kong

Here, we will compare three different business accounts in Hong Kong:

  Statrys logo HSBC logo Hang Seng Bank logo
Account opening fee HKD 0* HKD 1300** Remote: HKD 1,000**

Business center: HKD1200
Initial deposit amount No minimum deposit HKD 10,000 HKD 20,000
Monthly fee HKD 88 per month with a dedicated account manager HKD 0 for the first 12 months

Thereafter:

Based on Total relationship balance (TRP): HKD 200 per month for balances under 50,000

HKD 0 per month for balances over 50,000 
HKD 0 for the first 12 months

Thereafter:

Based on Total relationship balance (TRP): HKD 200 per month for balances under 50,000

HKD 0 per month for balances over 50,000 
ATM withdrawal fee Standard fee of: 1.99% of total + 1.5% conversion if withdrawing money overseas HSBC group ATM Network:
In HK - HKD 0 Outside HK - HKD20 per withdrawal
UnionPay outside HK: HKD 50
In HK: HKD 0

Outside HK: HSBC ATM network - HKD20 per withdrawal

UnionPay network - HKD40 (not more than HKD5,000) - HKD60 (more than HKD5,000)
Business debit/credit card maintenance fee Included debit card with each business account HKD 0 for activation

HKD 0 for virtual cards

HKD 0 for the first physical card.

Any additional physical cards will be charged HKD48/month.
Business debit card annual fee:  Waived 
Replacement fee: HKD100
Platinum MasterCard Annual fee: HKD 550
Annual fee: HKD980 per card

Delivery by courier: HKD 250
Sending international payments HKD 75 per transaction  To HSBC offices in China: HKD 100

Elsewhere: HKD 125
To Hang Seng branch in mainland China & Macau: HKD 85

To other banks in HK and overseas: HKD 125

*Account opening fee may apply for companies not registered in Hong Kong or Singapore, companies with complex shareholding structures, and companies with high-risk business profiles.

**Time-limited sign-up promotion with lower or waived fees when meeting criteria

***Fees up to date as of December 2023.

You might also need to keep a minimum balance to maintain the account.

If you're considering getting help to open a business bank account, you should know that many corporate service companies will charge you several thousand US dollars to assist you with the process.

⚠️ Caution: There is still no guarantee in successfully opening a business bank account when assisted by a corporate service company.

Alternative Solution: Statrys

If you own a business in Asia or are considering entering the Asian market, then we recommend you consider Statrys.

Statrys is a licensed Money Service Operator in Hong Kong that provides financial services and solutions to businesses incorporated in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the BVI. These services include:

  • A multi-currency business account that can hold 11 major currencies.
  • Local payout in 14 different currencies.
  • Virtual and physical business cards have built-in controls to manage expenses and cash withdrawals through ATMs.
  • FX services with competitive exchange rates (spot and forward contracts).
  • Xero integration to save time and resources using automated accounting.
  • A dedicated account manager for every client.

With its excellent reputation and customer service, Statrys has received a score of 4.6/5 from over 200 reviews on Trustpilot.

Moreover, the application process for opening an account with Statrys is simple and fast, with 85% of its customers being able to open an account within 3 business days.

FAQs

Which documents are required to open a business bank account in Hong Kong?

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To open a business bank account in Hong Kong you will be required to provide the following: a resolution by the board of directors, an establishment document, an organisational chart, an ID document, proof of residence, a business plan and a certificate of incumbency. Different banks may require more documents, so it is important to check with your bank.

Why is it difficult to open a business bank account in Hong Kong?

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Can I open a business account in Hong Kong online?

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Can I open a bank account without being in Hong Kong physically?

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

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