Ant, Razer Join Rally For Singapore eBank Licenses

Monetary Authority of Singapore, Razer, Ant financial, Jack Ma, singapore, digital bank license, Razer Youth Bank, Grab,

Gaming company Razer is going after a Singapore digital banking license, along with China’s largest online monetary platform Ant Financial, according to reports on Wednesday (Jan. 1).

The Hong Kong-listed Razer created a consortium to form Razer Youth Bank with Singapore startups and Asian billionaires, including local supermarket operator Sheng Siong Holdings and early-stage tech venture capital firm Insignia Ventures Partners. Razer FinTech will own a 60 percent majority stake Razer Youth Bank, which will be headquartered in Singapore. 

Its consortium is the second group to bid for one of five digital banking licenses in Singapore, following a joint bid by Grab and Singapore Telecommunications. The Monetary Authority of Singapore will announce who is getting the licenses — two full and three for wholesale — in mid-2020. 

Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant, which is part-owned by Alibaba, put in a bid on Thursday (Jan. 2) for a wholesale license, which has a capital commitment of $100 million.

“Digital banking technologies rolled out in Singapore, and data collected will also support the southeast Asian growth of Alibaba’s eCommerce site Lazada,” said Vey-Sern Ling, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst. 

Southeast Asia’s digital lending market is anticipated to top $110 billion by 2025, which is over four times the size it is now, according to a report by Bain & Co., Google and Temasek Holdings. 

Hong Kong has also been working to open up the banking industry to technology companies, granting licenses to both Ant and rival Tencent earlier this year.

Grab partnered with Singtel and formed a consortium to enter digital banking. Singtel will hold a 40 percent stake and Grab will hold 60 percent.

Both Singtel and Grab have dabbled in the financial realm before, with apps like Dash, VIA, GrabPay and GrabInsure. Grab, which started out as a ridesharing company, has been introducing finance apps and payment solutions since 2016.

Recently, it announced a new ‘GrabPay’ card, a numberless card that can be used to pay for services at nearly 53 million merchants worldwide. Grab also recently said it wants to expand into artificial intelligence.