TikTok looks to expand into banking for the first time

ByteDance is in talks to join forces with Singapore’s influential Lee business family, as the Chinese technology group looks to expand into banking for the first time. The company has bid for a digital bank licence in the city-state and is negotiating a tie-up with an investment group linked to the Lees… ByteDance is best known for its short-video app TikTok, but like many other technology companies, the Beijing-based group has been trying to make a move into financial services… For ByteDance, which has a valuation of $75 billion and has traded far higher in the secondary market, a partnership with the influential family would be a credibility boost. The Lees are one of Singapore’s most well-known corporate families and derive a large part of their wealth through their stake in OCBC Bank, south-east Asia’s second-biggest bank by assets… The family has a number of businesses, including Lee Rubber Group, and the Lee Foundation, its charitable arm, supports a number of schools and other cultural projects. Some members of the Lee family have ties to government entities… ByteDance had previously explored applying for a virtual banking licence in Hong Kong, which last year opened its banking sector to technology companies including Tencent and Alibaba. 

Mercedes Ruehl