Top 6 Banks in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is home to a thriving banking industry regulated by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).

HKMA classifies the banks into three tiers based on the deposit amount, nature of business, and deposit term.

Given that Hong Kong is one of the top international financial centers, it is not surprising that Hong Kong’s banking sector enjoys a particularly favorable position in the world.

There are 163 licensed banks and 8 virtual banks catering to commercial lending and personal banking needs.

While it is incredibly easy to find a bank, who is the banking system’s crown jewel from the long list of banks in Hong Kong?

Check out this compilation of the best national banks in Hong Kong to consider for your business.

How the Banking System Works in Hong Kong

Before we dive deep into the list of banks in Hong Kong, here’s a look at how the banking sector operates.

Hong Kong is home to a thriving banking industry regulated by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).

HKMA classifies the banks into three tiers based on the deposit amount, nature of business, and deposit term. The three tiers are collectively called Authorized Institutions. They are:

Licensed Banks

These banks can operate current and savings accounts and accept deposits of any size from the public.

They can also use the term ’bank’ in their name without restriction.

Restricted License Banks

Such banks can only accept deposits of HKD 500,000 or more.

They can be incorporated both within and outside Hong Kong.

Deposit-taking Companies

Such banks can accept deposits of HKD 100,000 or above with a minimum maturity of 3 months.

Top banks in hong kong

List of Top Banks in Hong Kong

Below is a list of the most popular banks in Hong Kong:

1. Bank of China (Hong Kong)

Bank of China (Hong Kong) is the 4th largest bank in the world and manages total assets worth HKD 3 trillion and above.

It provides a full suite of banking services, including corporate banking, personal banking, and treasury services.

With over 190 branches, the Bank of China also ranks as the 2nd largest commercial banking group in Hong Kong.

Pros:

  • An extremely strong network of branches between Mainland China and Hong Kong, with over 280 branches in Hong Kong and 15 branches and sub-branches in China’s mainland to support the cross-border banking needs of customers
  • A diverse range of financial products and services are on offer, including foreign currency exchange, international settlement, financing, cash management, and customs clearance assistance
  • A solid market reputation

Cons:

  • The account opening process can be long-winded
  • Not all staff members speak fluent English 

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Fees

Here’s a look at the fees payable for key services:

  • Initial deposit fee – NIL
  • Account opening – The application fee is HKD 1200. If the applicant is a company incorporated overseas, the bank levies an additional HKD 5000 plus fees incurred for conducting a company search at actuals.
  • Receiving a wire transfer – No fees if the amount received is less than HKD 500 and HKD 60 if the amount remitted is more than HKD 500
  • Sending a wire transfer – HKD 240 per remittance between branches of the bank in the mainland and designated branches outside Hong Kong and HKD 100 per remittance through electronic modes
    Information as of date. Please check the bank’s website to know the latest fees.

2. HSBC Hong Kong

Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) is the biggest bank incorporated in Hong Kong, with over 220 branches throughout the region.

Known as “Wayfoong” in Cantonese, which means “focus of wealth,” HSBC Hong Kong is well known for its range of personal, commercial, and corporate banking financial services across Asia.

Pros:

  • Offers diverse account options for business customers such as HSBC Sprint Account, HSBC Business Direct, and BusinessVantage
  • The preferred choice of High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs)

Cons:

  • Charges higher fees for telegraphic transfers
  • The high minimum deposit for opening a corporate account 

HSBC Hong Kong Fees

Here’s a look at the fees payable for key services:

  • Initial deposit fee – HKD 10,000
  • Account opening – HKD 1300 for opening accounts online. HKD 2250 if an overseas HSBC branch facilitates account opening.
  • Receiving a wire transfer – HKD 65
  • Sending a wire transfer –HKD 100 for the beneficiary account in Mainland China and HKD 125 for the beneficiary account in any other country
    Information as of date. Please check the bank’s website to know the latest fees.

3. Hang Seng Bank

Hang Seng Bank is one of Hong Kong’s leading banks and a member of the HSBC group. It offers personal and commercial banking services.

It has 260 outlets in Hong Kong, 20 outlets in Mainland China, and a presence in Macau, Singapore, and Taipei.

Pros:

  • Local presence and solid reputation in Hong Kong
  • Offers innovative e-services such as Mobile Cash Withdrawal

Cons:

  • Global presence is not very strong compared to its competitors
  • Lack of variety in financial products on offer 

Hang Seng Bank Fees

Here’s a look at the fees payable for key services:

  • Initial deposit fee – HKD 20,000
  • Account opening – HKD 600 if you apply remotely and HKD 1,200 if you apply through Business Banking Center
  • Receiving a wire transfer – HKD 65
  • Sending a wire transfer – HKD 85 if the beneficiary account is also with Hang Seng Bank in Mainland China and Macau and HKD 125 if the beneficiary account is in another country/with another bank
    Information as of date. Please check the bank’s website to know the latest fees.

4. Standard Chartered Hong Kong

Standard Chartered is one of three commercial banks with an HKMA license to issue banknotes. Asia Banker magazine has voted it as 3rd strongest commercial bank in the Asia Pacific region.

It operates 75 branches across Hong Kong.

Pros:

  • Strong global presence with operations in over 60 countries.
  • Dedicated relationship managers for customers

Cons:

  • Fees are higher compared to competitors
  • In addition to maintaining a minimum balance, customers have to bear monthly maintenance fees 

Standard Chartered Hong Kong Fees

Here’s a look at the fees payable for key services:

  • Initial deposit fee – HKD 1000
  • Account opening – HKD 5000
  • Receiving a wire transfer – HKD 55
  • Sending a wire transfer – Charges a flat fee plus an additional fee for non-domicile currency. A flat fee is HKD 140 for International Trade Account Customers, HKD 160 for Preferred Business Account Customers, and HKD 200 for Business account customers
    Information as of date. Please check the bank’s website to know the latest fees.

5. Citibank

Citibank Hong Kong was the first foreign bank to start operations in Hong Kong. Apart from commercial banking, Citibank also offers investment banking services.

It has 48 branches throughout Hong Kong and is also the largest credit card issuer in the country.

Pros:

  • No initial deposit requirement
  • Bespoke private banking services for ultra-high-net-worth entrepreneurs
  • Well-recognized brand globally

Cons:

  • Sporadic issues with customer service
  • No online account opening is available in Hong Kong 

Citibank Hong Kong Fees

Here’s a look at the fees payable for key services:

  • Initial deposit fee – NIL
  • Account opening – HKD 8000 for an overseas company and HKD 2000 for a local company
  • Receiving a wire transfer – waived
  • Sending a wire transfer – No fees for online transfers except for Citi Banking clients who need to pay HKD 200. Transfers through manned channels are charged HKD 220 for CitiPriority clients and HKD 100 for CitiGold clients.
    Information as of date. Please check the bank’s website to know the latest fees.

6. Bank of East Asia

Bank of East Asia is the biggest independent bank in Hong Kong and provides a bouquet of services, including consumer finance, retail banking, and corporate banking services.

It has 17 branches throughout Hong Kong. 

Pros:

  • Services are at par with foreign banks
  • Has a strong reputation in the Hong Kong market as a family-run bank

Cons:

  • No global presence
  • A high initial deposit fee 

Bank of East Asia Fees

Here’s a look at the fees payable for key services:

  • Initial deposit fee – HKD 10,000
  • Account opening – HKD 10,000
  • Receiving a wire transfer – HKD 65
  • Sending a wire transfer – HKD 200 plus cable charge if sent through the branch and HKD 20 plus cable charges if sent through online channels. The cable charge is HKD 100 if the beneficiary account is with the Bank of East Asia and HKD 130 for other banks.

    Information as of date. Please check the bank’s website to know the latest fees.

Why Choose the Best Banks for Your Business

Not all banks are created equal — services offered and fees vary widely.

Whether you opt for international or local banks, picking the best one suited to your banking needs is extremely important. After all, banks are an essential cog in the wheel for your business operations.

From providing long-term and short-term finances to remitting funds, there’s hardly any aspect of your business where banks don’t play a role. So make sure to consider carefully what each bank can offer you before you sign up with one.

If you are a foreign business wondering how to open a company bank account online in Hong Kong, contact Air Corporate immediately.

We can assist with establishing your bank account with a physical or virtual bank in Hong Kong, making it convenient for entrepreneurs and small businesses to operate effectively.

Who is eligible to open a corporate bank account in Hong Kong?

The exact eligibility criteria depend on the type of account you want to open and the bank where you want to open the account. As such, anyone can open an account in Hong Kong.

Which Hong Kong bank is best for foreign entrepreneurs?

HSBC, Citibank, Bank of China, and Standard Chartered are some of the top choices.

However, the exact match depends on what the customer is looking for.

Which is the largest bank in Hong Kong?

In terms of the assets held, HSBC ranks as the largest bank in Hong Kong. In 2021, the bank held assets worth HKD 10 trillion.

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Vivian Au

For many years, I worked at big accounting and company secretary firms in Hong Kong. I started Air Corporate to make the life of entrepreneurs and SMEs easy.

Vivian Au

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