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Grab, SEA among winners of Malaysia's digital banking licenses

Five consortiums picked from 29 applicants as central bank seeks to expand financial inclusion

Malaysia's new digital banking licenses come with far lower capital requirements than those for traditional banks.   © Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia's central bank issued the country's first five digital banking licenses on Friday, with consortiums led by the big regional technology groups Grab and SEA among the winners.

Another digital challenger, Bigpay -- owned by AirAsia tycoon Tony Fernandes -- failed in its bid, which was backed by South Korean conglomerate SK Group. Separate bids by Malaysian conglomerate Genting and Singapore's iFAST-Chinese digital bank Yillion Group also failed to make the cut. The central bank received a total of 29 applications for the licenses.

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