A massage-chair business. A utility provider. A ride-hailing company. A maker of high-end PC gaming equipment. If you live in Singapore, one of these businesses could be your bank before the end of this decade. Tech majors including Grab (the region’s ride-hailing leader that bought out competitor Uber’s local business in 2018), New York Stock Exchange-listed games and e-commerce firm Sea, and gaming hardware manufacturer Razer, are among 21 applicants to throw their hats into the ring for a digital bank licence in Singapore.
Digital banking—the concept of deconstructing the high-street bank in today’s always-online, app-based world—has captured the attention of consumers and the wallets of investors around the globe.