How to open a China business bank account from Singapore

Zelda Xie
4 minutes
Business tips
How to open a China business bank account from Singapore
In this article

Mainland China has always been one of the markets that businesses aim to break into. With the largest population and one of the largest markets in the world, many foreign businesses created China bank accounts to facilitate faster money transfers.

However, with tighter bank regulations, it has become increasingly difficult to create a China bank account. With that said, there are still ways to sign up for a China bank account from overseas without having to worry about the tightened regulations. Read on to find out more about China bank accounts and how you can apply for one.

Process of opening a China business account

The process of opening a China business account can take anywhere from two weeks to a month, but it is not a difficult task. 

As with the standard process of opening a bank account, you'll need verification documents. Depending on the bank, you'll need documents like a passport and a China phone number. Some banks will also require you to provide a proof of residence. 

Don't fret if you don't have some of the verification documents, you just need to find a bank that doesn't require the documents you don't have.

Documents needed to open a China bank account at a China Bank

  1. A Passport: You’ll need a foreign passport with a valid China visa. If a travel visa is not accepted, you can try applying for a business visa

  2. A China Phone Number: You need a China phone number to register for any China-based account, including bank accounts. You can purchase China SIM cards online.

  3. Proof of Residence: Some banks will require a proof of residence, but this is optional. If you don’t live in China, you can always check in advance and choose a bank that doesn’t require you to show proof of residence.

  4. An Initial Deposit: All banks require an initial deposit when opening a new account. This will vary from bank to bank (see the table below for more information).

  5. Audited Financial Statements: from the last two years. 

Note: Not all banks will require a proof of residence, initial deposit, or financial statements.

The 5 best China banks to open a bank account with

There are four main types of banks in China:

  1. Specialised banks, e.g. the Bank of China (BOC)

  2. Specific lending purpose banks, e.g. Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC)

  3. State-owned commercial banks, e.g. ABC, ICBC, BOC

  4. Foreign banks, e.g. Morgan Stanley, UBS, Goldman Sachs

Here are some of the best China banks to open a bank account with. Most of them are either state-owned commercial banks or specialised banks, which means that they are backed by the Chinese Government and are usually some of the largest banks in both China and the world. This also means that by opening a bank account with one of these banks, you don’t have to worry about the safety of your money.

  1. Bank of China (BOC), 中国银行

  2. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), 中国工商银行 

  3. Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), 中国农业银行

  4. China Construction Bank (CCB), 中国建设银行 

  5. The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC), 香港上海滙豐銀行有限公司

Opening a China Business Bank Account from Singapore

Yes, this is a viable option. These are a few banks (e.g. ICBC, OCBC, BOC etc.) with branches in Singapore, but you often need to go to their branches to set up a bank account. You can read up on the aforementioned banks here: ICBC, OCBC, and BOC.

Alternatively, you can also use Fintechs, like Airwallex, to open a CNY Business Account. With Airwallex’s relatively quicker transfers, you can send payments in as quick as one business day, as well as save time on bulk transfers if you’re dealing with numerous clients in China.

Related article: CNH vs CNY

How Airwallex’s CNY Business Account Can Help

Airwallex's CNY Business Account allows you to collect, receive and transfer CNY  wherever you are. Yes, you don’t need to go down to a bank personally — it’s that simple. Just a few clicks are all you need.

With Airwallex, there are no initial deposits needed and no maintenance fees. Our multi-currency business account allows you to save on foreign exchange fees with our competitive exchange rates, and also send and receive payments from both customers and suppliers in China in as fast as a few hours.

Interested to know what else an Airwallex Global Account can do? Simply sign up here and start paying in CNY. Alternatively, you can also book an online demo with us today to find out more about the Airwallex Global Account. 

Open a global multi currency account for free in Singapore

FAQs

Q: Can I open a China bank account without visiting the branch/coming to China?

A: Yes, you can. There are various ways to do so, including going to the Singapore branch of a China bank, or applying for an account online in local banks (DBS, OCBC etc) or Fintech (Airwallex). 

Q: Do I need a China bank account in order to wire money in China?

A: Traditionally, both you and your recipient need a WeChat account and a China bank account for money transfers. However, with Airwallex, you can bypass that requirement easily.

Q: Can I open a corporate account in China with a foreign corporate entity?

A: Yes. With a foreign corporate entity, you can open non-resident accounts (NRA). However, this usually restricts you from enjoying all the benefits of a China bank account as NRAs are guarded by more regulations than the normal corporate bank account. 

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Zelda Xie
Content Writer

Zelda is a content writer at Airwallex SG. Outside of work, she is always on the hunt for the best aburi sushi and mandopop ballads. She has a soft spot for ginger tabbies and plans to adopt one.

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