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Opening a China Bank Account

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Opening a China Bank Account

The current banking system in China includes the central bank, banking financial institutions, non-banking financial institutions and regulatory bodies.


A China Bank Account can be 100% owned and operated by foreigners.


The opening of a China Bank Account can be as fast as 1 day.


Your China Bank Account can operate multiple currencies. 

Four Types of Bank Accounts for Foreigners in China

Four Types of Bank Accounts for Foreigners in China


How to open your Hong Kong Bank account

Online Hong Kong  Bank opening

For non-visiting Hong Kong, all you need to do is fill in our online form and upload the documents needed.

Once the bank account is opened, we will notify you the bank account numbers and other details such as swift code. The bank account we open for you is multi-currencies, and with internet banking facilities and Master card.

The bank will mail the password, debit card, and token direct to you by DHL. Then you register in the banker’s website and enter two more individual passwords(set by you). Then you can operate all the bank transactions such as wiring transfer, checking balances through internet banking facilities, and use of the debit card to draw money over the global world.

The documents required for opening a Hong Kong  bank account are:

  1. Formation documents
  2. Passport or I.D copies  of each director and shareholder
  3. Hong Kong company Business license BR1  (sample BR Licence)

If you don’t have a Hong Kong Company, click here to set one up online

Opening a China Bank Account is a post-licensing service of ours. Corporation China has the knowledge to assist your company during the Bank Account Opening Process. To open a China Bank Account you must be present at the bank,but you will be accompanied with an assistant helping with translation and ensuring that the process is done correctly.

The bank you chose is at your discretion but most of our clients have chosen Bank of China or HSBC. You may contact us for more information about opening a Bank Account and the required documentation must be provided to the Bank during the Process.

Primary Settlement Account

A primary settlement account is basically a bank settlement account in which a business can be open for daily transactions, such as transfer settlements and cash collection. The RMB Bank Settlement Account, which is one of the most commonly used corporate bank accounts in China is considered to be the foundation of doing business.

Foreign Exchange Account

A Foreign Exchange Deposit Account is divided into a current account, foreign exchange deposits and capital account foreign exchange deposits. With the Foreign Exchange Deposit Account, a company needs to provide an Approval Certificate of a Foreign Exchange Deposit Account Opening, which is to be provided by the Foreign Exchange Control Board (FECB), along with a business license.

General Deposit Account

A General Deposit Account in China is a bank settlement account that is opened by a foreign company doing business in China that’s in need of a loan or to satisfy other settlement requirements. General Deposit Account is issued only when there is an involvement of a loan, or to cater to a company’s settlement needs.

Special Deposit Account

The Special Deposit Account is a bank settlement account that is opened by a foreign company operating within China, and is in accordance with the Chinese laws, rules, and regulations. The special deposit account is solely for special funds that are for specific usage.

Introduction to Chinese Banking

The history of banking in China

An Introduction to the current banking system and what institution could be called a “bank” in China. The history of banking in China is not as long as that in the UK. The first bank in mainland China was established by English in 1845 and the first bank run by Chinese was opened in 1897.

The banking system in China used to develop with the economic system of the country. The People’s Bank of China (“PBC”) used to function as both the central bank and the commercial bank during the planned economic system and since the implementation of the reform and opening-up policy (since then the economic system changed to a market one), the PBC turned to focus especially on the function of the central bank, which is to “formulate and implement monetary policies, guard against and eliminate financial risks, and maintain financial stability.”

Opening a China Bank Account

The current banking system in China includes the central bank, banking financial institutions, non-banking financial institutions and regulatory bodies.

Banking financial institutions mainly include commercial banks, policy banks, savings banks and foreign banks. As have mentioned, the PBC acts as the central bank and only those institutions examined and approved by the banking regulatory could be classified as commercial banks. Policy banks, also known as non-commercial banks are established by Chinese government whose objective is to implement the economic policy and does not aim to gain profit.

We may find that unlike in some common law countries’ definition of “bank”, in China, only those institutions that are established by the government and those examined and approved by the banking regulatory could be called “bank”, all other institutions, even though carry out banking business, are not “banks”.

To be precise, only the central bank and banking financial institutions could use the “bank” in their names. The investment bank belongs to non-banking financial institution and thus except for foreign investment banks, other such institutions, wholly domestic-funded or joint-venture, are not permitted to use “bank” in their name can be used in opening a China Bank Account



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Most of our clients operate in banking and finance, energy, technology and innovation, healthcare and life sciences. We assist a wide variety of Chinese clients with their international needs and foreign clients with issues and complexities arising from conducting business in China.

Corporation China is your “Back Office” in China. We will take care of all your Chinese company Financial aspects letting you to concentrate on the business.

One of the biggest problems for foreigners in China is opening up a bank account. The process doesn’t just involve a prolonged and disturbing document preparation but also an investigation by the bank into their background. Even after successfully opening an account, they might not be able to utilize certain functions. The first thing needed is that foreigners are educated on the various bank accounts that they can open in China as well as their pros and cons.
After carefully considering all the factors, you may choose the one that meets your demand. In this article, we will offer a brief assessment of four bank accounts available to foreigners:

  • Not-residence Account (NRA)
  • Offshore Account (OSA)
  • Hong Kong Bank Account
  • Overseas Bank Account

Reference is made to foreign exchange accounts, not RMB accounts (Not every foreigner is allowed to open RMB accounts in China, it depends on many factors, such as nationality, location, bank).

There are four options for foreign entities or legal persons (body corporates) that wish to open a foreign exchange account in China.

Hong Kong Business Account


Offshore Account in China

Offshore Account in China

In 1998, China begun its offshore banking business with some designated banks in the country by allowing these banks to open forex accounts for foreign companies and people. Such accounts are known as “OSA” accounts in China’s banking administration. There are only four banks allowed to open OSA accounts for foreign entities and individuals, and they are not those state-owned major banks (such as the Big Four). They are:

  • China Merchants Bank
  • China Bank of Communication,
  • Pudong Development Bank
  • Ping’an Bank

OSA accounts are handled in the same way as accounts opened in foreign banks. The above-mentioned banks have independent OSA departments, separate from the onshore banking business.

Non-resident Account in China

In 2009, China State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) issued new rules which allowed all banks in China (domestic or foreign-invested) to open foreign exchange accounts for foreign companies, facilitating foreign investors and

Chinese investors to manage their foreign exchange fund.
In SAFE’s 2009 rules, is expounded that such non-resident account (called “NRA”) are not OSA accounts, creating now another option for foreign investors to open forex accounts in China.

However, what is the difference between OSA accounts and NRA accounts. It must be noted that in most respects, there are really similar to the perspective of account holders.
Some brief summaries here:
OSA can only be opened with the four designated banks as listed above, but you can open NRA accounts with any banks in China;
The money in NRA accounts is totalled in calculating the short-term foreign debt balance of their opening banks, but fund in OSA accounts is not so totalled. This will give OSA banks unlimited power to open as many foreign exchange accounts as they wish and are not restricted by foreign debt balance limitation.
Foreign individuals cannot open NRA accounts but can open OSA accounts.

Non-resident Account in China

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Hong Kong Business Account


Hong Kong Bank Account

Nearly a decade ago Hong Kong banks welcomed companies that functioned on a virtual basis outside of the HK domain. Taking the territory advantage of Hong Kong, businessmen often travel between Hong Kong and China mainland for business. Since Hong Kong bank account allow them to freely transfer money overseas, no fear to China mainland’s strict restrictions on exchange currencies. However, as you have noted, those days are long gone.
The banks in Hong Kong are governed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which has issued strict guidelines as to what constitutes as an appropriate bank account application. Unfortunately, these guidelines are set by two major international initiatives; the OECD Tax Co-operation 2010 and FATF black-list 2012. What these two publications and succeeding compliance accomplished was to limit the ability of virtual companies to move money around the world (i.e. reduce money laundering) and to a lesser effect reduce tax evasion.
If you have a Russian or American passport, this only complicates things if the OECD and FATF requirements are not satisfied first.

Overseas Bank Account

Hong Kong is a global financial center and you are able to open the bank account of other countries as well, and the bank doesn’t require your physical visiting. These bank accounts also serve your purposes for ongoing global transactions.

There might be some controversial discussions on the physical visiting.

Differences among above four types of bank accounts are as follows:

Many foreigners regard opening a bank account in China as fairly frustrating. In most cases, the bank account opening checklist provided by the bank does not clearly demonstrate substance, which is very important in global business these days. In China, the wording regulations and the implementation of laws on different levels among cities make it much more unsettling.

Non-resident Account in China

Last but not least, Corporation China is experienced in bank account services for foreigners, we know the bank’s exact requirements, which are not particularly stated on the checklist. If you need any services on bank account opening, feel free to contact to us.

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Account Manager

Ava's expertise is in Brands entering China and strategy. She has a legal and Marketing background  

She speaks English, Chinese and "Australian"


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