The difficulty of opening bank accounts for foreign companies in Hong Kong has been a recurring issue raised in recent meetings of the International Business Committee (IBC), the forum where the HK Government meets representatives of the international business community (including the Norwegian Chamber of Commerce).
Anecdotal evidence suggests that some of the largest banks in Hong Kong have been too strict in how they have applied regulatory guidelines for opening and maintaining bank accounts. This has particularly affected start-ups and foreign companies, who have sometimes faced unreasonable demands for documentation and due diligence, and has somewhat tainted the image of Hong Kong as an easy place to do business.
In response to this feedback, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority last week launched a webpage and dedicated email address for comments and queries regarding this issue.
The webpage contains useful information about account opening and maintenance, and also contact details of banks in Hong Kong. It also gives specific guidelines on what may be considered excessive when vetting companies wanting a new account.
Mr. Trygve Nøkleby, our Vice Chairman, says “The Norwegian Chamber of Commerce welcomes this move, which is clearly good for Hong Kong, and we will do our best to update the members on relevant developments.”
The webpage can be found at: http://www.hkma.gov.hk/eng/other-information/ac-opening/