Regulators grant license to Lithuanian branch of Hong Kong Fintech company
On 29 March, 2017, the Bank of Lithuania granted a non-restricted Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license to IBS Lithuania, the European branch of Hong Kong-based Fintech company – International Business Settlement Holdings Limited. The newly issued non-restricted EMI license with the EU passporting allows IBS Lithuania to provide electronic money issuance and redemption as well as payment services across all the European Union countries.
IBS Lithuania has already agreed with a number of European financial institutions to provide the real-time multi-currency payment settlement services between Europe and China. The number of countries covered will soon increase together with already planned expansion to other regions, including Middle Asia, South East Asia, Middle East and Africa.
Moreover, in the 3rd quarter of 2017 IBS Lithuania will offer European businesses to open IBAN accounts that will allow low-cost and real-time payments to and from mainland China. European companies are invited to pre-register for these services at www.ibsettle.com.
“The EMI license with EU passporting will bring a broader business scope to IBS Group,” says Mr. Luo Feng, Chairman of International Business Settlement Holdings Limited. “In the nearest future we see ourselves as an important link between Chinese and European financial networks, and cooperation with the Bank of Lithuania helped us to build a Lithuanian-centered financial gateway to Europe,” Mr. Feng adds.
IBS Lithuania is part of International Business Settlement Holdings Limited, a public company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (SEHK stock code: 00147.HK). The company’s vision is to construct a global cross-border payment and settlement network, providing a real-time, low-cost direct payments channel between various regions and China.
According to IBS Lithuania, IBS Group chose Vilnius as the location for its headquarters in Europe for a number of reasons. Country’s favourable regulatory framework, its fast licensing process, the access to the payment system operated by the Bank of Lithuania for payments in Euros together with the high-quality talents pool were the most important factors. The company’s presence in Lithuania also plays an important role in the development of the Chinese Government’s “One Belt – One Road” policy, which is focused on increasing trading activity between China and the European Union, especially the CEE region.
“Lithuania is becoming a bridge for financial operations, connecting the European Union with other global markets,” says Mantas Katinas, Director General of the foreign investment development agency Invest Lithuania. “There are more than half a dozen financial technology companies located here from countries like the United Kingdom, Israel and China. And these companies will not only be contributing to the development of Lithuania`s financial technology sector but – as in the case of IBS Lithuania – will also be creating more favourable conditions for cooperation between businesses in other sectors,” Mr Katinas concludes.
Currently, IBS Lithuania employs 10 highly-skilled employees at its office in Vilnius and this number is expected to at least double in the coming 2 years as the business volume and the number of products offered to the European market increase.
„Economic cooperation between Lithuania and China had been one of the top priorities for the previous government and remained the same for the current one. Such an investor is important to us not only because of the investment itself, but also as a potential financial bridge between Europe and China, which will improve business conditions for both Chinese and Lithuanian trade companies,” – Mr. Mindaugas Sinkevičius, the Minister of Economics of the Republic of Lithuania stated.