Alibaba-Affiliated Online Bank Get Green Light From China Regulator

REUTERS: China‘s banking regulator has given a green light to MYbank, the online bank affiliated with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, to start operating. The bank, owned in part by Alibaba-linked Ant Financial, is expected to launch in June as China’s internet companies increasingly encroach upon the turf of traditional banks.

“MYbank is an important milestone for Ant Financial’s development to provide financial services for small and micro enterprises and individuals,” Yu Shengfa, head of MYbank, said in comments emailed to Reuters by Ant Financial.

Ant Financial had made 400 billion yuan ($64.5 billion) worth of micro-loans to more than 1.6 million small companies by the end of April with a bad debt ratio of around 1 percent, Ant said.

Ant Financial will hold a 30 percent stake in MYbank, whilst subsidiaries of Fosun International Ltd and Wanxiang Group will hold 25 percent and 18 percent stakes, respectively.

Ant Financial is itself controlled by Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma and other senior Alibaba executives.

MYbank and rival Tencent Holdings Ltd’s online WeBank are among several private banks recently approved by the regulators as Beijing looks to shake up its stodgy and largely state-owned finance industry.

MYbank was approved to open with a registered capital of 4 billion yuan ($645 million), the China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a statement on Wednesday.