Ant Bank and Ping An OneConnect Bank launched virtual banks in Hong Kong. Fusion Bank is the only virtual bank that has not yet commenced operations.
Ant Bank and Ping An OneConnect Bank have become the sixth and seventh virtual banks to launch in Hong Kong.
Ant Bank, wholly owned by Ant Financial, officially opened for business on Monday (28 September) following a three-month trial. The bank is seeking to lure new clients with high deposit rates, set at 2.5 percent p.a. for deposits up to HKD 20,000, and 1 percent p.a. for deposits between HKD 20,000 and HKD 500,000.
Ant Bank is leveraging a partnership with AlipayHK – a joint venture between Ant Group and CK Hutchison – to enable easy account opening, integrated banking services, and access to shopping and dining savings products. AlipayHK customers will be able to open an Ant Bank account remotely through a mini-app in their e-wallet app.
Meanwhile, Ping An OneConnect Bank – wholly owned by OneConnect, a member of China’s Ping An Insurance Group – started operations on Tuesday (29 September). The bank is offering a retail savings rate of 1 percent p.a, and cash rebates for new savings accounts opened before 31 October.
Ping An OneConnect Bank also provides lending service ‘Trade-Connect Loan’ exclusively to SME customers from Tradelink Electronic Commerce. The bank promises to process and disburse approved loans worth up to HKD 2 million within five business days with an interest rate of 8-12 percent. An accelerated loan approval process is offered to Tradelink SMEs.
The other virtual banks that have launched full operations include Livi Bank (by BOCHK, JD Digits, Jardine Matheson) in August; WeLab Bank in July; and ZA Bank (by ZhongAn/Sinolink) and Airstar Bank (by Xiaomi/AMTD) in June; and Mox Bank (by StanChart, PCCW, HKT, Ctrip) in September.
Among the eight virtual banks licensed by the HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Authority) last year, only Fusion Bank has not yet commenced operations. Fusion Bank is backed by Tencent, ICBC’s Hong Kong unit, HKEX, Hillhouse Capital and Perfect Ridge.