SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore has drawn huge interest from technology firms looking to shake up the city-state’s banking landscape, attracting 21 applications for five digital bank licences on offer. FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows commercial and residential buildings in central Singapore, June 22, 2019. REUTERS/Loriene Perera/File Photo Among firms that have publicly said they are bidding are Alibaba Group (BABA.N) affiliate Ant Financial, a joint venture between Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (STEL.SI) and Southeast Asian ride-hailer Grab, and a consortium led by gaming firm Razer (1337.HK). Singapore’s banking liberalization is its biggest in two decades and follows similar moves in Hong Kong, which issued eight online banking licences last year. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it received strong interest from a diverse group of applicants but didn’t name them. Seven bidders are for retail banks and the rest are for wholesale banks. “These include e-commerce firms, technology and telecommunications companies, FinTechs (such as crowd-funding platforms and payment services providers) and financial institutions,” the MAS said on Tuesday. The majority of applications were consortiums. The online-only banks are expected to operate at lower costs and offer services that differ from local incumbents such as DBS Group (DBSM.SI) and OCBC… Read full this story
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