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The Hong Kong Monetary Authority Has Issued New Online Banking Licenses

Jun 20, 2019

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has recently stated that it is issuing four more virtual banking licenses, bringing the total number of virtual banking license owners to eight. This means that the overall number of banking licenses of various types operating in Hong Kong is equal to 160.

Norman Chan, the HKMA’s chief executive officer stated:

We are pleased to grant four more virtual banking licenses today. The HKMA is now working closely with the eight virtual bank licensees to prepare for the launch of their business operations in accordance with their plans. The launch of virtual banks in Hong Kong, which is a key component of the Smart Banking Initiatives, will certainly facilitate financial innovation, enhanced customer experience and financial inclusion.

The HKMA granted the first virtual banking license approximately one year earlier. Last August HKMA released an update stated it had received 30 applications for the newly created license. As a result, the HKMA stated in December that one third of those submitters failed the application process due to inability to meet the requirements needed to get relevant approval.

In March, the regulator issued its first three licenses and, in the beginning of April, one more license was issued. And as you may already understand, the HKMA granted another four licenses this Thursday. Of course we would require some time to realize what exact products those licensees are planning to introduce to the HK market.

A statement issued by the HKMA points out that it takes from half a year to nine months for digital banking companies to establish and maintain their services.

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