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Northeast Asia

Hong Kong: ZA Bank’s virtual bet pays off

The new entrant in Hong Kong’s competitive banking sector is using innovative marketing and customer perks to make a name for itself.

ZA Bank's official launch in March 2020

Free coffees and rebates on food deliveries may have proved an effective way to hook customers at ZA Bank in Hong Kong, where residents have a choice of 181 licensed banks, but how can they be kept “sticky” in the long run?

Rockson Hsu, who runs the new virtual bank, has some answers.

For starters, ZA Bank gives its customers a 1% interest rate for accounts holding up to HK$200,000 ($25,771), putting it ahead of more traditional banks. A customer can also choose the last six digits on his or her Visa debit card, which gives them access to ATMs around the city and qualifies them for a lucky draw when used (combinations of eight in the last six digits of the card number were quickly taken, as eight is considered lucky in Chinese culture).

Hsu knows he cannot compete with Hong Kong’s main banks, the likes of Hang Seng Bank and HSBC, which have been operating in the city for decades.

It’s a fascinating job because Hong Kong hasn’t had a new bank for decades.

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