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December 29, 2016

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Xiaomi’s new online bank set to start soon

A Chinese online bank backed by smartphone and home appliance maker Xiaomi Inc is set to launch services soon, after being officially set up and rebranded recently, said one of the venture’s investors.

New Hope Group Co said in a statement that shareholders and regulators have approved the name Sichuan XW Bank for the lender.

“This is an important step in the process, marking (the bank’s) the official establishment,” said the statement, citing an unnamed person in charge at the new bank.

The bank “will be officially open to users in the near future.”

It is the latest in a string of new online banks backed by Chinese tech firms, which are hoping to tap the country’s underserved market of small firms and consumers.

WeBank, backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd, became China’s first operational online-only bank in 2015, followed by MYBank, a venture controlled by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd affiliate Ant Financial Services Group.

The new venture comes as Xiaomi has seen its smartphone sales shrink, raising doubts about the worth of the company, which was valued at US$46 billion in its last fundraising in 2014. It is now pinning profit growth hopes on sales from smart home devices and revenue from its software eco-system.



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