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Business trends

Hong Kong startups lead region's charge into virtual banking

Lessons for Singapore as digital challengers to HSBC lure customers

ZA, a recently licenced "virtual" bank in Hong Kong, is part of Asia's surge into digital banking. (Source photos by AP and screenshot from ZA bank's website)

HONG KONG -- ZA Bank, Hong Kong's first virtual bank, has just 200 employees in a white and mint-green themed open-plan office on the southern fringes of Hong Kong's main island -- a far cry from HSBC Holdings' grand headquarters in the Central business district, where two lion statues guard the entrance.

But ZA, co-owned by mainland online insurer ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance and Sinolink Group, has its 155-year old rival firmly in its sights as it joins the vanguard of Asia's surge into digital banking.

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