How do mainland businesses open bank accounts in Hong Kong by way of video conference | Article – HSBC VisionGo
As economies become increasingly globalised, more and more mainland businesses are looking to overseas markets for better opportunities to upscale their business. In most circumstances, these companies would set up an entity in Hong Kong or elsewhere overseas, and open an overseas bank account accordingly for dealings with overseas counterparties as well as fund flow management.
Bank accounts in Hong Kong are not subject to restrictions on movement of funds or exchange control. With an ATM card, businesses are also free to draw cash in many countries around the world. These advantages explain why Hong Kong is often the first choice for mainland businesses wishing to set up an overseas bank account. In general, you can either come directly to Hong Kong for the application, or attend a video conference for account opening at a mainland branch of your chosen bank. Given the time constraints on business owners and with the pandemic lingering on, account opening in a video conference could be the best option for businesses wanting to open an overseas account. Taking reference to business accounts at HSBC in Hong Kong, we’ll walk you through step by step, the entire process of how businesses can complete account opening via video meeting - without having to leave the mainland China.
A gentle reminder for business owners: please make sure you have completed all company registration documents for your Hong Kong (or overseas-registered) company, as this is the prerequisite for any application of a business account. In most cases, if you have ready all necessary documents (such as Certificate of Incorporation and Business Registration issued in Hong Kong), you may proceed to account opening by video conference at a bank branch in the mainland China.
Five quick steps to open a bank account in Hong Kong
Step 1: Submit application online
Businesses can apply online for a bank account via the application page on HSBC’s Hong Kong website. You should have ready all documentations about your Hong Kong company, including Business Registration, identity documents of all related persons and their contact details, and then upload the documents.
In general, the types of documents to be prepared include but are not limited to the following, subject to variations depending on the type of company filing the application:
- Certificate of Incorporation (CI)
- Articles of Association (Articles)
- Return of Allotments (Form SCl/NSC1)
- Business Registration Certificate
- Identification documents of directors (passports or exit/entry permit for travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macau)
Click here to view the complete checklist of documents for review during account opening.
Step 2: Communicate with account opening manager by phone and submit follow-up documents if required
Once you have submitted your application, the account opening manager would contact you to confirm your application, understand the purpose and expected account activities of the account, as well as nature of business and operation model of the company. Files will be validated at the same time.
As each company may have its own specific circumstances, you may need to provide further documents following your call with the account opening manager, before proceeding to account approval. The sooner all necessary documents are provided, the nearer would be the appointment for a video meeting.
Step 3: Make an appointment for video meeting (witnessing of account opening by video conference)
When the bank has received and validated the authenticity of all necessary documents, you will receive a notice by email from the bank appointing a time and confirming the location of the mainland branch where you will attend the video conference.
Currently, there are five locations in HSBC’s mainland network that offer witnessing of account opening by video. These include two branches in Shanghai and one each in Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. You can attend the video conference at a location nearest to you. Details of addresses for these locations are listed at the end of this article.
Step 4: Attend video meeting for account opening
Presence at a meeting is an important means by which the bank validates the customer’s true identity. Since you are not able to come to Hong Kong in person, the bank will have to confirm your identification details in a video conference, and to make sure that the signatures do come from you. Meanwhile, you should come to the meeting with both true copy and photocopies of all required documents, so as to facilitate video recording for our files. The required documents include your company registration (Business Registration Certificate, Certificate of Incorporation, Articles of Association), as well as identification documents for key controllers of the company. Before the meeting takes place, we would confirm with you once again all documents needed for use at the meeting.
Step 5: Account activation
Once you have attended the video conference and the account is successfully opened, you would receive an email at the email address you have registered with us, confirming that your account is now effective. For security reasons, the email will only show the first three digits of the account number. If you need to make payments or receive funds, please contact us direct to obtain the complete account number with which your overseas customers or suppliers can use in transactions.
After this, and as soon as two to three weeks, you will receive your bank card, password token and other tools and information for online banking.
How do you activate the account? You need to credit your account with Hong Kong dollar/ US dollar funds for activation, usually with an amount equivalent to HKD$50,000 plus a service fee.
Now, you are ready to go into international business backed by the convenience of your Hong Kong account!
Having gone through the application process, we also try to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions as below.
Q1: I am already holding HSBC personal/business accounts in the mainland China, does this mean that procedures will be simpler for me to open a business account in Hong Kong? For example, could I skip the video meeting?
A: Because HSBC in Hong Kong and the mainland China are two separate entities with different banking license, applications for an account in Hong Kong should be done as a fresh application online, whether or not you already hold an HSBC account in the mainland China.
However, if your mainland account has fund movements involving business dealings with other companies, these can serve as reference in your application. In such case, you may not be asked to provide further documentation for source of fund.
If you have businesses dealing with suppliers in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan and need to pay from your HSBC Hong Kong account to their HSBC mainland account, this can be done within two hours at the earliest, or in just ten minutes if moving in the other direction.
Q2: Can I apply for a Hong Kong account via HSBC China’s website? Can I apply by mobile banking?
A: At present, you have the following ways to apply for a bank account in Hong Kong:
- Apply online via the application page of HSBC Hong Kong (Please note that you should always access your account via HSBC’s Hong Kong webpage for daily account operation.)
- Call our account opening line on +852 2748 8238, and our dedicated staff would guide you through the process
- Enquire with your relationship manager at our mainland branch and your enquiry would be forwarded to someone who takes care of this at HSBC in Hong Kong. The latter would then assist you with the account opening procedures.
What’s more, with the “HSBC GBA Business Service” WeChat Mini Programme now live online, if you make an appointment to open a bank account in the mainland China using this app, and at the same time wish to open an account in Hong Kong, the system will direct you to the relevant page to start the application process.
Q3: Must all directors be present at the video conference?
A: Directors present at the video conference should be no less in number than what is stated in the Articles for a quorum of meeting.
Q4: Which type of bank account can I open in Hong Kong? Will there be other application fees?
A: You can open an integrated account which combines HKD savings and current accounts, foreign currency savings (for 11 currencies including Renminbi), time deposit and investment accounts into one.
Q5: What are the fees for account opening as witnessed on video conference?
A: There is an account opening fee of HK$1,600 and a HK$2,250 fee for the video meeting. If your company belongs to special business category or has a complicated organisation structure, the service fee may vary. Click here for the detailed fee schedule.
HSBC’s mainland branches offering Hong Kong bank account opening by video conference:
SHH -- Unit 4510-4511, Tower 2, Grand Gateway, 3 Hongqiao Road, Puxi, Shanghai 200030
Shanghai: IFC -- LG1, HSBC Building, Shanghai IFC 8 Century Avenue, Pudong, Shanghai, China
Beijing: BJG/ BCP -- 16/F Fortune Financial Center, No.5 Dongsanhuan Zhong Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020
Shenzhen: SZN -- 2/F, China Resources Building, No.5001 Shennan Road East, Luohu District, Shenzhen
Guangzhou: Unit 01 GF, 27F&28F, TaiKooHui Tower2, NO. 381, Tianhe Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou 510620