Thailand’s Digital Banking License Race Heats Up with Bids from Top Conglomerates

Thailand’s Digital Banking License Race Heats Up with Bids from Top Conglomerates

by March 21, 2024

Thailand’s digital banking license has attracted some of the Thailand’s largest conglomerates, including Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) and Gulf Energy Development Pcl.

This development comes as the Bank of Thailand embarks on a new chapter to inject competition and innovation into the national banking sector, Bloomberg reports.

CP Group, through its fintech arm True Money and in collaboration with partners such as Ant Group, is gearing up to place its bid for Thailand’s digital banking license, revealed by Suphachai Chearavanont, the CEO of CP Group.

Similarly, Gulf Energy, Thailand’s power producer, is entering the fray in partnership with Krung Thai Bank Pcl and its affiliate, Advanced Info Service Pcl, according to Gulf Energy’s CEO, Sarath Ratanavadi.

The Chearavanont family, behind CP Group, and Sarath Ratanavadi of Gulf Energy, are recognised as some of Asia’s wealthiest individuals.

Both CP Group and Gulf Energy see Thailand’s digital banking license as a strategic move to leverage technology in expanding their reach within the financial sector. Suphachai Chearavanont emphasised the transformative potential of digital banking in broadening consumer access to financial services. Sarath Ratanavadi envisions the license as a catalyst for Gulf Energy’s dive into burgeoning online markets, including cryptocurrency and digital lending.

The interest in Thailand’s digital banking licenses is not limited to these conglomerates, with SCB X Pcl, the entity behind Thailand’s largest commercial bank by market value, also announcing its intention to bid. The company is expected to reveal a new partnership with a Chinese firm specifically for this venture.

The Bank of Thailand‘s (BOT) initiative is set to culminate next year, with the winners of the new licenses announced, following the application period which started recently and runs through 19 September.

The regulator may be issuing more than three licenses and these banks are expected to commence operations in 2026.


Featured image credit: Edited from Freepik