Hong Kong-based AMTD is foraying into Singapore because the city-state is the best place to base a regional Southeast Asian digital banking operation. AMTD has already launched a digital bank in its home market together with Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi, Airstar. Airstar will initially focus on Hong Kong and perhaps later the Greater Bay Area that also includes Macau and seven cities in Guangdong Province, rather than Southeast Asia.
However, if AMTD and Xiaomi's bid for a Singapore digital wholesale bank (DWB) license is successful, it may be possible to link the two different neobanks to provide a larger suite of services region-wide. In Hong Kong, Airstar Bank's license allows it to serve both retail and corporate customers. In contrast, the DWB license in Singapore permits the holder to serve non-retail customers only. In Singapore, AMTD says that it wants to focus on SMEs.
Given AMTD's ambitions to build a regional digital banking ecosystem, the tie-up with FOMO Pay is shrewd. FOMO Pay is one of Singapore's major payments solutions firms, serving as both a QR code payment aggregator and payment gateway provider. Through FOMO Pay, merchants are able to accept a wide variety of leading digital wallets in Singapore and Malaysia, among them GrabPay, Singtel Dash, NETSPay and WeChat Pay.
“Payment is the starting point and core infrastructure of the fintech industry. AMTD sees tremendous potential for FOMO Pay’s payment business growth in Singapore and other countries across Southeast Asia," AMTD group chairman and CEO Calvin Choi said in a statement, adding that the tie-up with FOMO Pay would allow AMTD "to provide a true one-stop user journey to its customers."
FOMO Pay's customers in Singapore span the F&B, retail, education and publishing sectors. Some of the largest are SPH, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore Airlines, RWS, and Changi Airport. FOMO Pay was also nominated to be the founding member of the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) taskforce, which drafted the city-state's first QR code national standard for digital wallets.
Meanwhile, joining AMTD Digital will strengthen FOMO Pay’s ability to handle large cross-border payments in the region for international clients, boosting the payment solution provider's liquidity and credibility, its co-founder CEO Louis Liu Xi said in a statement.