China's Tencent Holdings will be the first of five Internet firms to open its private banks to clients, Reuters reported late on Friday (Dec. 12).
Tencent was recently approved to start banking operations and "marks a gradual opening of China's closely guarded banking sector that is currently dominated by state giants," according to the article.
"As part of broader efforts to channel more loans to the country's cash-starved small businesses, the banking regulator has so far approved the development more than 10 private lenders in Tianjin, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong," Reuters reported.
Reuters also reported that the China Banking and Regulatory Commission said Shenzhen Qianhai Weizhong Bank, a Tencent-funded bank, Shenzhen Baiyeyuan Investment Co. and Shenzhen Liye Group, had a registered capital of $484.93 million (3 billion yuan).
"Also known as Webank, the lender would focus on loans to individuals as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, the regulator said." Banking operations are set to start Dec. 28.