WeLab Bank recently confirmed the public launch of its digital banking services. It’s notably the only stand-alone firm to acquire a virtual bank license from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the city-state’s de facto central bank that’s also responsible for promoting the efficiency, integrity and development of its financial system.
WeLab acquired $156 million through a Series C round in December 2019. The funds have reportedly been used to develop its digital banking platform, which leverages the latest emerging technologies including AI, Big Data, and machine learning, in order to offer a fully-functioning app-based neobanking service.
Just around 10 days since its official launch, WeLab reports that over 60% of its new clients are using two or more of the digital bank’s products. The company’s GoSave time deposit account has attracted many new users, WeLab revealed. GoSave aims to take advantage of the power of the community to pay more competitive interest rates as more consumers join each group.
Since it went live, WeLab has helped customers with opening 137 GoSave accounts, with over 8,200 customers now participating in the new offer.
Adrian Tse, the CEO and board member at WeLab, stated:
“The pandemic has created challenges for many industries. While some banks have shortened their branch banking hours, WeLab Bank continues to provide a refreshing banking experience to the Hong Kong people efficiently.”
“WeLab Bank is fully digital and everything can be done simply from their phone. Customers can open an account anytime, anywhere in as fast as 5 minutes, immediately use the virtual Debit Card to earn cash rebates, and board the GoSave minibus to earn competitive interest rates.”
WeLab is the third digital bank to launch in Hong Kong at a time when the Coronavirus crisis has accelerated the shift towards digital platforms and services. WeLab appears to have entered a saturated market with around 155 traditional lenders and eight digital banks that are offering services to Hong Kong’s 7+ million residents.
Last year, the HKMA awarded eight digital bank licenses. Some of the other licensees include Mox, Ant Bank, Livi, Ping An OneConnect, and Fusion Bank. These banks are still in the process of completing their pilots.
Livi VB, which is co-owned by Bank of China (Hong Kong), JF Digits and Jardines have also launched their services in Hong Kong.