Ping An’s Hong Kong virtual bank to showcase tech prowess as it harbours ambition to go global
- Ping An OneConnect Bank is set for soft launch by the year-end
- Veteran banker Ryan Fung, former managing director of Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong, named as Ping An OneConnect’s CEO
She added that the technology would be used to develop new products and new markets overseas.
Hongkongers are reaping the benefits of a revolution in banking services, even before the first virtual bank kicks off
James Lloyd, partner and Asia-Pacific fintech leader at EY, believes such a model would work.
“In addition to the digital-only virtual banks currently rolling out across markets, we are seeing the emergence of related service providers,” Lloyd said. “Serving customers and taking risk directly, using its own licence, could certainly be an efficient means for such players to demonstrate the efficacy of their platforms.”
As of June, OneConnect said that it has provided technology services to 3,707 financial firms in mainland China. It also has agreements with 27 financial institutions in 10 overseas markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Philippines to provide blockchain, artificial intelligence and cloud computing support.
The soft launch of Ping An’s virtual bank last this year will mark the company’s first major expansion in Hong Kong. Ping An has only had a small presence in the city where it has been selling car insurance since 1993.
The company has set the bar high for its virtual bank.
Tan said since Ping An did not want to run OneConnect like a normal bank, it did not use its banking unit Ping An Bank or fintech arm Lufax to apply for the licence.
The company has hired Ryan Fung, the former managing director of Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong’s retail banking for seven years, as CEO of Ping An OneConnect.
Ping An’s expansion plan in Hong Kong comes as the city experiences unprecedented unrest against the now-suspended extradition bill, which has now turned into a wider movement for greater political freedom.
The insurer, set up by chairman Peter Ma Mingzhe three decades ago, has turned into a financial tech conglomerate.
In April last year, it listed Ping An Healthcare and Technology, China’s largest online medical services start-up on Hong Kong stock exchange.