Collaboration between Thailand’s True and AIS Secures Virtual Bank Permits

Thailand’s leading mobile operators True Corp and AIS, supported by two major companies in the country, are vying for virtual banking licenses from the central bank, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Both conglomerates have teamed up with financial partners in preparation to submit their license applications. Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) is collaborating with Ant Group, while Gulf Energy Development is working with Krung Thai Bank, as reported by the news agency.

True Corp, a subsidiary of CP Group, and Gulf Energy, the largest shareholder of Intouch Holdings, which holds a 40.4 percent stake in AIS, are gearing up to enter the virtual banking sector.

In July 2023, the Bank of Thailand announced that it would issue three virtual bank licenses, with applications being accepted from March 20 to September 19. The licenses are set to be granted next year.

Additionally, Thai commercial bank SCB X is also set to compete for a virtual banking license, as it disclosed its partnership plans with KakaoBank last June.

Just a year ago, True Corp and Telenor Group completed a long-awaited merger of their mobile units in Thailand, establishing the largest player in the country with 51.9 million mobile subscribers as of the end of 2023. AIS, on the other hand, closed the year with 44.6 million mobile subscribers.

As Thailand’s mobile players venture into the virtual banking space, competition is expected to intensify in the financial services sector.

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