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Bank Account Opening in Hong Kong

Hong Kong banks are monitored by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”) in accordance with international standards, in particular those recommended by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.
 

INDIVIDUAL BANK ACCOUNT
 
Individuals are normally required to hold a Hong Kong identity card or resident’s card to open a bank account in Hong Kong. Debit cards are generally not issued but Visa and Mastercard credit cards are common.

In 2012, the Hong Kong Government enacted Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance which restricts the ability of banks to open a bank account in Hong Kong other than by a personal meeting with the bankers. Citizens of some countries may find it difficult to open a bank account in Hong Kong including nationals of the CIS countries, Iraq, Iran and India.
 
Each bank will have its own seperate account opening procedures and documentary requirements. Banks require proof of the applicant’s full name and current residential address in English or Chinese. A government authority, electricity supplier, another bank, or telecommunication company should issue the proof of address (e.g. bank statement, water and utility bill) dated not more than 60 days before the meeting with the bank.

If the due diligence requirements and the meeting are satisfactory, an individual bank account should be opened within a few weeks.
 
CORPORATE BANK ACCOUNT
 
Opening a corporate bank account can be more onerous more difficult and complicated than opening an account for an individual. In addition to the standard requirements for individuals, HKMA also requires that all Hong Kong banks operating in Hong Kong meet with all shareholders owning more than 10% of the shares of the Hong Kong Company, a majority of the board of directors and all authorized signatories during the account opening process.

All the individuals will be required to produce their passports and the proof of address. A business plan should be prepared to explain the company’s business. If all the paperwork is in order it should be possible for a corporate bank account to be opened within about 2 to 4 weeks, although this may take longer for more complex applications. 

November 2015

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