Is there a secret recipe to open a bank account in Asia?

Compliance process makes difficult and lengthy the process to open a bank account in Asia and the services providers are reluctant to provide a clear list of information and documents to be given.

Good and bad reasons could explain this reluctance to let the client understand what he will need to deliver in order to achieve the opening of a corporate bank account in Asia.

secret recipe to open a bank account in Asia

Bad reasons

The services providers are directing clients to Fintech or forex/remittance solutions because they are unable to obtain corporate bank accounts for their clients, instead of telling the truth from the beginning they prefer to secure a company incorporation first, then to talk about the complexities or decline support for the bank account opening.

Fintech and other non-traditional banking are NOT a solution for active SME’s, too much constraints in term of limitation of amounts, countries of operations and business models.

Because of the need for physical presence at bank account opening with most of the Financial Institutions, the services providers not having relationships with banks accepting onboarding interview by video conferencing are limited in their business development.

Last but not least a lot of Corporate Services Provider didn’t develop adequate in-house compliance team, their compliance suffices to match their AML obligations but isn’t ready to prolong the process for a bank account opening.

Good reasons

Each business profile is different, a compliance process couldn’t really be automated, it’s an evolution process influenced by numerous factors.

A list of documents to open a bank account in Asia will obviously not work for start-ups, a business plan is often not available or outdated and not providing the information needed by a bank.

And also the Corporate Services Provider businesses are impacted by the Covid , business owners are worried to be perceived themselves, and the compliance process they should prepare, as over-complicated.

Below a list to be discussed with your services provider and adapted to your situation.

For the Company which will open the bank account:

  1. Certificate of Incorporation
  2. Memorandum and articles of Association
  3. Register of Directors
  4. Register of Shareholders /members
  5. Latest business registration of certificate of Incumbency/good standing
  6. Three months bank statement copies
  7. Three copies of invoices to clients which were paid and are shown on the bank statements.
  8. Three copies of invoices from suppliers which were paid and are shown on the bank statements.

Additional information

  1. Website:
  2. Number of employees:
  3. Last 12 months turnover:
  4. Forecasted next 12 months turnover:
  5. Place of effective management:
  6. Countries of operations:

For each Directors and Individual shareholders:

  1. Passport Copy
  2. Latest Utility bill Copy, maximum 3 months old
  3. Updated resume (CV)
  4. If some Directors or Shareholders are entities the CSP should obtain the following documents until we reach individuals ownerships:
  5. Certificate of Incorporation
  6. Memorandum and articles of Association
  7. Register of Directors
  8. Register of Shareholders /members
  9. Latest business registration of certificate of Incumbency/good standing

Business activities

You should deliver a list of the three main clients and the three main suppliers, so a total of six names with the below information:

  1. Company name:
  2. Jurisdiction of Incorporation:
  3. Business Activities:
  4. Website:
  5. % of this partner in the total sales or the total purchases:
  6. Client or supplier/services provider since: 

If one of the six business partners is a related party kindly mention this fact and provide a copy of the latest agreement.

Open a bank account in Asia , as anywhere in the world , will be greatly facilitated by a Corporate Services Provider.

How to select one of the many Hong Kong Corporate Services Providers?

Few years ago the profession wasn’t regulated, now all the Hong Kong Services Providers must be licensed, they should hold a Hong Kong Trust or Corporate Services Provider license, in short a TCSP license.

To select of of the many Hong Kong Corporate Services Providers we would suggest to start eliminating the ones handling mostly public companies, their services are highly qualified but for a private company it is simply too much and often too costly.

Numerous CPA firms are offering Corporate Services in Hong Kong, often with low incorporation initial costs as such services are given mainly to attract clients for accounting and audit services. There is a potential issue with theses providers, the possibility to use another CPA services are limited so the clients are kept with a single provider and are loosing freedom and access to other services.

Also a CPA firm has a too often a low exposure to International constraints, a tendency to be self-centered to the Hong Kong situation with a lack of experience to protect the interest of a foreign national under an heavy tax pressure.

To select one of the Hong Kong Corporate Services Providers we suggest to go for an independent company, not to a firm willing to sell its own accounting and audit services but in contrary a firm offering a selection of CPA firms adapted to your needs and business model.

We would not also advise to work with a Corporate Services Provider in Hong Kong boosting on its website the thousands clients that are supposed to work with them. Thousands of clients also means thousands of risks and this could be adverse for your relations with banks and other business partners if one of their clients attract issues with adverse media or legal cases.

To select one of the many Hong Kong Corporate Services Providers our position is SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL, a small firm with personalized services and a limited exposure, a good team speaking your language and with experience.

If the Hong Kong Corporate Services Provider don’t start by asking some questions, don’t try to immediately understand whom you are and what are you needs, just go to the next one. Hong Kong is offering an important choice of very good providers working under TSCP license.