HKMA announces three virtual bank licences -update


Hong Kong’s Monetary Authority (HKMA) has granted further virtual banking licenses to We Lab in April 2019 , and in May 2019 to  Ping An OneConnect (Ping An Insurance’s subsidiary), Ant SME Services (Ant Financial Services’ unit), Insight Fintech HK (Xiaomi-AMTD  Group) , and Infinium consortium (which includes Tencent Holdings).



The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced today (27 March 2019) that the Monetary Authority has granted banking licences under the Banking Ordinance to:

  • Livi VB Limited,
  • SC Digital Solutions Limited and
  • ZhongAn Virtual Finance Limited

for them to operate in the form of a virtual bank. The granting of these banking licences takes effect today.

Mr Norman T.L. Chan, Chief Executive of the HKMA, said, “We are pleased to grant the three virtual banking licences today. The introduction of virtual banks in Hong Kong is a key pillar supporting Hong Kong’s entry into the Smart Banking Era. It is a major milestone in reinforcing Hong Kong’s position as a premier international financial centre. I believe that virtual banks will not only help drive FinTech and innovation, but also bring about brand new customer experiences and further promote financial inclusion in Hong Kong.

“As virtual banks will have no physical branches, they will rely on the internet for customer acquisition and for the delivery of banking services. I believe that virtual banks will have to offer innovative and customer-centric services in order to attract customers. Moreover, in targeting the retail public and SMEs as their main client base, virtual banks should help promote financial inclusion in Hong Kong.

According to their business plans, these three newly licenced virtual banks intend to launch their services within 6 to 9 months.

After the granting of the above banking licences, the number of licensed banks in Hong Kong will be increased to 155.

The HKMA is making good progress in the processing of the remaining 5 virtual bank applications.



Source: HKMA press release announcement