Ant Group Debuts Virtual Bank In Hong Kong Weeks After Filing IPO

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Ant Bank, the virtual banking division of Hangzhou, China-based Ant Group, has launched banking services in Hong Kong, Fintech News reported.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) approved Ant Bank’s application for a virtual banking license. It was one of eight such recipients, the report stated.

Now, users can download the bank’s mobile app to establish personal bank accounts in as little as three minutes, according to the report.

Ant Bank will partner with AlipayHK to allow users to integrate banking services, Fintech News reported. More than 2 million AlipayHK customers will be able to open an Ant Bank account remotely through the bank’s Mini App in their eWallet app.

“I’m thrilled that Ant Bank has officially opened today and we are now able to offer our innovative, inclusive and secure products and services to Hong Kong citizens,” said Ant Group CEO Michael Wang, according to the report. “We set up Ant Bank with the intention of providing increasingly mature FinTech products and services to the Hong Kong market and to provide a new choice to people locally.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that Ant had 21.2 billion yuan ($3 billion) in net profits for the first half of the year with revenues hitting 72.5 billion yuan ($10.5 billion).

The launch comes a few weeks after Ant Group filed its initial public offering (IPO), which could be the biggest listing in the country’s history. In January, state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco set the previous record of $29.4 billion.

Ant Group’s filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange said its shares will be listed in the financial hub and in Shanghai. Ant is the parent company of Alipay, its online and mobile payments platform.

Ant Group is seeking a record return of at least $35 billion as it goes public. The conglomerate has raised its IPO target to $250 billion, up from $225 billion.

Earlier this month, Shanghai regulators approved Ant Group’s request to proceed with its IPO share sale. The company has requested a hearing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to reach the next step.

China International Capital Corp., Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley are managing the Hong Kong sale.

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