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Opinion
Nisha Gopalan and Andy Mukherjee

The Race for 650 Million Virtual Bank Accounts

The competition is heating up for Southeast Asia’s digital-savvy customers. But some bricks-and-mortar lenders are sitting pretty.

Click of a button?

Click of a button?

Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg

China’s tech giants have upended the country's payments system and promise to shake up its consumer-banking sector. The rest of the region won't be so easy.

Asia is quickly becoming the next battlefront for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Ant Financial and Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s WeChat Pay, after both secured licenses to set up online-only banks in Hong Kong earlier this month. Singapore’s welcoming regulatory environment makes the city-state an obvious entry point to Southeast Asia.