Chinese e-commerce group Zall leads consortium for digital wholesale bank licence

SINGAPORE - Chinese e-commerce group Zall is leading a consortium that is hoping to snag one of Singapore's three digital wholesale bank licences on offer.

The consortium aims to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) when they want to expand into Asia, Zall Smart Commerce Group said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 21).

Its partners in the consortium are Japanese trading house Marubeni Corporation and trade platform company Global eTrade Services, a subsidiary of state-owned government e-solutions company CrimsonLogic.

Zall deputy chief executive Peter Yu said that the consortium hopes to provide SMEs with growth insights and sustainable finance by drawing on member companies' global footprint, network and resources.

He noted that companies in the consortium have operations in China, Japan and South-east Asia.

The digital bank foray will mark Zall's fourth major project in Singapore since 2018, the company statement said. Zall has worked with trading platform Global eTrade Services (GeTS), the Singapore Exchange and Marubeni in its previous projects in the Republic.

The Zall-led consortium is competing against the likes of Jack Ma's Ant Financial, which has decided to apply for a wholesale bank licence alone.

Other hopefuls include different consortiums led respectively by iFast Corporation, AMTD and Sheng Ye Capital. They are among the 14 applicants who have submitted their bid to the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Digital wholesale banks will serve SMEs and other non-retail segments, and foreign companies can hold a majority stake in them.

Applicants will know by the middle of this year if they had been successful.