Hong Kong Monetary Authority Flags “Soft Launch” of Virtual Banking Services in Fourth Quarter


The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has flagged the launch of the territory’s first virtual banking services before the end of the year.

Ruan Guoheng (阮国恒, Vice President of the HKMA, said on 26 September that the fourth quarter of 2019 would see the “soft launch” of virtual banks, of which half would be dedicated to providing services to small and medium-sized enterprises.

HKMA had issued a total of eight virtual banking licenses by 9 May, yet no license holders have commenced the provision of services.

These license holders include:

  • Ant Fi­nan­cial (Hong Kong);
  • Ten­cen­t’s In­finium (贻丰有限公司);
  • Xi­aomi-in­vested In­sight Fin­tech HK Lim­ited (洞见金融科技有限公司)
  • Ping An’s One Con­nect (壹账通有限公司)
  • Livi VB Lim­ited (a joint ven­ture be­tween Bank of China, Jar­dines and JD.com Tech);
  • SC Dig­i­tal So­lu­tions Lim­ited (a joint ven­ture be­tween Stan­dard Char­tered, PCCW, Ctrip Fi­nance and Hong Kong Tele­com);
  • Zhon­gan Vir­tual Fi­nance (众安虚拟金融) (a fully in­vested sub­sidiary of Zhon­gan Tech­nol­ogy (In­ter­na­tional) Group);
  • We­Lab Dig­i­tal Lim­ited, the fully in­vested sub­sidiary of We­Lab Hold­ings. 

Ruan said that many of the license holders had set a schedule of six to nine months for the launch of services independent of HKMA’s own decision-making.