Opening a Bank Account in Hong Kong

Opening a Bank Account in Hong Kong

Opening a bank account in Hong Kong is often a vital first step to establishing a business presence.


Investing and Doing Business in Hong Kong 2023: Opportunities in the Post-Covid Chapter

This video is unavailable in your region. Please enable VPN to view

However, financial regulations in the SAR have been tightened to combat the city's designation as a tax haven.

Investors need help producing the required documents and conditions for maintaining fixed deposits. Many banks are expected to impose a monthly charge for failing to maintain a balance above a certain minimum amount.

It is, therefore, important for foreign investors to understand the procedures and documents required. The internal practices of the bank may vary from one to another, but generally, the following procedures can be expected:

  • Most banks will require an initial appointment via phone, email, or physical visit;
  • Following this, a preliminary review is usually conducted by phone interview, electronic questionnaires, or physical meeting with directors, or by sending supporting documents to the bank manager;
  • If the preliminary review is passed, both parties will meet to sign the relevant bank application forms and documents, as well as pay the initial deposit and application fee:
    • Deposit differs according to the bank and is subject to change occasionally.
    • Signatories also differ according to the bank and time. While some banks accept certified and actual copies of shareholders' IDs, others require the director/shareholder/ beneficial owner/ nominee to be physically present. In most cases, banks require the same number of people attending as that form quorum in a board meeting according to the Articles of Association to satisfy their Know Your Customer procedure.
  • At this stage, the bank manager will send the application for the department review, which typically takes one to two months. It is typical for the review department to require further supporting documents before finally opening a new bank account on your behalf.

The following documents are required during the application:

  • Company documents: Business Registration Certificate, Certificate of Incorporation, Articles of Association, and NNC1 form.
  • Proof of business: Documents required vary from bank to bank but generally include evidence of the business's nature and industry experience. For example, issued/ received invoices, business plan descriptions, supplier agreements, bank reference letters, and websites.
  • Personal documents: Passport and residency proof (for example, utility bill, electricity bill, or bank statement, which are issued within three months and include the holder's address and name).
  • Source of Funds: The bank would ask for the source of funds for the investment to the Hong Kong company. For example, investor's bank statements.

When a company is labeled as a 'shell company,' it undergoes increased scrutiny. In this context, a shell company is defined as a corporation that doesn't engage in business activities but funnels funds for affiliated companies. It is essential to provide the identity documents of its beneficial owners to establish a bank account for a shell company.

Once the bank account has been approved, the investor will receive the bank account number, bank cards, and access codes.

Opening a bank account online

As Hong Kong’s financial regulations follow strict anti-money laundering rules, opening a bank account online is impossible if it’s the applicant’s first one in Hong Kong.

However, once the applicant opens a bank account in Hong Kong and sets up online banking, they can open other accounts online.

Did You Know
Different banks have protocols and online bank account setup requirements. Businesses should select a suitable bank based on their needs and fee considerations. An online bank account set up for companies can be as fast as two working days.

In any case, businesses are advised to engage a professional service provider in Hong Kong to get everything done in advance, considering the complexity.

Advantages of virtual banks

Disadvantages of virtual banks

  • Better rates and lower fees;
  • Integrations with enterprise software;
  • A high setup convenience; and
  • A heavy focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • Include less personal relationship development;
  • Lack of ATM network;
  • Deposit inflexibility; and
  • Specific services unavailability.


Money service operators

Another digital banking solution is money service operators. They usually offer services such as dedicated payment instructions, the ability to receive money via domestic or international bank transfers, and links to third-party services or currency exchange.

Virtual banks could offer a more convenient and cheaper service for foreign SMEs operating in Hong Kong. This condition is particularly true for business owners who operate subsidiaries in Hong Kong that primarily function as holding companies. However, the virtual banking industry is still growing and may not be reliable enough for companies.

Opening offshore bank accounts for Hong Kong companies

Though most Hong Kong incorporated companies choose to open their bank accounts in the SAR, in theory, they are not mandated to own a corporate bank account in Hong Kong. Instead, they can register a bank account in other jurisdictions.

Hong Kong companies can open offshore bank accounts easily in most foreign countries. Each bank stipulates detailed protocols and requirements.

When it comes to bank account options for offshore companies in Hong Kong, companies have two primary choices:

  • Open business bank account with local banks: If you're an offshore company looking to establish a local bank account, be prepared for several steps. These include interviews with your company's directors and shareholders, thorough inquiries into your business activities, scrutiny of the sources of your funds, and discussions about your transaction volumes. It's advisable to seek the assistance of experienced corporate service providers or accounting firms.
  • Open business bank account with offshore banks: If you're an offshore company looking to establish a local bank account, be prepared for several steps. These include interviews with your company's directors and shareholders, thorough inquiries into your business activities, scrutiny of the sources of your funds, and discussions about your transaction volumes. It's advisable to seek the assistance of experienced corporate service providers or accounting firms.
    • Offshore bank considerations:
      • Security: Offshore bank accounts do not have the same protection as accounts under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Alternative security measures may safeguard certain offshore accounts;
      • Taxes: It's crucial to remember that you must report your income to the appropriate tax authorities and disclose any interest earned from offshore accounts;
      • Costs: Certain offshore accounts might incur a monthly fee or impose charges for international transactions, while others may not. Additional fees and expenses could also be applicable, so it's important to carefully review the terms and conditions before deciding to open an offshore account.

International and national banking institutions

As one of the top international financial centers, Hong Kong has one of the highest concentrations of banking institutions in the world, with over 70 of the largest 100 banks in the world having a presence and over 29 multinational banks having their regional headquarters in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong maintains a three-tier system of deposit-taking institutions comprising:

  • Licensed banks
  • Restricted license bank
  • Deposit-taking companies

They are classified according to the amount and term of deposits accepted and the nature of the business and are collectively known as authorized institutions. At the end of 2022, Hong Kong had 155 licensed banks, 15 restricted licensed banks, and 12 deposit-taking companies.

List of bank institutions in Hong Kong

Licensed Banks

Incorporated in Hong Kong

Airstar Bank Limited

Ant Bank (Hong Kong) Limited

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited

Bank of Communications (Hong Kong) Limited

Bank of East Asia, Limited (the)

China Citic Bank International Limited

China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited

Chiyu Banking Corporation Limited

Chong Hing Bank Limited

Citibank (Hong Kong) Limited

CMB Wing Lung Bank Limited

Dah Sing Bank, Limited

Dbs Bank (Hong Kong) Limited

Fubon Bank (Hong Kong) Limited

Fusion Bank Limited

Hang Seng Bank, Limited

Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (the)

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited

Livi Bank Limited

Morgan Stanley Bank Asia Limited   

Mox Bank Limited

Nanyang Commercial Bank, Limited

OCBC Bank (Hong Kong) Limited

Ping an OneConnect Bank (Hong Kong) Limited

Public Bank (Hong Kong) Limited

Shanghai Commercial Bank Limited

Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited

Tai Sang Bank Limited

Tai Yau Bank, Limited

Welab Bank Limited

ZA Bank Limited

Incorporated outside Hong Kong

Agricultural Bank of China Limited

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A.

Banco Santander, S.A.

Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited

Bank J. Safra Sarasin AG

Also Known as:

Banque J. Safra Sarasin SA

Banca J. Safra Sarasin SA

Bank J. Safra Sarasin Ltd

Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd.

Bank of America, National Association

Bank of China Limited

Bank of Communications Co., Ltd.

Bank of Dongguan Co., Ltd.

Bank of India

Bank of Montreal

Bank of New York Mellon (the)

Bank of Nova Scotia (the)

Bank of Singapore Limited

Bank of Taiwan

Bank Sinopac

Banque Pictet & Cie SA

Barclays Bank PLC

BDO Unibank, INC. Also known as : BDO

BDO Unibank

BDO De Oro

Banco De Oro Unibank

BDO Banco De Oro

BNP Paribas

Ca Indosuez (Switzerland) Sa

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Cathay Bank

Cathay United Bank Company, Limited

Chang Hwa Commercial Bank, Ltd.

Chiba Bank, Ltd. (the)

China Bohai Bank Co., Ltd.

China Citic Bank Corporation Limited

China Construction Bank Corporation

China Development Bank

China Everbright Bank Co., Ltd.

China Guangfa Bank Co., Ltd.

China Merchants Bank Co., Ltd.

China Minsheng Banking Corp., Ltd.

China Zheshang Bank Co., Ltd.

Chugoku Bank, Ltd (the)

Cimb Bank Berhad

Citibank, NA.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A.

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Credit Industriel Et Commercial

Credit Suisse AG

CTBC Bank Co., Ltd.

DBS Bank Ltd.

Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft

DZ Bank AG Deutsche Zentral-genossenschaftsbank, Frankfurt Am Main

E.Sun Commercial Bank, Ltd.

East West Bank


Also Known as:


EFG Bank Ltd

Erste Group Bank AG

Far Eastern International Bank

First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC

First Commercial Bank, Ltd.

Hachijuni Bank, Ltd. (the)

HDFC Bank Limited

Hong Leong Bank Berhad


HSBC Bank USA, National Association

Hua Nan Commercial Bank, Ltd.

Hua Xia Bank Co., Limited

Icici Bank Limited

Indian Overseas Bank

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited

Industrial Bank Co., Ltd.

Industrial Bank of Korea

Ing Bank NV.

Intesa San Paolo SPA

JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association

KBC Bank N.V.

KEB Hana Bank

Kookmin Bank

Land Bank of Taiwan Co., Ltd.

LGT Bank AG   

Also Known as:

LGT Bank Ltd.


Malayan Banking Berhad

Mashreq Bank - Public Shareholding Company; Also known as: Mashreqbank PSC

Mega International Commercial Bank Co., Ltd.

Melli Bank PLC

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation

Mizuho Bank, Ltd.

MUFG Bank, Ltd.

National Australia Bank Limited

National Bank of Pakistan


Nonghyup Bank

O-bank Co., Ltd.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited

Philippine National Bank

Ping An Bank Co., Ltd.

Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero) Tbk.

Qatar National Bank (QPSC)

Royal Bank of Canada

Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank, Ltd. (the)

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co., Ltd.

Shiga Bank, Ltd. (the)

Shinhan Bank

Shizuoka Bank, Ltd. (the)

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken Ab

Societe Generale

Standard Chartered Bank

State Bank of India

State Street Bank and Trust Company

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited

Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank Co., Ltd.

Taishin International Bank Co., Ltd

Taiwan Business Bank, Ltd.

Taiwan Cooperative Bank, Ltd.

Taiwan Shin Kong Commercial Bank Co., Ltd.

Toronto-Dominion Bank


UCO Bank

Unicredit Bank AG

Union Bancaire Privée, UBP SA, Also known as: United Private Bank, UBP Ltd

Union Bank of India

United Overseas Bank Ltd.

Wells Fargo Bank, National Association

Woori Bank

Yuanta Commercial Bank Co., Ltd

Restricted License Banks

Incorporated in Hong Kong

Allied Banking Corporation (Hong Kong) Limited

Bank of America Securities Asia Limited

Bank of China International Limited

Bank of Shanghai (Hong Kong) Limited

Citicorp International Limited

Goldman Sachs Asia Bank Limited

Habib Bank Zurich (Hong Kong) Limited

P. Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Limited

KDB Asia Limited

Orix Asia Limited

Incorporated outside Hong Kong

Euroclear Bank

Kasikornbank Public Company Limited

Korea Development Bank

Bank Mandiri (Persero) TBK

Siam Commercial Bank Public Company Limited

Deposit-taking companies

Incorporated in Hong Kong

Bcom Finance (Hong Kong) Limited

BPI International Finance Limited

Chau's Brothers Finance Company Limited

Chong Hing Finance Limited

Commonwealth Finance Corporation Limited

Corporate Finance (D.t.c.) Limited

Fubon Credit (Hong Kong) Limited

KEB Hana Global Finance Limited

Kexim Asia Limited

Public Finance Limited

Vietnam Finance Company Limited

Woori Global Markets Asia Limited

Virtual banks in Hong Kong

In addition to traditional banks, another emerging option is virtual banks, which have no physical branches and focus on digital services. This concept is still very new to Hong Kong, and as of May 31, 2023, the HKMA only granted eight licenses for virtual banking.

Virtual Banks Incorporated in Hong Kong

1.      Airstar Bank Limited

2.      Ant Bank (Hong Kong) Limited

3.      Fusion Bank Limited

4.      livi Bank Limited

5.      Mox Bank Limited

6.      Ping An OneConnect Bank (Hong Kong) Limited

7.      WeLab Bank Limited

8.      ZA Bank Limited



Events in China

How can we help?

Hi there!

Let me show you how I can be of assistance.

I can help you find and connect with an advisor, get guidance, search resources, or share feedback about this site.

Please select what you’d like to do:

How can we help?

Hi there!

Our contact personel in Italy is:

profile Alberto Vettoretti

Please select what you’d like to do:

Let us help you advance in Asia

Speak to an expert!

Please share a few details about what guidance you seek. We can have a suitable advisor contact you within one business day.

Security Check
Back to top