Maybe this is somehow off topic but I will give it a try.
Guess most of you folks have banking accounts in your home country and maybe a simple savings account here in China to be able to transfer some money to Xi'An.
So I did ... in my first days in Xi'An I went to the Bank of China, opened a savings account, got a bank card (valid in China only) and so I was able to transfer money to China.
Basically, I need much more than that.
What I am looking for is a banking account, where I can transfer in and out internationally at low costs, a credit - or at least a debit card which can be used in and outside China (related to the bank account) and a full featured online banking.
A plus would be to have access to the Chinese stock markets as I am working on stockmarkets around the world since many years but havent had any chance at Chinese stock exchanges (beside Hong Kong).
Maybe I am wrong but Bank of China seems to me far away from what I need. I have tried their online banking (in Chinese only, of course) and failed. Not because of the language but they need a webbrowser plugin and this plugin doesnt work with Windows 7.
So my next try was HSBC.
I know HSBC from Europe. They have a nice office, they speak English ... but they just have nothing to offer. The clerk explained to me that they dont offer any savings account, so they dont pay any interests rate, they are not allowed to access stock markets, they just can offer a current account and a debit card.
BUT: For a standard account they wanted me to bring 100.000 RMB in, for an advanced account 500.000 RMB
For what reason? I asked them.
I wont be able to work with my money, it will just "stored" here.
So my next try is ICBC
They have a current account to transfer money in and out with almost no limits, these accounts have two currencies (RMB and USD), they have an international debit card (VISA), double currency as well, and they have a full featured online banling in Englisch with USB-Stick security.
So far I understood they provide access to stock markets as well.
What is your recommendation?
Any hints or experience?