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Chinese internet giants test virtual banking in Hong Kong and ZhongAn will test new services before expanding overseas

A view of Hong Kong's financial district. Chinese internet giants view the city as an ideal launching pad for virtual banking with its well-regulated market and entrenched cash culture.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Hungry for new growth avenues, China's top internet businesses such as and ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance are moving into online banking in Hong Kong to experiment with fresh services as they eye expansion overseas.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city's de facto central bank, has granted virtual banking permits to four joint ventures set up by Chinese internet companies. They are expected to start operations -- providing regular bank services online without a physical presence -- by the end of the year.

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