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About 30 institutions, including Ant Financial, Xiaomi, compete for the first batch of virtual banking licenses in Hong Kong

via:全天候科技     time:2018/9/1 17:31:43     readed:852

All-weather technology has been informed by the applicants that the first batch of virtual banking licenses will be issued 8-10.TencentAnt ant,JingdongTechnology, financial institutions such as Finance, Zhongan Insurance, Xiaomi, Ping An, HSBC Hong Kong, Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) have participated in the application in the form of sole proprietorship or joint venture.


However, as of press time, none of the above institutions have clearly responded to this matter.

In recent years, Hong Kong is accelerating the pace of financial technology development. On the one hand, it accelerates mobile payment and opens up a fast payment system. On the other hand, it encourages the establishment of virtual banks, introduces financial technology in the Mainland, liberalizes restrictions on participation of non-financial institutions, and promotes inclusive finance. Landed in Hong Kong.

However, the number of final applicants officially announced has decreased from previous expectations. On May 30, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority officially issued the revised "Guidelines for the Recognition of Virtual Banks". It was revealed that there were more than 50 companies interested in operating virtual banks in Hong Kong.

On August 31, a spokesperson for the HKMA said that since a significant number of applications were submitted in these two days, it would take time to make an assessment to determine whether the applications were nearing completion. After August 31, interested organizations can still submit applications, but it is likely that they will not be included in the first batch.

The value of a virtual banking license

Hong Kong is fully embracing financial technology. Two years ago, mobile payment release, the payment giant including Alipay wallet and WeChat payment, obtained the first set of stored value payment instrument (SVF) licenses. As of now, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority has issued 16 SVF licences.

Virtual banks have higher gold content than mobile payment licenses. "Mobile payment is only a tool. Virtual banking is equivalent to introducing a whole set of financial services. In addition to the three major businesses of traditional banks, 'save and remittance', other Internet innovation businesses can try and have a lot of imagination." A Hong Kong bank Industry people said.

The so-called virtual bank, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority gives the definition of a bank that provides retail banking services mainly through the Internet or other forms of electronic transmission channels rather than physical branches.

This model is similar to the mode of Internet banking such as Weizhong Bank, Online Merchant Bank and Xinwang Bank. However, there are no specific regulations or regulations for virtual banks in the Mainland, but they are regulated by the rules of traditional banks.

The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, Mr Lau Yi-hsing, pointed out that Hong Kong could learn from the advantages of Internet banking such as Micro-Bank, and balance the application of financial technology, "risk-based" supervision and protection of personal privacy. Continue to promote universal finance.

It is understood that the traditional banking services in Hong Kong are concentrated in the assets of more than 1 million people, and the inclusiveness is lacking. "The Hong Kong government hopes to further expand the coverage of banking services through technology, introduce more and more mainland financial technology companies to Hong Kong, and provide technical solutions for financial institutions in the form of B2B," said Long Peizhi, founder and CEO of WeLab.

As Chen Delin, the president of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, said, virtual banks have no physical stores. The operating costs of $50 and $500,000 are almost the same, which will benefit more people with small financing needs.

Xue Hongyan, director of the Internet Finance Center of Suning Financial Research Institute, said: "Virtual banking is similar to domestic direct selling banks. It is highly similar to mature business models such as online banking and mobile banking. For non-licensed institutions, the first is the license value; For local bank licensees, the value of licenses is limited and more can be seen as an exploration of financial technology."

The new battlefield of the giants

On August 22nd, at the Xiaomi Zhongbao performance meeting, Xiaomi’s chief financial officer Zhou was bluntly blunt: Xiaomi is seriously investigating the opportunities of Hong Kong’s virtual banking, and is very optimistic about the opportunities for innovation in Hong Kong’s financial market. It does not rule out the possibility of cooperation with local financial institutions. Sex.

The main body of Xiaomi’s application for a virtual banking license is its financial company, Insight Financial Technology. According to the Hong Kong Newsletter, in addition to Xiaomi Group founder and chairman Lei Jun personally headed as a director, the company also invited Zheng Haiquan, former president of HSBC Asia Pacific, and Tang Weizhang, president of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, to join the board of directors. According to the news, Lei Jun personally invited Zheng Haiquan to help him develop his virtual banking business with his extensive experience in the banking industry.

It is not just Xiaomi that targets Hong Kong's virtual banking license.

According to the Hong Kong Ming Pao Daily News, Ant Financial Services may apply for a license on its own, and will introduce partners in the future. Ant Financial Service responded to all-weather technology, saying no comment on this matter, but expressed support for Hong Kong regulators to promote inclusive financial innovation.

However, ILab, which was invested by Alibaba last year, was one of the first companies to apply for a Hong Kong virtual banking license. In November 2017, Alibaba Entrepreneur Fund participated in WeLab's RMB 1.5 billion B+ round of financing, but it did not hold much. According to the prospectus submitted by WeLab to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in July this year, Ali currently holds a shareholding ratio of 0.422%.

In addition, according to Hong Kong Ming Pao Daily News, BOC Hong Kong set up a team in June this year to study the virtual banking operation model and establish a system, while actively looking for partners, has now finalized financial cooperation with JD. On August 29, Jingdong Finance officially announced its entry into Hong Kong at the Financial Summit Forum in Dawan District, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.

According to another report, Zhongan Online, Beststar and China CITIC Bank (International) have formed a joint venture company, “Zhongan Virtual Finance Co., Ltd.”, and Ping An of China is working with Octopus to become the first virtual bank.

Regarding the above news, all-weather technology contacted Zhongan, Jingdong Finance and Ping An, respectively, and no comments were submitted as of press time.

It is worth noting that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority intends to liberalize the restrictions on the financial quality of virtual bank applicants. In May of this year, the "Accounting for Virtual Banks" issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority mentioned that the original establishment of a virtual bank in Hong Kong must be held by an officially recognized and reputable bank or financial institution with at least 50%.

However, the new regulations show that non-financial institutions should first register an “intermediate holding company” when setting up a virtual bank, and then the company will hold a virtual bank. In this way, financial companies (including existing banks in Hong Kong) and non-financial companies (including technology companies) can apply to hold and operate virtual banks in Hong Kong.

A financier in the financial industry admits to all-weather technology: "Inland technology companies are entering Hong Kong, and they must be reluctant to make new markets, cover new users, and cut into new banking businesses. In addition, Hong Kong users have security concerns. Therefore, cooperation with local financial institutions is a natural choice."

In Long Peizhi's view, financial institutions are more familiar with regulatory policies, but because of their large size, they are relatively slow in efficiency and responsiveness; in contrast, technology companies have a large advantage in operational efficiency and cost. Using big data analysis to conduct risk pricing, whether it is a small or large amount of products can be flexibly covered; at the same time, virtual banks need to spend a lot of moneyDevelopmentTechnology builds a network foundation, and technology companies have a natural advantage at this point.

In February and May of this year, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority revised the guidelines on the recognition of virtual banks twice, and put forward requirements for the capabilities of the virtual bank parent company. The revised provisions of the new phase are more rigorous: applicants are required to meet the minimum capital requirement of HK$300 million in the same way as traditional banks when applying for the establishment. There must be a strong parent company to provide support behind the scenes, and the market must be prepared. Exit the plan.

The HKMA believes that in addition to paying attention to technology-related risks, virtual banks also need to attach equal importance to managing credit, liquidity and interest rate risk.

Hong Kong experiment of financial going to sea

In the field of financial innovation, the competition among the giants for the Hong Kong market has never stopped.

Xue Hongyan believes that cross-border operation of financial business is also a major trend in the global market. Regardless of whether there is current business layout planning or obtaining local financial licenses in advance, all of them open up the imagination space for Internet financial institutions to go out, which can be regarded as a strategy. Level considerations.

There are also industry insiders who analyze the all-weather technology: "Financial going to sea should adapt to local financial supervision, market, users, and product localization. A simple administrative structure like Hong Kong is more suitable for internationalization." For example, in mobile payment. At the sea, Hong Kong is also the first stop for WeChat, Alipay and other giants to enter the international market.

However, the maturity of Hong Kong's financial services and existing user habits have brought many challenges to the promotion of mobile payments. Previously, Alipay and WeChat all invested a lot of money to attract users to use local wallets, but the results were not significant. Chen Qiru, vice president of Tencent Financial Technology, said in an interview with the media that there are many users of WeChat in Hong Kong, but the activity is not high, and the red envelope has not played a very big role.

In Xue Hongyan's view, paying for the sea is not the whole of the giants going out to sea. He said: "Mobile payment is a high-frequency, low-margin scenario. Only overlaying other financial services will make it more imaginative. Therefore, in addition to paying licenses, actively applying for other financial licenses is an essential part."

However, the banking sector in Hong Kong is not entirely optimistic about the prospects of virtual banking. Some bank practitioners have told all-weather technology that Hong Kong's traditional financial system is very complete. Most banks provide online banking services, and the market may not buy virtual banks.

In June of this year, Ai Junan, head of HSBC's Hong Kong retail banking and wealth management business e-service platform, said that the company has not seen any application for virtual banking licenses. In the next two years, HSBC will continue to invest in technology infrastructure with an investment scale of US$15-17 billion.

The Hong Kong Productivity Council and Standard Chartered Bank visited 811 SMEs in late June to discuss their bank account operations and their views on virtual banks. As a result, only 46% of respondents have heard of virtual banking, and 23% of respondents indicated that they will not use related services. Companies that are interested in using services mainly consider network security and system stability.


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