Virtual Banking

Hong Kong's virtual banks face real-world test

For these new lenders, making a splash with attractive rates was just the first step. The real challenge begins now as they confront a crowded marketplace and deal with complex issues such as risk management and data protection.

Hong Kong’s banking authority had lofty goals of boosting fintech innovation and social inclusivity when it gave out the first virtual banking licenses in the first half of 2019, but for the eight lenders that have since started operations, immediate challenges are plenty and mounting.

Their priority, mirroring the playbook of growth-oriented companies, is uniform gain as much market share as quickly as possible without worrying too much about costs and strategy.

Just how many will succeed is open to debate. Not only are these banks competing with traditional players but also with each other in a crowded market. How they differentiate themselves will be crucial to...

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