China’s leading ecommerce conglomerate, Alibaba, has been reportedly discussing establishing
China’s first online bank. Several newspapers in China have reported that Alibaba has
approached the Chinese Banking and Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Finance
regarding a license to do so. It is thought that a registered capital in the vicinity of RMB1 billion
would be needed for approval to run an online bank. The synergies that an online bank would
offer to Alibaba’s traditional services, are clear and obvious. Various sources have reported that
China’s banks are not excited about the proposition and may well be looking to oppose any such
move by Alibaba.