Axiata Group and RHB Bank among contenders for Malaysia’s digital bank permits


Among the frontrunners for the digital banking licences is a consortium comprising of mobile phone network operator Axiata Group Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd. There’s also an application from a group including Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd, the Sarawak state government and Revenue Group Bhd, a Malaysian information technology services firm. — LOW LAY PHON/The Star

Malaysia’s largest mobile phone network operator and fourth largest bank are among key contenders to win one of five coveted digital banking licenses in the Asian nation, which could unlock a slice of the booming ecommerce market.

Bank Negara Malaysia will as soon as this month pick from a pool of 29 applicants in a bid to increase access for people who are currently underserved by the country’s banking system, Governor Nor Shamsiah Yunus has said. Malaysia would follow countries from the Philippines to Singapore dishing out licenses in recent years.

Among the frontrunners is a consortium comprising of mobile phone network operator Axiata Group Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd. There’s also an application from a group including Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd, the Sarawak state government and Revenue Group Bhd, a Malaysian information technology services firm.

The central bank wants digital lenders to help spur more people to save for the future and for more entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to capture market share in ecommerce in South-East Asia, home to than 650 million people.

“We also expect the entry of these digital banks to accelerate the digitalization of our incumbent banks,” the governor said, adding that an announcement on the winners could come alongside the publication of the central bank’s annual report by the end of March.

Other contenders include applications involving public and private companies:

– A joint venture between South-East Asia’s biggest ride-hailing and food delivery firm Grab Holdings Ltd and Singapore’s mobile phone network operator Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, known as Singte. (The consortium was one of the winners of Singapore’s digital banking licenses in 2020);

– A group consisting of Genting Plantations Bhd, the plantation arm of Malaysia’s casino-to-hospitality conglomerate Genting Bhd, technology firm PUC, Pahang and Sabah state governments;

– A joint venture between Japanese AEON Financial Service Co Ltd. and its Malaysian unit AEON Credit Service (M) Bhd.

– A consortium of AirAsia budget airline owner Capital A Bhd’s BigPay, Malaysian financial group Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd or MIDF and Ikhlas Capital, a Singapore-based private equity firm co-founded by Nazir Razak, the youngest brother of former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak

– A group comprising of Singapore’s wealth platform iFAST Corp army cooperative Koperasi Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, investment firm THZ Alliance, and Lee Thiam Wah, founder and major shareholder of Malaysian supermarket chain 99 Speedmart

– A consortium of Green Packet Bhd, a Malaysian tech company led by Puan Chan Cheong, Singapore-listed Zico Holdings Inc and digital Islamic factoring platform M24 Tawreeq Sdn.

– A group led by Malaysian conglomerate Sunway Bhd. – Bloomberg

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!
   

Next In Tech News

EV startup Fisker slides as cash dwindles with 'difficult year' ahead
Elon Musk sues OpenAI and CEO Sam Altman for abandoning mission
Humanoid robot-maker Figure partners with OpenAI and gets backing from Jeff Bezos and tech giants
A startup’s technology takes aim at lithium-ion batteries’ fire problem
Drones, snake robot enter wrecked Japan nuclear reactor
Canadian influencer’s amazement at absence of fortune cookies in China restaurants triggers amusing online discussion about origins of snack
Cabinet has decided to reinstate cabotage policy exemption for undersea cable repairs, says Loke
Apple cancels work on electric car, ending decade-long effort
Analysis-Wall Street hunts for more AI gold after Nvidia’s soaring rally
Google faces widening antitrust probe over online ads in Canada

Others Also Read