Singapore’s financial regulator will stick with its plans to award digital banking licenses by the end of the year, undeterred by tightening scrutiny in China and the US that’s hitting major Chinese applicants.

“Regulatory tightening that’s happening in China will not have an impact on the digital banks here,” Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said in a recent interview. “It’s not our job to try to guess what the geopolitical situation might be like, what actions might be taken by other countries with respect to some of these entities.”

The permits are much coveted by Chinese firms and others, given the city’s status as a regional financial hub and rapidly growing wealth management centre. Billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co., among high-profile candidates vying for the permits, shelved its initial public offering after a clampdown and higher capital requirements imposed by Chinese regulators.

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