The first virtual bank started a trial run in Hong Kong on Wednesday, allowing bank customers to experience more innovative banking services and marking a new milestone for Hong Kong’s banking industry, said a Hong Kong finance official.
The pilot virtual bank will operate in the fintech supervisory sandbox of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), after eight licenses were granted to virtual banks in the first half of the year, said Arthur Yuen, deputy chief executive of the HKMA.
A supervisory sandbox refers to testing grounds for new business models that are not protected by current regulations in the digital economy arena.
Virtual banks have aroused public attention as the first trial run involved some 2,000 interested members of the public as the first batch of users. And quite a few other institutions have expressed an interest in applying for a license, which Yuen said suggests strong market confidence in the industry’s prospects.
During the trial run, the HKMA will closely monitor its operation and the virtual bank will be allowed to formally launch its business if the trial run is satisfactory and it can meet all the relevant regulatory requirements of the HKMA.
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