Malaysia’s Axiata plans digital banking bid

Malaysia’s Axiata plans digital banking bid

According to local press reports, Malaysia’s Axiata Group, one of the leading telecommunications groups in Asia, is planning to go ahead with a bid for a digital banking licence in the country.

Axiata is said to be vetting potential partners following the announcement last year by Malaysia’s central bank that it plans to develop a digital banking framework. The license Axiata is going for would be one of five such permits the country plans to issue in 2020.

During an earnings call, senior Axiata executives confirmed that the company has begun discussions with no fewer than 11 potential banking and e-wallet company partners. The company could establish a virtual bank as early as the second half of 2021 if it receives one of the virtual banking licenses.

Axiata is not the only major name hoping to pick up one of the permits the nation plans to issue in 2020 in a push for greater financial inclusion. Gaming company Razer, taxi-booking platform Grab, bank CIMB, and AirAsia were said to have submitted enquiries, as were Malaysian banks Hong Leong Bank and Maybank.

Axiata Digital already operates the popular e-wallet brand Boost and a micro-lending platform named Aspirasi, though whether, like Aspirasi, its new digital banking service will be focused primarily on micro-entrepreneurs, is unclear.

Malaysia is not alone in trying to build digital banking strategies; areas like Hong Kong, Singapore  and Thailand are also said to be considering similar moves.

 

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