As a Hong Kong-based firm service provider, we have expanded our Business Bank Account Opening Intermediary arm to Singapore. Some Singapore banks are offering REMOTE business account opening services for chosen international clients for a short time. Every Hong Kong businessperson should open a Singapore bank account as a secondary bank account.
We discovered that some Hong Kong banks are more welcoming to Hong Kong and abroad enterprises with non-Hong Kong residents as directors and/or shareholders; further information is available here.
Since the implementation of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations, the Hong Kong banking sector has enforced exceptionally severe Know Your Customers (KYC) / Customer Due Diligence (CDD) procedures on their clients.
Non-residents, in particular, proclaim that Hong Kong is no longer a location to do business since foreign banks deny their accounts.
We discussed the difficulty in creating accounts with our networked bankers, and we were informed again that banks operate on a risk-aversion basis. Therefore they refuse new applicants when any danger of violating AML/CFT legislation is detected on their applications.
We agree that as we have been operating in the corporate service business in Hong Kong since 2009, we need to put in more effort today to assist our clients with the Hong Kong bank account opening procedure. From our experience, we know that banks have varying preferences (or discoverability) of clients’ characteristics. “Simple” bank account opening in Hong Kong is gone forever, but we have networked with over 30 banks here, and each bank has its personality, so we can assure our clients that we can help you open a bank account.
To secure a bank account, we must match our clients with appropriate banks depending on the client’s past and the most recent bank’s appetite. Sometimes our choice of bank is not their first pick, but we prevail in the end.
Here is an example of a successful case study of an overseas client:
At the start of this year, we got a customer from Belarus (the Republic of Belarus), a landlocked country in Eastern Europe bordered to the northeast by Russia, requesting assistance in opening a business bank account in Hong Kong.
Belarus is an industrial-agrarian economy, with Russia accounting for almost half of the country’s international commerce. Nonetheless, both Belarusian and Russian are official languages in the country. Belarus is not currently flagged as
He had approached a handful of Hong Kong’s most prestigious banks on his own before reaching us. He followed their published instructions for preparing needed paperwork and completing application forms, and he attended banker meetings to address their queries.
Finally, after 2 to 3 weeks of waiting and no explanation from the banks, all of his applications were rejected. He had little clue of the banks’ internal policies and was astounded by the problem he was confronting.
Initially, we needed to understand our client’s business and his needs. A free pre-assessment service is provided by our experts, in which we gather the client’s firm details and proof of business to determine how
After reviewing the Belarus client, we discovered that he had plans to expand his toy manufacturing business into South Asia and China, so a Hong Kong business bank account was a critical window because Hong Kong had proven financial and monetary stability, thanks to a strict currency peg of USD 1 to USD 7.8 and a solid legal system based on British common laws.
This customer had a long and strong presence in Belarus, and his company had proved transaction records with clients mostly in Russia and Europe, including business contracts, receipts, invoices, shipment notes, and bank statements.
At this stage, we believed that this case was unlikely to clear the obstacles of bank policy unless the customer improved his supporting papers as follows:
Quality of Translation: In accordance with the bank’s request, he used translation services in his native country to translate any non-English papers into English. We discovered that the translated English was below average for business communication; thus, we recommended that the documents be redone for greater readability.
Bank Selection: In pursuit of globalization, he turned to foreign banks with a significant presence in the Western world. We assumed that because he had a regular transactional record with Russian firms, he constituted potential risk rather than the risk in the eyes of these “Western banks.”
Bank Interview Preparation: According to his statements, the bank interviews he attended did not finish in a cordial tone. He felt upset by the bankers who questioned every business paper. Communication was difficult because my customer was not a natural English speaker, and the sessions were held in English.
Networking with Reputable Banks
We had a thorough network of over 30 banks in Hong Kong, and we decided to avoid all Western banks because this Belarus customer had encountered a brick wall at these institutions.
We identified various Asian-based banks, like internet banking, and multi-currency services were requested. He was first hesitant to employ these institutions because he was concerned that his clients and suppliers would not recognize them. In response to his worries, we offered these banks’ data, as well as their presence in Southern Asia and online banking capability, for his consideration.
We talked with the target Asian banks after receiving his consent, and we received a good estimate for his account creation. The customer then submitted his applications to these selected Asian institutions, accompanied by his revised business paperwork as supporting documentation.
As part of their KYC procedure, these banks arranged for the customer to meet with them in Hong Kong. This time, we made certain that the customer was well-prepared in more ways than one: We guided our client in rewriting his business proposal in better English, and we assisted the client in completely understanding the English words before the meetings; nonetheless, the customer brought several toy items from his firm to the meetings as extra proof of their business.
After three weeks, one of the Asian banks notified the customer that his application had been granted.
Nationality is sometimes cited as a factor in various Hong Kong banks’ account opening decisions. On the contrary, strong proof of business is essential for banks to evaluate.
If you are unsure about creating a corporate bank account in Hong Kong, you should hire a professional coordinator to help you with your application. Please see the details below for more information on Stephen M.S Lai & Co CPA Limited guaranteed refund business bank account creation program for international businesses.