ZhongAn taps HK user community to help develop virtual bank
Website unveiled with call for seed users
[Hong Kong, March 27, 2019] - ZhongAn Technologies International Group Limited (ZA International) today announced that it has been granted a virtual banking license by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) through its subsidiary ZhongAn Virtual Finance Limited (ZAVFL). The license allows the company to offer a wide range of innovative online financial services to Hong Kong users.
ZA International also announced the launch of its new brand ZA, and its website – www.za.group – which is now officially accepting user registrations. Registered users will receive updates about ZA’s latest developments and they will have the opportunity to directly contribute in ZA's product development and design process.
ZA's "community-driven" approach encourages users to participate in product design and development discussion, guiding the company to design and develop innovative products and services that will better serve the needs of Hong Kong users.
“ZhongAn recognizes the importance of user experience, so we’re reforming the traditional financial product design process by inviting users to participate in the early product development process,” said Wayne Xu, President of ZA International. “We hope to include interactive elements and create a more personalized financial product line in compliant to Hong Kong's financial regulatory framework. Financial services are meant to serve people’s needs. In this digital era, ZA hopes to bring back the business focus to serving their needs.”
“Our philosophy has always been to put our user needs first as we go about developing new products. We hope to bring this mission and vision to the Hong Kong market," said Mr. Xu.
The virtual bank is set to go live and launches its first services in 6-9 months’ time, meaning the first batch of the financial products co-created with users will be launched in the Hong Kong market this year.
In the coming months, ZA will continue testing and developing its back-office systems, whilst continuously iterating to deliver a user-centric experience.
“Our target is to provide a new digital service in Hong Kong,” said Daniel Tian, Chief Technology Officer. “To start, we will focus on technical excellence in our core banking services which will be launched later this year. Also, it is our strong belief that data-security is not just a feature, but an essential element for all our products. Hence, a handful of security, risk control and anti-fraud technologies developed by ZhongAn will be applied to all products. Our outstanding technical strength and extensive experience in innovative financial services will enable us to rapidly develop and deploy financial products.”
“We have identified gaps in the local market that we can help fill,” said Mr. Xu. “We hope to shake up the market by leveraging the knowledge we have acquired operating online financial services and through our cutting-edge technology. The brand ZA represents a reverse of the alphabetical order – going from Z to A – reminding us not to take things for granted, but to view things from a different perspective. It’s good to be bold, contrarian and creative. We look forward to co-creating brand new banking experiences with our users – so that we could ‘be different together’.”
Commenting further, Wayne Xu said: “Earning one of the first virtual banking licenses in Hong Kong is a strong endorsement by the Hong Kong regulator on ZhongAn’s innovation and financial expertise. It is also an important first step as we launch our online banking business here in Hong Kong, an international financial center and business hub with strategic position in the Belt and Road initiative and the Greater Bay Area, from which we can serve users worldwide.”
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About ZA International
ZA International was established in Hong Kong in December 2017, by ZhongAn Online P & C Insurance Co., Ltd. (HKEX stock code: 6060), an online-only insurtech company in China, to explore international business development, collaboration and investment opportunities in the areas of fintech and insurtech in overseas market. In August 2018, ZA International and SoftBank Vision Fund announced cooperation to boost ZhongAn’s technology solutions businesses outside China, with an initial focus on Asia. In September 2018, ZA International announced that it would help Sompo, a Japanese insurance giant, to support digital transformation with its next generation insurance cloud-based end-to-end system. In January 2019, ZA International and Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading online-to-offline mobile platform, announced to establish a joint venture company to enter the digital insurance distribution business in Southeast Asia.