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Setting Up a Bank Account in China

China’s banking system has undergone significant changes in the last two decades. Banks are now functioning more like western banks, making the process of setting up a bank account in China easier and more options available.

However, China’s banking industry has remained government controlled and even though banks have gained more autonomy; the banking system is still restrictive compared to more developed global systems in the UK, US and Europe.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is China’s central bank. The “Big Four” state-owned commercial banks are:

  • Bank of China 中国银行 (BOC)
  • China Construction Bank 中国建设银行 (CCB)
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China 中国工商银行(ICBC)
  • Agricultural Bank of China 中国农业银行 (ABC)

China Merchants Bank (CMB) is also one of the largest commercial banks in China offering customers a number of e-banking solutions including Online Banking, Telephone Banking and Mobile Banking for businesses.

Until lately, foreign banks were not permitted to operate commercial branches in China. Consequently, the concept of a China business bank account, which serves the needs of global businesses, is a new one. The development of the banking industry in China is quickly advancing with many leading foreign banks such as Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC and Citibank now providing viable option for companies.

Setting up a bank account in China requires completion of complex paperwork and it can become quite a time-consuming task (usually 1 month) to complete comparative to other business regions.

The following paperwork is required to open a business bank account in China as of:

  • Company Business License 营业执照 (Original & Duplicate)
  • Institutional Code Certificate 组织机构代码证.
  • Tax Registration Certificate 税务证 (both National and Local)
  • Beneficial Ownership Structure.
  • ID/Passport Copies.

If your China business has selected a foreign bank for business banking services, you will need to set up a secondary bank account for the purpose of syncing with the local tax authority, social security bureau and handling payroll matters. To date, as of November 2015, HSBC is the only foreign banking services provider that is compatible with the China Tax Authorities.

Setting up a bank account in China for your company to operate in is crucial to ensure sufficient operational liquidity of assets. LehmanBrown can assist you with this process from start to finish, cutting through all of the complexity to enable setting up a bank account in China for your business to be conducted as smoothly as possible.

To make an enquiry about our work in setting up bank accounts in China, please contact us at enquiries@lehmanbrown.com


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