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The Final Step to Inclusive Global Commerce: Virtual Accounts

1.10.2019

Businesses born today belong to a global market. Armed with nothing more than a computer and an internet connection, today’s entrepreneurs access a global market largely free of national boundaries, or the burdens of distance, time and language. All obstacles are easily surmounted, with services catering to every need.

The hardest aspect of registering a company in Hong Kong is choosing from the many corporate secretaries vying for your business. Identifying a supplier is as simple as registering a WeChat account, browsing Alibaba, and engaging in conversations. If you need a physical product inspection, order one online. Legal and accounting help is delivered as a digital service. Remote employees and contractors await your queries on specialist skill marketplaces. Online storefronts, with integrated fulfilment and delivery, are commonplace.

This is not to suggest that building a successful or viable business is easy. It still requires hard work, an understanding of your market and your audience, and delivering a quality product or service. But the actual act of setting up and operating a business has never been more simple.

This simplicity is the result of other entrepreneurs looking at the world and seeing a way to improve it. To deliver better, cheaper, more accessible services by leveraging technological advancements. Over time, these improvements layer and connect until you have the ecosystem in which so many new businesses are now thriving.

But the ecosystem isn’t complete. You may follow all of the steps outlined above, and deliver a product to your customer’s doorstep, or inbox. Yet it will all be for nothing, if you are not paid. And it will not be repeated, if you do not in turn pay your supplier, your employees, your accountant, or your hosting provider - and so on.

Registering a company in Hong Kong is relatively trivial, and very attractive. Opening a traditional banking business account is not. The greatest hurdle to any new business - one that is still trying to prove its worth, to take that first step up the ladder - is accessing the kind of financial services that will enable it to operate legitimately and at scale.

The comedian Bob Hope said that a bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove you don’t need it. This is equally true of opening your first business bank account. For many, it is the ultimate catch-22 on the path to establishing their new business.

However, let’s say you overcome these initial hurdles, and now you have an account. But your customers are in a different country to you, your business, and your account. In fact, they’re in many countries. And they want to pay you in their local currency. Furthermore, the local payment processors in those countries want you to have a bank account there, or face enormous fees to remit your profits to your hard-won home account. And to open an account in that country, you need to register a business there. It all begins to feel like a theme.

Now here’s the realisation: in an efficient ecosystem, you should only need one business bank account. One final resting place for your profits. Everything else is moving money; making payments, receiving payments, converting currencies, and borrowing. If information, products, and services can move freely, surely money can follow?

Well, it can.

Imagine a globally accessible, universally inclusive financial platform, a layer existing in partnership with banks, but without borders, in-person identity checks, or deposits. A digital business account - a Global Account.

You don’t really need bank accounts around the world, you need account numbers so that you can accept and make payments in the currency of your choosing at real-time competitive rates. Easier, faster, and cheaper.

This platform is the missing link in the global digital ecosystem of modern commerce, and because innovation never sleeps, it has now arrived. Wherever you are, if you have a computer - you’re ready to do business with virtual accounts.

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