OneConnect, the Fintech Division of Ping An Insurance, to Expand Operations into Malaysian Markets

Ping An’s technology division OneConnect will be expanding its operations into Malaysian markets. OneConnect is notably among the few companies that have acquired a digital banking license from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. OneConnect is also supporting the BEYOND consortium (in Singapore) as a key technology partner in order to secure a full digital banking license in the city-state.

OneConnect already counts three local banks in Malaysia as its customers. They’ve teamed up with the country’s RHB Bank Berhad to introduce an artificial intelligence (AI)-enhanced SME financing mobile app. OneConnect is also working cooperatively with CIMB Philippines to enhance their digital banking services.

Last month, OneConnect reported that it had been working with a local bank to introduce the first “end-to-end” digital KYC solution for Malaysian consumers. Although OneConnect’s management didn’t actually confirm which banking client they are working with, Hong Leong was reportedly the only bank to offer that solution in October 2020.

OneConnect’s management noted that the firm is in the process of putting together a local team that will serve financial institutions based in Malaysia while supporting their local initiatives. These new workers will also include a dedicated engineering team.

Tan Bin Ru, CEO (Southeast Asia) of OneConnect Financial Technology, stated:

“Malaysia is of strategic importance to OneConnect. The country is home to five local banks that are 20 of Southeast Asia’s largest banks, enjoying strong regional presence. Bank Negara Malaysia’s decision to open its door to digital banking bodes well for our Southeast Asia expansion strategy.”

She added:

“We see a lot of potential in Malaysia and with our new office being set up, we will be able to contribute our deep market knowledge and ready solutions to the local banks and financial institutions in Malaysia.”

Responding to a question about whether OneConnect intends to launch a digital bank in Malaysia, she noted that the firm is mainly focused on the Greater Bay Area. She also mentioned that one of the main reasons why OneConnect acquired the banking license in Hong Kong is so that they can fully commercialize their experience in establishing a digital bank from the ground up. This will allow them effectively to compete with other service providers, Tan Bin Ru explained.

She confirmed that OneConnect is currently holding discussions with several potential applicants based in Malaysia. But she also clarified that the firm is not looking for an equity-based arrangement or deal. The company is only interested in working with other businesses as their technology partner, which is somewhat similar to how they conduct business in Singapore.

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