Grab, Razer, iFast, Ant, TikTok maker bid for digital banking license in Singapore

Singapore-listed wealth management fintech platform iFast said it is leading a consortium with Chinese partners to submit an application for a digital wholesale bank license in the city state, Bloomberg News wrote.

The consortium joins gaming hardware company Razer and ride-hailing and e-commerce group Grab in the race for digital banking licenses in the Southeast Asian nation. The Monetary Authority of Singapore unveiled plans last year to grant as many as five virtual bank licenses to boost competition and innovation and is set to announce the winners in mid-2020.

Foreign firms can hold a majority stake in these digital banks and the paid-up capital requirement is significantly lower at S$100 million ($74 million).

Partners of iFast are Chinese digital bank operator Yillion Group, which is backed by Hong Kong-listed Internet firm Meituan Dianping, as well as Hande Group, a Chinese fintech company founded by Cao Tong, the former president of Webank, China’s first digital bank that is also backed by Tencent Holdings,

Grab, which grew from a ride-hailing firm to one of Southeast Asia’s largest operators of online businesses, is partnering with Singapore Telecommunications to apply for a full digital banking license. The consortium would address digital-first clients and small and medium enterprises.

Chinese fintechs drawn to Singapore

Razer has teamed up with a consortium of “strategic partners” which includes local supermarket operator Sheng Siong Holdings, insurance business FWD, Internet company LinkSure Global, early-stage tech venture capital firm Insignia Ventures Partners, as well as Carro, a regional wholesale marketplace for vehicles. It said its focus would be on youths and millennials and the bank, if established, will be called Razer Youth Bank.

Other bidders are reportedly Ant Financial, Alibaba’s fintech arm, which would cater to corporate clients in Singapore, and well as ByteDance Technology, which operates video-sharing app TikTok.

Southeast Asia’s digital banking market is expected to more than quadruple to $110 billion by 2025, according to a report by Bain & Co., Google and Temasek Holdings.

UPDATE:

Since the publication of the above article, another group said it submitted bids for digital banking licenses in Singapore.

Beyond Consortium, led by one of Asia’s largest massage chair makers, V3 Group Ltd. and stored-value card company EZ-Link Pte, submitted a bid to the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a digital full bank license, according to a statement released on January 5.

UPDATE 2:

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said on January 7 that it has received a total of 21 applications for up to five digital bank licenses.

They comprise seven bids for up to two digital full bank licenses that can serve both retail and corporate customers, and 14 for up to three wholesale bank licenses that are limited to non-retail clients. Successful applicants will be announced in June this year. 

Singapore-listed wealth management fintech platform iFast said it is leading a consortium with Chinese partners to submit an application for a digital wholesale bank license in the city state, Bloomberg News wrote. The consortium joins gaming hardware company Razer and ride-hailing and e-commerce group Grab in the race for digital banking licenses in the Southeast Asian nation. The Monetary Authority of Singapore unveiled plans last year to grant as many as five virtual bank licenses to boost competition and innovation and is set to announce the winners in mid-2020. Foreign firms can hold a majority stake in these digital banks...

Singapore-listed wealth management fintech platform iFast said it is leading a consortium with Chinese partners to submit an application for a digital wholesale bank license in the city state, Bloomberg News wrote.

The consortium joins gaming hardware company Razer and ride-hailing and e-commerce group Grab in the race for digital banking licenses in the Southeast Asian nation. The Monetary Authority of Singapore unveiled plans last year to grant as many as five virtual bank licenses to boost competition and innovation and is set to announce the winners in mid-2020.

Foreign firms can hold a majority stake in these digital banks and the paid-up capital requirement is significantly lower at S$100 million ($74 million).

Partners of iFast are Chinese digital bank operator Yillion Group, which is backed by Hong Kong-listed Internet firm Meituan Dianping, as well as Hande Group, a Chinese fintech company founded by Cao Tong, the former president of Webank, China’s first digital bank that is also backed by Tencent Holdings,

Grab, which grew from a ride-hailing firm to one of Southeast Asia’s largest operators of online businesses, is partnering with Singapore Telecommunications to apply for a full digital banking license. The consortium would address digital-first clients and small and medium enterprises.

Chinese fintechs drawn to Singapore

Razer has teamed up with a consortium of “strategic partners” which includes local supermarket operator Sheng Siong Holdings, insurance business FWD, Internet company LinkSure Global, early-stage tech venture capital firm Insignia Ventures Partners, as well as Carro, a regional wholesale marketplace for vehicles. It said its focus would be on youths and millennials and the bank, if established, will be called Razer Youth Bank.

Other bidders are reportedly Ant Financial, Alibaba’s fintech arm, which would cater to corporate clients in Singapore, and well as ByteDance Technology, which operates video-sharing app TikTok.

Southeast Asia’s digital banking market is expected to more than quadruple to $110 billion by 2025, according to a report by Bain & Co., Google and Temasek Holdings.

UPDATE:

Since the publication of the above article, another group said it submitted bids for digital banking licenses in Singapore.

Beyond Consortium, led by one of Asia’s largest massage chair makers, V3 Group Ltd. and stored-value card company EZ-Link Pte, submitted a bid to the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a digital full bank license, according to a statement released on January 5.

UPDATE 2:

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said on January 7 that it has received a total of 21 applications for up to five digital bank licenses.

They comprise seven bids for up to two digital full bank licenses that can serve both retail and corporate customers, and 14 for up to three wholesale bank licenses that are limited to non-retail clients. Successful applicants will be announced in June this year. 

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