Standard Chartered is to set up a digital banking operation in Hong Kong.
The bank is seeking to take advantage of new rules by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on the granting of virtual banking licences for both traditional and non-banks in the territory. HKMA says about 50 companies have so far expressed an interest in the endeavour, designed to promote competition with incumbent banks.
Standard Chartered's move is intended to face off competition from new players and attract the millennial segment to its array of banking services.
The bank in April opened an innovation lab in Hong Kong to tap emerging financial technologies and data science in the region. Standard Chartered has also been a founding sponsor of local fintech accelerator SuperCharger Hong Kong, since 2015.
The digital banking play in Hong Kong comes hot on the heels of the launch by Standard Chartered of a standalone online and mobile bank in the Ivory Coast, a region where telcos and non-banks have blindsided the incumbents by wooing the unbanked with a series of mobile-based financial services.
The bank has set up a task force to work closely with the HKMA on its virtual banking plans.
Mary Huen, chief executive of Standard Chartered Hong Kong office told local press: “We are supporting a new era in smart banking that will help clients better understand their financial position and how to achieve their financial goals. We are developing our virtual bank with innovation and client needs in mind, so that their banking experiences cater to their digital lives.”