(Yicai Global) Jan. 14 -- Hong Kong will issue its first group of permissions for online banks which have no physical branches to give them means to issue bonds. The first batch of licenses will be granted in the first quarter of this year.
The first green bond will be issued to stimulate entrepreneurial drive and come with a borrowing ceiling of HKD100 billion (USD12.8 billion), Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said in her opening speech at the Asian Financial Forum 2019 held in Hong Kong today.
Applicants should have sufficient financial, technical and other related resources to operate virtual banks, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said in a guideline document last May.
Earlier media reports said that eight companies including Shenzhen's Tencent Holdings, Hangzhou's Ant Financial Services Group, Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong, and Shanghai's ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance have applied for the related permit and advanced to the next round in terms of selection.
Mainland China has served as a driving force in Hong Kong's transition from an economic center to a financial center, Lam also said in her speech. The number of initial public offerings on the Hong Kong bourse ranked highest in the world last year, with the total funding of USD37 billion. Hong Kong's scale of asset management was USD3.1 trillion, and the total amount of funds it handled exceeded 75 percent of the world's total of offshore Chinese yuan.
Editor: Emmi Laine