Shopee and Grab’s Parent Companies Receive a Digital Bank License
Singapore’s monetary authority, aka the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), granted digital bank licenses to parent Shopee, Sea Group, and the consortium Grab-Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel). MAS estimates, online-based banks will only operate in early 2022.
Grab and Singtel have applied for permits since late last year, while Sea Group in early 2020. “MAS applies a strict and merit-based process to select a strong digital bank,” said MAS Managing Director Ravi Menon quoted from Tech In Asia, Friday (4 / 12).
In addition, MAS provides a digital wholesale bank (DWB) license to Ant Group. The consortium consisting of Linklogis Hong Kong, Greenland Financial Holdings, and Beijing Co-operative Equity Equity Investment Fund Management also obtained the DWB license.
The newly selected players will provide services to retail customers such as opening accounts, depositing money, and applying for debit and credit cards. However, they will have no physical presence. All transactions are made online.
“We hope that they develop together with banks that are currently operating and raise industry standards in providing quality financial services, especially for businesses and individuals who are currently underserved (unbanked and underserved),” said Ravi.
Opportunities to Expand Services
In June, MAS announced it would issue around two full digital bank licenses and three DWBs. Shortly after, the Grab-Singtel consortium appointed Charles Wong as the digital bank’s chief executive. They also plan to prepare 200 workers by the end of 2021.
These teams work in the product, data, technology, risk, finance and compliance divisions. Wong is a veteran at Citigroup with more than twenty years of experience. He spent nearly five years as head of retail banking in Singapore.
“We have assets and synergies that make banking more accessible and intuitive. This is to provide simplicity, speed, and affordability of products that are needed by consumers and companies alike, “said SingTel group CEO Yuen Kuan Moon in his official statement.
Quoted from Reuters, analysts think that the presence of the license holder will have little impact on the three large local banks, namely DBS Group Holdings, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and United Overseas Bank. However, they can use the opportunity to expand their services to other Southeast Asian markets.
Shopee Collaborating with PONDS to Present AI features
Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, is collaborating with PONDS, Unilever’s beauty brand to launch a new campaign titled Unilever Brand Day, which will integrate the AI chatbot Skin Advisor Live (SAL) feature exclusively on Shopee.
This collaboration will open up opportunities for Shopee and PONDS to reach more tech-savvy consumers and encourage higher engagement, as e-commerce is an increasingly important medium for brand growth.
In Indonesia, e-commerce has contributed to an increase of more than 500% for the Unilever skincare category from year to year. The campaign will integrate AI-powered PONDS beauty technology solutions with proven Shopee features to provide an innovative and personalized online shopping experience.
Based on the free skin analysis provided through SAL, users can gain a deeper understanding of their skin and find the most effective skincare products, from the comfort of their respective homes.
This presents a simple one-stop beauty solution for consumers who are often overwhelmed by the choice of beauty products available. The new campaign and features from Unilever will be launched in stages starting from December in four of Shopee’s operating regions, namely Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Care & Beauty category is consistently in high demand at Shopee, as more and more people start to prioritize self-care and shop for skincare products online more often. This trend has driven more brands to expand their business online to meet the growing demand for buyers and find more innovative ways to engage with customers.