Ant Bank Launches Virtual Lender in Hong Kong

The lender is offering an interest rate of up to 2.5 percent on deposits.

Ant Bank, the virtual banking arm of Ant Group, has launched its operations in Hong Kong on Monday, becoming the sixth branchless bank in the Chinese special administrative region.

Ant Bank is one of the eight recipients of Hong Kong’s virtual banking license issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA).

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It is to be noted that Ant Group co-owns MYbank, one of the first digital banks in mainland China, established in 2015.

The expansion in Hong Kong came ahead of Ant Group’s landmark duel public listing on the Shanghai stock exchange’s STAR board and the Hong Kong stock exchange. Though no official size for the offering is not known yet, analysts are predicting that the company can see a valuation of over $200 billion.

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The company has tapped AlipayHK to bring its virtual banking services to a mass consumer base in the region. This will ensure easy onboarding of Hong Kong citizens on the banking platform.

Luring Customers with High-Interest Rates

To attract new depositors, the new virtual bank is offering interests on the higher side compared to its peers. Depositors will get 2.5 percent interest on deposits below HKD 20,000 (around $2580), while the interest rate is 1 percent for amounts between HKD 20,000 and HKD 50,000 (~$6,450). Normally, the lending platforms in Hong Kong does not offer any interests on deposits.

“I’m thrilled that Ant Bank has officially opened today and we are now able to offer our innovative, inclusive, and secure products and services to Hong Kong citizens,” Ant Bank CEO, Michael Wang said in a statement.

“We set up Ant Bank with the intention of providing increasingly mature FinTech products and services to the Hong Kong market and to provide a new choice to people locally. We are excited to be contributing to the promotion of inclusive financial development in the city.”

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