DBS Bank (Hong Kong) plans to increase the ratio of its online business account-openings from about 20 to 30% of new local business accounts last year to 40%.
In the first half of this year, the number of DBS business accounts opened through the internet grew 80% from the same period last year, Alex Cheung Kin-sun, managing director, head of institutional banking at DBS (Hong Kong), told Asia Times in an interview.
Cheung declined to provide the exact numbers but said the bank recorded an average 10% annual growth in the number of new accounts.
He said opening business accounts online would continue to be a new trend with 70 to 80% of the bank’s new business accounts opened via the internet in a few years.
“We meet our new business clients online through video conferencing and send staff to collect documents from the companies,” he said. “We provide more convenience to our clients without skipping the usual Know Your Clients (KYC) and Anti-Money laundering (AML) practices.”
Cheung said DBS Bank (Hong Kong) welcomes start-ups, small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and overseas companies to open business accounts.
In October 2014, DBS Bank launched DBS BusinessClass, a new program delivered through a mobile app, to help start-ups and SMEs seek business advice and opportunities.
In April this year, the Singapore-based bank held a DBS BusinessClass service industry disrupt event, looking at digital innovation in the education, healthcare, accounting and legal service sectors.
Last month, it held another event about apparel innovation. Key speakers at the event included Edwin Keh, chief executive officer of The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel, and Cherry Chan, the PIC (person-in-charge) of Nan Fung textile factory.
“We want to connect players from upstream to downstream in an industry with their service providers while helping them understand the latest trend of technology,” Cheung said. For example, apparel makers can save their time by applying 3D-design and 3D-printing technologies into their work-flows and improve their marketing plans with big data technology.
New trend for Hong Kong banks
Over the past two decades, Hong Kong’s banking sector had also undergone reforms as many clients from the manufacturing sector changed their business models, Cheung said.
In the past, Hong Kong manufacturers borrowed money from the city’s banks and set up factories in China to export products to the US. But now, most of these product makers have become traders while mainland Chinese suppliers usually borrow money from Chinese banks, he said.
Under the new trend, many Hong Kong banks have been focusing more on helping clients in M&A deals, cross-border transactions and wealth management, instead of corporate loans, he said.
Cheung said DBS Bank, which operates 14 branches in China, can provide Chinese clients with overseas banking services with its branches in Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia.