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ZhongAn-Backed ZA Bank Tests Virtual Banking in Hong Kong

By Wen Simin and Han Wei / Dec 20, 2019 06:13 AM / Business & Tech

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ZA Bank, backed by mainland-based online insurer ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance, became the first virtual lender to start business in Hong Kong nearly nine months after the city’s regulators approved a pilot program.

ZA Bank said it started testing services Wednesday under the supervision of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). The trial run will invite 2,000 selected users, including friends and relatives of its staff, to try services such as remote account opening, multicurrency savings accounts, time deposits, local transfers and e-statements, the bank said in a statement.

ZA Bank has yet to set a date for an official opening. Arthur Yuen, deputy chief executive of the HKMA, said in a statement that the virtual bank will be able to formally provide services to the general public if the test run goes smoothly and meets all regulatory requirements.

Backed by ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance and Sinolink Group, ZA Bank was among the first eight virtual banks to win licenses from the HKMA in March. Three other banks, including JD.com backed Livi VB, Standard Chartered's SC Digital Solutions and WeLab Bank, have said they plan to start services early next year.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)

Related: With Eye on Fintech, Hong Kong Grants More Virtual Bank Licenses

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