Welcome to the ‘smart bank’

Why we’re applying for a virtual banking licence in Hong Kong

Many people in Hong Kong already manage daily life entirely through their smartphone. They want a bank that fits with this lifestyle, allowing them to manage their money on the go.

That’s why we recently announced that we’re applying for a virtual banking licence in Hong Kong.

We want our ‘smart bank’ to provide personalised services and intelligent prompts. Users will be able to understand and manage their finances at the push of a button, all on their smartphone.

“We talked to our customers in Hong Kong about the realities of their lives,” says Samir Subberwal, Regional Head, Retail Banking, Greater China & North Asia. “People don’t want another account with a different brand; they want their financial lives simplified. We believe that the launch of a virtual bank will give customers the choice of going completely digital for their everyday banking needs.”

Our digital bank will not displace our traditional banking offering in Hong Kong, where our physical presence spans almost 160 years.

We want the people we bank to feel included in the financial system. That means that, although we intend to launch a fully digital service, we’ll stay committed to the branch network that is important to many of our customers, whether they have adopted digital lifestyles or not.

Our strategy is to select the right fintech partners to help us advance financial inclusion, fintech innovation and client experience in Hong Kong. Already, we’re collaborating with the likes of Paykey, Alipay, Wechat and Ripple, and are connected to big players such as Apply Pay and Samsung Pay.

“We’re supporting a new era in smart banking that will help customers better understand their financial position and how to achieve their financial goals,” says Mary Huen, Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong. “We’re developing our virtual bank with innovation in mind so that our customers’ banking experiences cater to their digital lives.”

The virtual bank in Hong Kong is the next step in our push for digital innovation, and follows the launch of our first digital-only retail bank in Cote d’Ivoire, our digital collaboration eXellerator Lab in Hong Kong, and SC Ventures, which invests in disruptive technologies, including fintechs and start-ups.