We will be pleased to provide guidance on the choice of bank for your new Hong Kong company helping you to select a bank in Hong Kong or overseas that is best aligned with your intended business activities and requirements.
It should be noted the banks will only liaise with the company’s owners and directors to open accounts and it is not possible for you to authorise ourselves or any 3rd party to open a bank account on behalf of your new company. We can however provide advice on the account opening requirements and detail below the information and documents you should expect to provide to the banks when applying to open an account for your new company.
It is important to understand that all banks are required to comply with international Anti-Money Laundering regulations when opening company accounts. The banks are required to:
The following sections detail how to ensure your account opening application complies with these requirements.
You will need to take the time to prepare documentation that will clearly illustrate the intended business activity of your new Hong Kong company including:
In order to provide the bank with a professional impression we suggest the above information is presented to the bank in the form of a brief written business plan.
All banks will conduct a business background review to verify your business experience prior to opening a bank account as this is considered an essential requirement in the prevention of money laundering. The banks are seeking to verify that your business experience is directly relevant to the intended activity of your new Hong Kong company.
The background checks are more stringent where the owners of the new Hong Kong company are overseas residents. In this scenario most banks will usually only open accounts in cases where the owner owns an existing business in their country of residence where the business activity of the overseas company is similar to the intended activity of the new Hong Kong company. The banks will usually require:
Where the owners of the new Hong Kong company are overseas residents but they do not own an existing company in their country of residence some banks may proceed to open an account if the owner provides:
In order to assist the bank with their background review we suggest you also provide the bank with a reference letter from your existing banker detailing the length of banking relationship and stating the relationship has been maintained in good order.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority requires all banks operating in Hong Kong to conduct account opening meetings in Hong Kong.
All shareholders owning 10% or more of the shares of the new company, a majority of the board of directors and all authorized signatories must attend the account opening meeting and present their passport and a utility bill (or bank statement) showing their current residential address which is dated no more than 60 days prior to the date of the meeting. It is not possible for the account opening meeting to be held by video conference or at an overseas branch of the Hong Kong bank.
It should be noted in cases where the owner of the Hong Kong company is an overseas resident most banks in Hong Kong will usually only open accounts where it can be shown the new company will be doing business with companies in Asia (and preferably China) or holding investments in Asia.
We take the opportunity to refer you to our guide to the process to open a bank account in Hong Kong.
In cases where a client’s Hong Kong company will have no business activity in Asia we usually suggest that the company open an account with an offshore bank and we would be pleased to provide further details based on your planned activities.
In most cases accounts can be opened with an offshore bank without the need for clients to visit the bank hence this is a perfect solution for international clients as they can incorporate a Hong Kong company and open a bank account without the need to travel to Hong Kong.
We take the opportunity to refer you to our guide to the process to open a bank account in an offshore bank.