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Corporate account opening guide - Hong Kong Company

Opening Hong Kong corporate account has been strengthened since 2014, so you should well prepare documents to prove your business details before attending the meeting with a bank. Please refer to the guide below.


Preparing for opening corporate account:

1. Reason and Purpose of your Hong Kong company
2. Detailed information on products and services related to Hong Kong company (product brochures, catalogs, samples, etc.)
3. Legal documents of your existing company in your country (business registration and latest bank statement in English)
4. If you have existing trade transactions, please prepare relevant documents such as invoices, packing lists, contracts, customs documents, etc.)
5. If the mainstream product or service requires a license, bring the original copy of the license
6. If you have any other documents that can support the basis of your business, please bring as much as possible

Industry that needs to be careful about opening a corporate account:

Industries that handle expensive goods such as oil, petroleum, natural gas, energy, resources, finance, specialized investment, raw materials, precious metals, and other industries that can not be clearly proven

** If you are in any of the above categories, you must proceed after consulting in advance.

** You must be able to communicate in English or Chinese during meetings with bank managers. If the representative of your company can not communicate well with the bank manager, the account opening may be rejected.

** It is difficult to open a corporation account if you don't have enough documents to prove your business.

Instructions and references for opening a corporate account

Since 2014, the banking rules for opening corporate (or personal) accounts in Hong Kong have been greatly strengthened.

Currently, HSBC is difficult to open, and other banks must take time to schedule the meetings after reviewing(figuring whether you are worth to meet or not) your KYC(Know Your Customer) documents.

Therefore, it is recommended that you submit the KYC documents at least 2~4 weeks before you visit Hong Kong to meet the bank manager.

The business proposal required by the bank is as follows.

1. Documents to prove the contents of the project: Documents such as licenses, contracts, and MOUs that can prove the contents of the future business in Hong Kong and your existing business in your country.

2. If your Hong Kong company is incorporated for a new business without enough business proof and a local partner(HK ID holder), it may be difficult to open a bank account.

3. If you want to be a representative of a Hong Kong company, you need to show your existing business registration certificate in your country. 

4. You need a description of why you are establishing a Hong Kong company and you need relevant supporting documents. For example, if you want to acquire brokerage commissions in transactions occurring in Korea and China after incorporation of a Hong Kong company for overseas brokerage, the information of Korean and Chinese companies in the brokerage business may also be required. If you have a proposal or existing transactions, you should also submit documents (B/L, Commercial Invoice, etc.) that can prove the transactions.

5. Additionally, submit the business plan which contains the detailed information of your business and the company documents such as certificate of incorporation, business registration certificate, NNC1, annual return, etc.).

It is difficult to open a corporate account in Hong Kong

1) If you do not have a related license despite being in a licensed industry:
Broker dealers, mutual / hedge funds, trusts, securities trading, futures trading, foreign exchange dealers, insurance companies or brokers, banks,
2) Cybercash (money), online points for cash conversion, alternative payment and deposit system (banking regulation)
3) the issuance and operation of unauthorized public offering / private equity funds, stock trading disguised as foreign funds, and network marketing (pyramid scam)
4) Business that sells or trades unauthorized adult materials, goods, and counterfeit documents or identification cards
5) Charity organization such as a religious organization or a charity NGO funded by donations without the government ACI permission
6) Nationality and residence of shareholders / directors / customers belong to countries with high risk (such as FATF and OFAC prohibited countries)

** According to the KYC (Know Your Customer) Principle in Hong Kong, all financial institutions must have good knowledge and understanding of their customers before they start business with the customers.
This is a strengthened regulation to prevent money laundering of international crimes (terrorism, drugs, war, weapons, etc.) which are recently being issued.

If your business is involved handling of financial products, transactions of high value goods (gold, diamond, etc.), energy resources trading or other businesses that are classified as risky businesses, the bank will require detailed business documents and review in-depth in order to open an account. (In this case, account opening is not easy)


** In spite of being a legitimate business, if you are having difficulty in opening a corporate account due to the nature of the business, it is advisable to proceed after consultation regarding KYC, due diligent and compliance regulations.

** If your business nature is distorted(the business nature was declared when opening a corporate account but the characteristics of the financial transactions are not relevant to the business nature), your company account may be closed, and examples are as below. 

1. Although your business nature is involved in high risk transactions such as finance, investment, exchange transactions, FX and futures margin transactions, and gambling site remittance, but you declared your business as a trading business when opening a corporate account

2. Incorporate your company as a trading company, but send or receive funds on behalf of acquaintances or do illegal transactions

3. Lend your securities or investment account to other people.

** Hong Kong takes financial distortions seriously, and you may be subject to additional investigations if such conduct is involved in money laundering, illegal exchange transactions, or any violation of financial laws and regulations.

** For residents of Korea and the United States, an offshore company's bank account opening may be refused or restricted.

** Bank account will not be opened for restricted or prohibited countries' passport holders

Restricted countries by OFAC:

Balkans, Belarus, Myanmar, Ivory Coast, Cuba, Congo, Liberia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Ukraine, Yemen, Venezuela, Zimbabwe

** Web page link for Hong Kong Monetary Authority's PREVENTION OF MONEY LAUNDERING

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