Ping An Unit Mulls Singapore Digital Bank License Application

(Bloomberg) -- Ping An Insurance (Group) Co.’s financial technology unit is considering an application for one of Singapore’s new digital banking licenses, according to a person familiar with the matter.

OneConnect is looking to secure a wholesale license which would allow it to provide banking services to small and medium-sized businesses on the island, said the person, who requested anonymity because the plan is confidential.

The firm earlier this year received a virtual banking license in Hong Kong.

Singapore is planning to award up to five digital-only banking licenses to non-bank firms to spur competition in the financial sector. OneConnect provides artificial intelligence and cloud computing technology to more than 3,700 financial firms in China and elsewhere.

“With the central bank opening up the virtual banking space in Singapore, OneConnect as part of its usual business is reaching out to organizations who are interested in virtual banking solutions,” a company representative said via WeChat, without commenting directly on the possible license application.

The firm “sees massive opportunities in the new virtual banking space that reaches out to the underserved segment in Singapore,” the representative added.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said last month it will accept applications until the end of this year. Up to two retail banking licenses are reserved for Singapore-owned firms, while three wholesale licenses are open to both foreign and local companies.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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