Alibaba’s fintech affiliate Ant Group launched a digital wholesale bank called ANEXT bank in Singapore on Monday. Ant Group is wholly owned by Ant Group and received approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on the 2nd of June to operate in the country, Ant Group and ANEXT said in a joint statement issued on Monday. E-commerce giant Alibaba owns about 33 percent of Ant Group.
Since its $37 billion initial public offering (IPO) faced challenges from regulators in China in late 2020, this is one of the biggest pushes in other countries by the company. After regulators derailed its IPO in 2020, the company obtained one of Singapore’s first digital wholesale banking licenses. This license ANEXT acquired will allow it to provide services to large clients such as corporations and financial institutions.
According to Ant Group, ANEXT will focus on micro, small and mid-sized enterprises (popularly referred to as SMEs), especially those that deal with cross-border operations. Speaking on the development, the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Chief Fintech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty said that “This marks yet another milestone in Singapore’s digital bank development journey, a strategic effort to ensure the banking sector remains progressive, globally competitive, and vibrant.”
Ant Group’s ANEXT joins other companies like tech company Sea and fintech company Grab, which have received digital bank licenses in Singapore. These licenses allow these companies to directly take deposits and offer services locally to retail as well as corporate customers. Sea and Grab are expected to launch digital banks later this year, Sopnendu Mohanty said.
ANEXT’s plan is to develop an open framework for financial institutions. This will be done in partnership with Proxtera, a local entity initiated by MAS and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority, the issued statement showed.