Hong Kong's digital banking begins with eight virtual banks

By Joanna England
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) hopes to promote fintech, innovation and CX with eight new virtual banks...

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) hopes to promote fintech, innovation and CX with eight new virtual banks.

Airstar Bank Limited 

Jointly established by Xiaomi Corporation, global IoT leader, and AMTD Group, Asia's leading comprehensive financial services conglomerate, Airstar Bank was granted a banking licence by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority {HKMA) in May 2019. Maintaining a philosophy of financial inclusion, Airstar Bank Limited is also a member of the Deposit Protection Scheme. On June 11th 2020, Airstar Bank announced the official launch of its virtual banking services which include savings account, time deposit and personal loan products. 

Ant Bank 

Originally known as Alipay, and rebranded as Ant Financial Services in 2014, Ant Bank Limited is the banking off-shoot of its mother company, Ant Financial. One of the largest Fintechs in the world, in 2017  Ant Financial Services was valued at an estimated £60 billion. In 2018, the company launched a blockchain-powered cash remittance service that allows real-time cash transfers between Hong Kong and the Philippines. Ant Bank is affiliated with the multi-faceted giant tech firm Alibaba.

Livi Bank Limited 

Livi Bank Limited offers a banking solution for all people over the age of 18 who holds a valid Hong Kong ID card. The bank offers a range of transfer options, including FPS real-time HKD, small value transfers, scheduled transfers, quick-save facilities from other accounts and FPS registration via your mobile phone. Livi Bank’s shareholders include Jingdon Digits Technology, and Jardine Matheson Group. The aim of the bank is to offer a rewarding digital banking experience that caters to everyday requirements.  It prides itself on a secure, people-first approach.

Fusion Bank 

Originally branded as Infinitum Bank, Fusion was relaunched in 2019 and is a joint venture between Tencent, ICBC and Hillhouse Capital. Fusion Bank is a challenger bank that provides a full, virtual banking service. The focus is on small-value deposit services. Fusion Bank also doesn’t require a minimum account balance to be maintained and doesn’t charge low-balance fees to either the general public or SMEs. 

Mox Bank Limited 

Mox Bank Limited is a virtual bank and joint venture with Standard Chartered as the leading shareholder. Other partnerships include HKT, Trip.com and PCCW. Claiming to offer the region’s very first numberless bank card. Launched in 2020, Mox bank provides a range of retail financial services and ‘lifestyle benefits’ in one virtual, financial hub. Licensed in Hong Kong, it is a registered subsidiary of Standard Chartered.

Ping An OneConnect Bank 

A subsidiary of OneConnect Financial Technology, Ping An OneConnect Bank (PAO Bank) claims to be a ‘virtual banking ecosystem’ that maximises customer centrality services through its innovative technology. One of the latest Challenger banks. PAO Bank was granted a virtual banking licence by the HKMA in May 2019. One of the benefits of opening a PAO Bank account is that you can be approved for it within 24 hours, and you can manage the entire application through a mobile app.

WeLab Bank 

One of the early Challenger banks, WeLab was established in 2013 after a team of industry experts saw the need for better online banking facilities. WeLab offers an online lending experience, 24/7 banking support, a wide spectrum of financial products, and operates a market-leading online credit platform. The bank has over 800 employees and claims to have serviced over 40 million users. 

ZA Bank Limited

ZA Bank refers to itself as ‘Hong Kong’s first virtual bank’. Similar to WeLab, Za Bank boasts that it can open an account for customers ‘within minutes’ and is committed to making banking as easily accessible as possible.  Virtual banks are required to have some features that traditional banks fail to offer to capture potential customers’ attention and recruit them. ZA Bank offers every one of its services through its dedicated app, along with a sleek user experience.  


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