Digital Banking: CK Hutchison’s AMTD Group, a Financial Services Group, to Spin Off Virtual Bank Business

Earlier this month, the AMTD Group, a financial services group established by CK Hutchison (a Cayman Islands–registered global conglomerate based in Hong Kong that focuses on ports and related services, retail, infrastructure, energy, and telecommunications, and operates in more than 50 countries), revealed that it’s planning to list its digital assets business in Singapore and potentially the US during this year.

The listing will help finance AMTD’s plans to establish a regional financial technology (Fintech) platform, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The privately-held AMTD Group is managed by Calvin Choi, a former UBS banking official. The firm is spinning off a range of services including digital banking, insurance, digital asset exchange and payment platforms under a Fintech division known as AMTD Digital.

AMTD Digital owns one of Hong Kong’s eight digital banking licenses, which is held via a strategic partnership with Xiaomi Corp, a major Chinese smartphone manufacturer. Both AMTD and Xiaomi are also working with a local talent program and a data research hub for listed Chinese firms.

The AMTD Group confirmed that it’s applying for a virtual banking license in Malaysia, which if approved, will be a key focus of the firm’s planned initial public offering (IPO).

The group aims to establish an Asia-based digital banking platform to cater to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and retail banking clients. There are only a few regional Fintech industry participants that would be able to offer such a platform, including Alibaba Group’s Ant Financial.

AMTD Digital has secured more than $100 million in capital via a pre-IPO investment round. The details regarding the public offering have not been shared publicly.

The AMTD Group is competing for one of the five virtual banking licenses being offered in Malaysia. Meanwhile in Singapore, AMTD and Xiaomi are working with SP Group, a local utility company, in order to acquire a digital banking license, which could be issued by June of this year.

Last year, the AMTD Group listed AMTD International on the New York Stock Exchange, which  established a $2 billion investment banking business. AMTD International says it intends to launch a secondary listing in Singapore’s markets during H1 2020, but won’t be issuing company shares (in the beginning). The firm is planning to raise funds at some point this year, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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