INTERNATIONAL - Hong Kong’s banking regulator has issued four more online-only banking licenses to units of Alibaba, PingAn and smartphone maker Xiaomi, as well as to a JV involving Tencent, ICBC and Hillhouse Capital.
These bring the number of so-called virtual banking licenses issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority this year to eight.
The introduction of online-only banking has the potential to be the biggest shake-up in years in the city’s retail banking sector dominated by old-guard lenders such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and a slew of Chinese banks.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said the newly licensed banks plan to launch their services in six to nine months.
The regulator said it would closely monitor the operations of the virtual banks, including customer reactions and the impact of these services on the banking sector in general.