Supplier Payments and Bank Transfer Headaches: What is the zip code for Hong Kong?
Here is an edited discussion (to protect identity of parties) regarding a question from a US buyer regarding how to answer questions from his local bank when sending money for the first time to the Hong Kong Bank account of a Mainland China supplier
What is the Hong Kong postal/zip code?
“I’m getting ready to send a bank transfer (TT) from my Bank (HSBC) to the Hong Kong bank account (also a HSBC branch) provided by the Chinese supplier. I have all the banking information, account numbers and addresses and such, but they didn’t give me the postal code/zip code. My bank says they need that, but I can’t find a Hong Kong zip code.”
Hong Kong doesn’t have a zip code. But here is how to keep the banks happy.
It’s hard to believe, but Hong Kong doesn’t have a post code. There are only a few places in the world that don’t have one. You should poke fun at your local banker for not knowing the address of HSBC HK which is the home base for HSBC empire. I have to explain it each time I go to the US post office to send express mail to China. If you are interested in learning the history behind Hong Kong’s decision not to use a postal code/ zip code, then check out this interesting article: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/society/article/2166239/youve-got-mail-no-postcode-why-hong-kong-does-not-use-such
The admin staff at your local bank may have a strict policy about needing the target bank’s zip code. They don’t want to hear that Hong Kong doesn’t use a zip. They act like their whole computer system will crash or something, if you don’t fill in that one field! Here is how to keep them happy:
999077 is the postal code that Beijing has assigned to Hong Kong for mail being sent from the mainland. But when sending actual documents from USA, I never use 999077 as I didn’t want to take any risk that documents bound for HK could end up being first sent to the PRC then back over to HK. That means there would be a higher chance of getting lost or opened. And if you had content that was politically sensitive, that could be a real concern.
Luckily, your bankers just want a zip code to fill in a field on their standard software and they are not looking to actually send anything in the mail. So, feel free to use 999077!
Red Flag: Sending money to a Chinese supplier via their HK account
I see that you are planning to send funds to a Hong Kong account rather than directly to the mainland supplier’s China account. That can be very dangerous. Please read this blog post for a full explanation of the pitfalls as well as how to protect yourself.
ABL Blog: Sr. Editor and Primary Content Creator: Michael J. Bellamy
Originally from Upstate New York, Mike moved to Asia in 1993 and is a China business advisor to both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. Recognized as an expert on doing business in China, he has been interviewed by WSJ, CNBC, FT & Bloomberg.
A featured presenter on China issues at seminars, trade shows and corporate events across the globe.
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