Ant Group launches digital wholesale bank ANEXT in Singapore as part of its expansion in SEA
Ant Group’s wholly owned subsidiary ANEXT bank announced its soft launch today. Ant Group, China’s fintech giant, is partially owned by Alibaba, the most prominent Chinese e-commerce company founded by Jack Ma. ANEXT is one of the first digital banks in Singapore, licensed in the end of 2020 by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
“This marks yet another milestone in Singapore’s digital bank development journey…MAS expects the digital banks to thrive and synergies with our dynamic financial institutions and raise the bar in delivering quality financial services, and to uplift Singapore’s financial sector to better support the growth of SMEs in Singapore, the region and in emerging markets,” says Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer at the MAS.
ANEXT aims to serve micro, small and medium Enterprises (SMEs), as well as cross-border merchants and companies. ”Amid rapid acceleration in the digital economy, business models are changing and pivoting to become digital-first, if not adopting a hybrid model. Financial services have to evolve and be where SMEs are doing their businesses digitally,” says Toh Su Mei, Chief Executive Officer of ANEXT Bank and a banking industry veteran of over 20 years.
“We believe in joining hands with industry partners and the public sector to provide SMEs with financial services that are simpler, safer and more rewarding,” Toh adds.
ANEXT has already signed a 2-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Proxtera, an open connector for B2B marketplaces, trade associations, and financial and business providers that service SMEs. Proxtera is supported by two Singaporean government ministries, the MAS and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) under the Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information. The platform currently serves approximately 400,000 SMEs across Asia and Africa.
ANEXT Bank has launched its first digital banking product — the ANEXT Business Account, a dual-currency deposit account with proprietary security measures, remote onboarding and daily interest. The product benefits cross boarder SMEs as it is the first in Singapore to provide remote account opening for businesses registered in Singapore, regardless of the locations of their main businesses.
ANEXT’s marks Ant Group’s key step in upgrading its business in Southeast Asia, following the launched of mobile payment platform Alipay+ in 2020 and the acquisition of currency exchange platform WorldFirst in 2019.