Opened a Chinese Bank Account

With some help, I finally opened a local bank account in China at China Merchants Bank. I had been avoiding the need to use a local account by using my HSBC Direct Savings Account with HSBC ATM card to pull money out to pay expenses.

Now that we are sticking around and have adjusted to living over here, I decided I should go ahead an open a local account. The primary reason I opened it was to stockpile what I will need in terms of local currency for the remainder of our assignment to take advantage of the declining dollar.

The exchange rate I have been getting has plummeted since I have been here in mid-2007 from 7.7 to now 6.8. Even though I knew this was going to occur, I didn't have any place to stick local currency except under the mattress so I only took out/exchanged what I needed each month.

With my new China account I can forecast my expenses for the rest of the year and go ahead and move an amount of money over that should last me for most of our extension.

Its a little bit of a gamble, but I am not particularly worried in a resurgence of strength in the dollar at least for the next 6 months.

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Comments (12)

Why did you decide to stay? Re-reading the post about when you were asked to extend the looks like there were some fairly compelling reasons to quit the IA and return to US. How did you handle/resolve the issues? Are they giving you a big bonus/bump up for this inconvenience? Etc.

I think a lot of people would be interested to know what was required to open a local bank account in China by (I presume) a US citizen. Work visa?

All I needed to open a bank account was my passport, local address, and local phone number. Not sure exactly what was required - my passport had a valid residence permit, but not sure if that was needed.

Hi 2 million,

You know you will need to fill out a TD91 form each year and remit to the IRS... this is required for any ex-US bank accounts that have had more than $10K USD at any point in the previous year. Typically the form needs to be filled out by Jun 15th the following year. Failure to do so can incur severe penalties.

I live overseas and have an account so have to do this myself.

One other question- what is your age?


Mike -- Thanks for that info -- I wasn't aware. I should be under $10kUSD so I'll just keep an eye on it.

No, a residence permit isn't required. My boyfriend is currently here on a tourist visa for a few months and opened one without any difficulty.

What I'm wondering is - why did it take you so long to open a Chinese account? The convenience of being able to withdraw whenever without worrying about ATM fees, plus the steady fall of the dollar, led me to open one and change a substantial chunk of currency ASAP when I arrived last year.

Not sure I have a good answer - I have been using my HSBC SAvings Account w/ ATM card to pull money out - so there were no ATM fees and the exchange rate was about what I get at the bank - so these weren't compelling reasons.

Also I guess the risk of returning early or not extending put me at risk for having to pull all that money out, exchange it back, and then try and get it back to the US (which has been difficult for coworkers). Didn't feel like messing with it at the time. In retrospect it seems like I was foolish not to do it though.

If the amount is in the neighborhood of $10K then when you want to leave just take it all out, exchange for USD and bring it home in cash. Since the amount is relatively smally you don't have to declare anything.

Remember HSBC Slogan, they're working to look like a local bank, not a global bank. So HSBC's services are diffrerent in each country.

I am interested in opening a bank savings account in China. Can anyone tell me where or how to start the process from the U.S. Is it even possible?

Johnny - for me it was easy. My rental agent took me to a China Merchants Bank - all I needed was my passport and translator and was able to open an account on the spot. I wouldn't bother trying to get one from the US - that seems like it would be much harder.

Can you make time deposits with you China bank account?

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A personal finance weblog of my journey to reach my goal of $2 million + the value of my primary residence.
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