Stuff to do in Shenzhen: Open a bank account


So you’ve got the hang of shopping for stuff on the Chinese auction site Taobao, but you’re sick of dealing with brokers? Open a bank account in China to pay the seller and shipper directly.

Bank accounts are easy to open. Take a passport and an initial 100rmb deposit to any branch of any bank in China. Accounts are free and they give you a temporary card on the spot. My actual card, sans number, shown above.

Bank of China is really common so we went with them. Check out the online offerings first because you’ll need to be able to navigate it somehow unless you read Chinese. I haven’t used it except to deposit excess RMB at an ATM, but we’ll have tutorials and updates as we learn to navigate.

Hint: “open account” does not translate into Chinese. Try running “new bank account” through Google translate instead.

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    1. It is just a deposit, non-interest bearing account, I can’t imagine so. All the money I deposit has already been taxed in the US. A lot of people suggested I open an account, some had lived in China for decades, and they didn’t seem to think there was any paperwork burden.

  1. Just remember that you now have to file US Treasury form TD F 90-22.1 annually to report your foreign account, or face ridiculously draconian penalties. Because only tax evaders and drug smugglers use foreign banks, dontcha know.

  2. Maybe you should add “Taobao Electronics Componentry Agent” to your Dangerous Prototypes business card.

    I just got the pre-shipping photos of my latest TaobaoFocus order (at least what wasn’t “out of stock”… grrr), including a (small) roll of photosensitive dry film, without any sort packaging, taken in what looks to be a fairly brightly lit place, sigh, fingers crossed on that one.

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