Malaysia-based Axiata Group began vetting potential partners to launch a bid for a digital banking licence in the country, one of five such permits the nation plans to issue in 2020 in a financial inclusion push, Bloomberg reported.
During a call to discuss its Q4 2019 earnings, deputy CEO Izzaddin Idris said Axiata is in discussion with 11 potential banking and and e-wallet companies, the news outlet said.
Gaming company Razer, taxi-booking platform Grab, bank CIMB, and AirAsia had reportedly submitted enquiries, as have Malaysian banks Hong Leong Bank and Maybank.
In 2019, Malaysia’s central bank outlined plans to develop a digital banking framework, stating it will issue five licences to conduct either conventional or Islamic banking business in the country, Reuters reported. It aims to finalise the framework by June, with the goal of filling gaps in the market in underserved parts of the country.
Bloomberg noted there is a push across Asia to develop digital banking strategies, with authorities in Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand all exploring the option.