Alipay-parent Ant Financial, operator HKT and smartphone maker Xiaomi prepared to go head-to-head with traditional finance providers in a bid to secure online-only banking licences from regulators in Hong Kong, Reuters reported.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority deadline for the first batch of applications is 31 August. Those approved must meet a number of criteria including having access to significant cash reserves, and employing strict security and money laundering protections.
Reuters said its sources estimated 70 companies submitted expressions of interest with “more than a dozen” expected to formally apply. Only three are expected to be granted licences in the first round of allocations.
Other companies rumoured to be in contention are Chinese online giant Tencent; Bank of China; and multinational banking group Standard Chartered.
Although mobile payment brands already operate in Hong Kong, virtual banking licences will allow the provision of a wider number of financial services putting them on par with physical banks.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back