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Ant Financial, Tencent, join HK virtual banking race

Hong Kong

TENCENT Holdings Ltd, Ant Financial, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd and Xiaomi Corp are among companies to win licences to create virtual lenders in Hong Kong, bringing major players into the race to shake up the city's traditional banking sector.

Tencent has teamed up with ICBC's local unit and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd, a joint statement from their venture said on Thursday. Ant and Xiaomi have also got permits via local entities.

The four newly licensed firms intend to offer services within nine months, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said in a statement. "The HKMA expects to be able to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the situation about one year after the first virtual bank has launched its service," it said. BLOOMBERG

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