Business

Razer-led consortium, Ant Financial apply for digital banking licences in Singapore

Gaming company Razer said yesterday it is leading a consortium of companies that has applied for an online bank licence in Singapore, joining the race to shake up the Republic's financial sector.

Razer's fintech business will have a 60 per cent stake in the consortium that includes insurance company FWD and Sheng Siong Holdings, a private vehicle of the Lim brothers behind a Singaporean supermarket chain, Reuters reported.

Razer Fintech said its bid to set up a retail bank will leverage "on the strength of Razer as a lifestyle brand synonymous with the youth and millennials, Razer's global presence and the innovative digital payments platform Razer Fintech has built".

Razer Fintech chief executive Lee Li Meng said Razer has spent the past year appointing a board of advisers and forming partnerships in preparation for the application to be a digital full bank, The Straits Times reported.

Mr Lee, also Razer's chief strategy officer, said: "Addressing the unmet financial needs of the large, yet under-served, segment of the population through an innovative digital-first banking platform is a natural extension of our payments business."

Others in the consortium include Insignia Ventures Partners, mobile internet company LinkSure Global and vehicle marketplace Carro.

China's Ant Financial, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, has also joined the race for a digital banking licence in Singapore, the company said in a statement yesterday, Reuters reported.

"In line with our commitment to promoting financial inclusion globally, we have submitted an application to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for a digital wholesale banking licence," a spokesman for the company said in a statement.

"We look forward to contributing to the development of the digital banking landscape in Singapore."

Earlier this week, Singtel said it was teaming up with ride-hailing company Grab to bid for the licence.

MAS is offering as many as five digital banking permits to non-banks in a bid to open up the financial industry to new competitors.

BUSINESS & FINANCE