Singapore’s four new digital bank licences embrace Chinese and home-grown potential
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Singapore’s four new digital bank licences embrace Chinese and home-grown potential

China has done very well out of Singapore’s new digital banking regime, with Ant and Tencent both represented. Grab and Singtel fly the local flag.


The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced the successful applicants for its coveted digital bank licences.

Two digital full bank licences have gone to Sea and a consortium of Grab and Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel).

Two digital wholesale licences went to Ant Group and a consortium of Greenland Financial Holding Group, Linklogis Hong Kong and Beijing Co-operative Equity investment Fund Management.

Here are some immediate thoughts on the new licensees.

1. Grab/Singtel is no surprise at all. Any conversation in Singapore about the likely winners – and there have been many of late, in the absence of much else to talk about bar Covid – has typically started with this consortium before moving on to whom the others might be.

It combines Grab, the leading southeast Asian fintech – along with Gojek, with which it is rumoured to be considering a merger – with Singtel, the Singaporean incumbent telco, in a 60:40 mix.

Grab is already a leading player in financial services in Singapore, offering not just digital wallets but lending and insurance; Singtel’s customer base in Singapore is unrivalled. Both institutions are thoroughly entrenched in the everyday lives of Singaporeans.

We expect them to thrive alongside the incumbent banks
Ravi Menon, MAS

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