SINGAPORE (Nov 14): Ron Sim, founder of one of Asia’s largest massage chair makers, is in talks to partner with a unit of Temasek Holdings and other firms to bid for one of Singapore’s new virtual banking licenses, according to people familiar with the matter.

V3 Group, Sim’s Singapore-based firm, is in talks to partner Temasek’s Heliconia Capital Management as well as stored-value card company EZ-Link and property firm Far East Organisation in the new consortium, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions remain private. The group plans to seek one of Singapore’s new retail digital banking licences, they said.

The city-state has announced plans to award as many as five digital banking licenses to non-bank firms as it seeks to shake up its financial-services industry and create competition for traditional lenders. Thresholds are higher for the two retail licenses available -- they require $1.5 billion in paid-up capital as well as local control.

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