Ping An OneConnect, Ant SME Services among companies to secure Hong Kong virtual banking licences

Maria Nikolova

HKMA has granted virtual banking licenses to Ant SME Services (Hong Kong) Limited, Infinium Limited, Insight Fintech HK Limited and Ping An OneConnect Company Limited.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) continues to issue virtual banking licenses. Earlier today, the regulator announced it granted banking licences under the Banking Ordinance to Ant SME Services (Hong Kong) Limited, Infinium Limited, Insight Fintech HK Limited and Ping An OneConnect Company Limited for them to operate in the form of a virtual bank. 

The licences are effective today. According to the banks’ business plans, the four newly licenced entities intend to launch their services in around six to nine months.

The Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr Norman Chan, said, “We are pleased to grant four more virtual banking licences today. The HKMA is now working closely with the eight virtual bank licensees to prepare for the launch of their business operations in accordance with their plans.”

The HKMA says it will closely monitor the operations of virtual banks after they have commenced business, including customers’ reactions to the new modes of delivery of financial services as well as the impact, if any, of these virtual banks on the banking sector in general. The regulator expects to be able to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the situation about one year after the first virtual bank has launched its service.

After the granting of the above banking licences, the number of licensed banks in Hong Kong increases to 160.

Let’s recall that, in March 2019, HKMA granted the first batch of virtual banking licences under the Banking Ordinance – the licenses were issued to Livi VB Limited, SC Digital Solutions Limited and ZhongAn Virtual Finance Limited. 

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