Ant Group launches Hong Kong online bank, plans AlipayHK integration

September 28, 2020.

Chinese fintech said Monday that its online banking unit opened for business in Hong Kong, an expansion that comes in the lead-up to the company’s blockbuster initial public offering.

The company said that the online bank, called Ant Bank, offers 24/7 banking services and can be used by downloading a mobile app. Additionally, the fintech said that Ant Bank customers can simply use their Hong Kong residential IDs in lieu of traditional in-person applications.

Ant Bank customers will also be able to get annual interest rates on their deposits of 2.5%, the fintech said.

It is also planning to integrate Ant Bank with its AlipayHK electronic wallet service, which it said has more than 2 million users. With the planned integration, Ant Group said, users will be able to make offline purchases with more than 50,000 merchants in Hong Kong.

AlipayHK is a joint venture from Ant Group and international conglomerate CK Hutchison Holding, according to its website.

Ant Group said it is exploring an extension of the bank into supporting small, medium and micro-sized businesses. The company said that it received a virtual banking license from the in 2019, the same year that the regulator approved its inaugural group of licenses.

The opening of Ant Bank in Hong Kong is not unprecedented for the fintech, however; in its IPO paperwork, the company said it has a 30% stake in MYBank, which is based in mainland China and serves businesses. Ant Group also said, in IPO-related disclosure, that it partners with MYBank on lending for small and midsized businesses.

The lending is part of a business segment called CreditTech, Ant Group said. The segment contributed a plurality, or 39.4%, to the company’s revenue for the first six months of this year, an IPO filing shows. CreditTech, in turn, is part of a large reporting segment called digital finance technology, which collectively accounted for 63.4% of the company’s revenue over the same time period, the filing shows.

For its IPO, Ant Group is planning to list its shares on both the Shanghai STAR Market and on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange; the company received approval for the former earlier this month.

The rollout of Ant Bank marks the second product-related news from the fintech in less than a week. On Friday, Ant Group disclosed that it has partnered with multiple banks in connection with its new Blockchain-based service, called Trusple, for businesses to transact across borders.