Chinese entrants who sensed an opportunity to disrupt Hong Kong's financial centre are stuck in testing mode after winning licences to enter market. As one protester, an actuary in his late 20s who identified himself as Ben said “I don’t even go to pro-government restaurants, why would I go use a Chinese bank?”
The Chinese companies had hoped to replicate in Hong Kong their success in mainland China when they won seven of eight new virtual bank licences awarded by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city’s financial regulator, between March and May this year. The new virtual, or digital, banks plan to offer similar services to traditional banks but at a lower cost. The most important difference is that they operate online only and may not open physical branches. The licences were considered the biggest shake-up of Hong Kong’s finance sector in more than a decade.