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Opening a Bank Account in Hong Kong

Opening a bank account in Hong Kong is a crucial step for establishing a business presence. However, tightened financial regulations have made the process more challenging.

Key Points for Foreign Investors

  1. Initial Procedures

  • Appointment: Schedule an initial appointment via phone, email, or in person.

  • Preliminary Review: Conducted through a phone interview, electronic questionnaires, or a meeting with directors. Supporting documents may need to be sent to the bank manager.

  1. Meeting and Documentation

  • If the preliminary review is successful, meet to sign application forms, pay the initial deposit, and application fee.

  • Deposit: Varies by bank and may change over time.

  • Signatories: Requirements differ; some banks require the physical presence of directors or shareholders, while others accept certified copies of IDs.

  1. Application Review

  • The application is sent for departmental review, typically taking 1-2 months.

  • Additional documents may be requested during this period.

  1. Required Documents

  • Company Documents: Business Registration Certificate, Certificate of Incorporation, Articles of Association, NNC1 form.

  • Proof of Business: Invoices, business plans, supplier agreements, bank reference letters, and website information.

  • Personal Documents: Passport and proof of residency (utility bill, bank statement, etc.).

  • Source of Funds: Bank statements or other documents showing the origin of investment funds.

  1. Shell Companies

  • Require increased scrutiny and identity documents of beneficial owners to open a bank account.

  1. Account Approval

  • Once approved, you will receive the bank account number, bank cards, and access codes.

Opening a Bank Account Online

  • Initial Account: Opening the first bank account online is not possible due to strict anti-money laundering regulations.

  • Subsequent Accounts: Once an account is set up, additional accounts can be opened online.

  • Bank Selection: Different banks have various protocols and fees, so choose one that suits your business needs.

Can Woodburn help you?

Virtual Banks

  • Advantages:

  • Better rates and lower fees.

  • Integration with enterprise software.

  • High setup convenience.

  • Focus on SMEs.

  • Disadvantages:

  • Limited personal relationship development.

  • No ATM network.

  • Deposit inflexibility.

  • Some services unavailable.

Money Service Operators

  • Offer digital banking solutions such as dedicated payment instructions, domestic and international transfers, and links to third-party services or currency exchange.

  • Suitable for SMEs and holding companies.

Offshore Bank Accounts

  • Local Bank Accounts: Require interviews with directors and shareholders, scrutiny of business activities, and thorough Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.

  • Offshore Bank Accounts: Companies can open accounts in foreign countries, with varying protocols and requirements.

Considerations for Offshore Accounts

  • Security: Offshore accounts may not have the same protection as domestic accounts.

  • Taxes: Report income and disclose interest earned to tax authorities.

  • Costs: Some offshore accounts may have fees for international transactions.

Banking Institutions in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is home to many international and national banking institutions, including licensed banks, restricted license banks, and deposit-taking companies. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) also oversees virtual banks, a growing sector with eight licensed virtual banks as of May 2023.


Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is one of China’s most trusted business setup advisory firms.

Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is specialized in inbound investment to China and Hong Kong. We focus on eliminating the complexities of corporate services and compliance administration. We help clients with services ranging from trademark registration and company incorporation to the full outsourcing solution for accounting, tax, and human resource services. Our advisory services can be tailor-made based on the companies’ objectives, goals and needs which vary depending on the stage they are at on their journey.


Talk to an expert

Schedule a 30-mins complimentary, no-obligation call to see how Woodburn can help you. Book a call with our Head of Business Advisory - Kristina Koehler-Coluccia.

Topics we can advise on include:

  • Company Registration

  • Cloud Accounting & Financial Reporting

  • Cloud Payroll Services

  • Tax & Audit Services

  • Recruitment

  • Employer-of-Record

  • Visa Application

  • Trademark Registration

  • Switch to Woodburn

  • Partner with Woodburn (cross referral) 

Our calls are automatically scheduled via Zoom - or via Teams, WeChat or WhatsApp upon direct request. 

Our advisory calls are available from Monday-Friday from 8am to 5pm CEST and Wednesday until 9pm CEST.



Woodburn Accountants & Advisors is one of China and Hong Kong’s
most trusted business setup advisory firms

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