Digital Banking

Zall Enters Crowded Competition For Singapore Digital Banking License

Digital Banking

As it joins the competition to bring change to the financial space in Singapore, Chinese eCommerce firm Zall Smart Commerce Group said it is part of a consortium to apply for a digital wholesale banking license in the city-state, Bloomberg reported.

Global eTrade Services, a CrimsonLogic Pte unit, and Marubeni Corp., a Japanese trading firm, are among the other group partners.

The group is reportedly looking to be a part of the city-state’s development as a worldwide financial hub for trading. The group headed by Zall is only the newest applicant to make bids known for a digital wholesale banking license. Jack Ma’s Ant Financial is among the other firms seeking licenses to serve corporate clients.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said earlier in January that 14 groups have made digital wholesale permit bids, and seven have applied for digital full-bank licenses. After receiving a virtual banking license in 2017 in the country, Zall has been running Z-Bank in China.

The news comes after reports surfaced earlier this month that Beyond Consortium also has thrown its hat in the ring to apply for the country’s digital bank licenses. Beyond Consortium, which is led by EZ-Link and V3 Group and includes Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, Far East Organisation, the Singapore Business Federation, and Heliconia Capital, will be competing with a handful of other entities in the nation to capitalize on the need for digital banking.

News also came to light in January that gaming company Razer was pursuing a digital banking license in Singapore along with Ant Financial. The Hong Kong-listed Razer created a consortium to form Razer Youth Bank with Singapore startups and Asian billionaires, encompassing early-stage tech venture capital firm Insignia Ventures Partners and local supermarket operator Sheng Siong Holdings.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore will announce who is getting the licenses — three for wholesale and two full — in the middle of this year.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.