A financial technology giant ‘Ant Group’, owned and managed by China’s billionaire Jack Ma, announced the launch of a digital wholesale bank incorporated in Singapore, named ANEXT Bank on Monday.
ANEXT got approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to start business from June 2, Ant and ANEXT said in a joint statement.
This move marks one of Ant’s most prominent overseas pushes after its $37 billion initial public offering (IPO) was sabotaged by the Chinese regulators at the end of 2020.
E-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding holds approximately 33% of ANT. ANT said that ANEXT’s focus was micro, small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially those with cross-border operations.
“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,” the MAS Chief Fintech Officer, Sopnendu Mohanty commented.
As part of the soft launch, ANEXT Bank showed out the ANEXT Business Account, a dual-currency deposit account with distinctive security features including three-factor authentication verification and benefits like remote onboarding and daily interest.
MAS said that it expects the pair to release digital banks this year.
ANEXT, led by banking veteran Toh Su Mei, will work with Proxtera, a local entity founded by MAS and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority, to establish an open framework for financial institutions.
Proxtera’s first participating digital wholesale bank in Singapore will be ANEXT Bank, which will pioneer banking solutions for Proxtera’s network’s buyers and sellers.
SMEs will be able to use ANEXT Business Account starting in the third quarter of 2022, according to the companies.
It was recently announced that MAS had begun testing Digital Assets with industry titans JP Morgan and DBS. This demonstrates Singapore’s desire to achieve a strong position in web3, as well as its willingness to take the necessary actions.