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…
Licence to [digital] bank
Fool’s gold? Singapore’s digital banking licence rush
As many as 21 suitors have lined up for a digital bank licence in Singapore, despite just 2% of its 5.9 million people being unbanked. But not many bidders may have the expertise to run a digital bank in a heavily regulated market
Singapore is the first country in Southeast Asia to dive into the digital banking revolution
Companies such as Grab, Razer, and SEA have bid for a digital bank licence either as solo players or multi-member consortia
There are fundamental concerns around the viability of these new licences and the groups that have bid for them
The 21 applicants are looking beyond Singapore’s shores, as Southeast Asia begins to warm up to the idea of digital banks.