Malaysian telco Axiata and RHB Banking to jointly bid for digital banking licence

Malaysian teleco Axiata Group Bhd and RHB Banking Group announced on Wednesday that they have formed a consortium to apply for a digital banking licence in the country.

Boost Holdings, Axiata’s subsidiary that operates an e-wallet, will own 60%, while RHB, the country’s fourth-largest banking group, will own the rest of the digital bank, subject to approval from the central bank, the companies said.

Axiata and RHB said they have formalised a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to expand and deepen their collaborations.

Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara, has invited applications for digital bank licences by June 30 and said it may issue up to five permits by the end of the year.

Across Asia, regulators are opening up banking for digital players. In December last year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced four successful digital bank applicants. The winners included a Grab-Singtel consortium and Sea Ltd.

“Through innovative, efficient and secure banking services, we are confident our strategic collaboration will meet the fast-evolving demands of retail customers and micro-SMEs overlooked by traditional institutions,” said Axiata’s president and group CEO Izzaddin Idris.

RHB and Axiata are also exploring more opportunities to enhance their joint customer ecosystems. One potential initiative involves providing combined solutions to SMEs, the companies said. 

Axiata currently serves more than 250,000 merchants and micro-businesses through its Boost e-Wallet and Aspirasi microfinancing businesses, whereas RHB offers more than 200,000 of its SMEs access to a connected ecosystem of SME banking and business solutions. 

Celcom Axiata Bhd, a subsidiary of Axiata, has signed up as a major commercial partner on joint Go-To-Market activities with the digital bank on products and services which will benefit the customers of both parties. Other commercial partners are being finalised and will be announced in due course.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.