Taiwan’s finance authority issued internet-only banking licences to affiliates of messaging company Line, internet giant Rakuten and operator Chunghwa Telecom.
After assessing applications from the Line Bank Preparatory Office, Rakuten International Commercial Bank and Next Commercial Bank all three received the nod from Financial Supervisory Commission of Taiwan (FCT).
In a statement, the FCT said it had originally set out to offer two licences but, after reviewing the applications received, the three were deemed to have different operating models and target markets.
The authority also tempered any concerns about the impact on the traditional banking sector, noting in a translated statement: “According to the experience of Japan and South Korea, the market share of pure online banking is still low, and the impact on physical banking and market competition is still limited.”
Line’s service is a venture led by the Japan-based messaging company with other shareholders including traditional finance players.
In a statement, the consortium behind Line’s service said: “Our group affirms our plans to introduce banking services involving AI, big data and financial technologies, as well as our commitment to responsible innovation, as we develop innovative and secure personal finance experiences that can truly improve banking for all consumers.”
Rakuten’s service is a joint venture with Taiwan-based investor IBF Financial Holdings. Next Commercial Bank is owned by a consortium led by Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan News reported.