Digital & Technology

New survey shows Mobile Apps represent the Next Battlefield for Hong Kong's Banks

Sia Partners has today announced the Asia results of its annual mobile banking benchmark.

The survey shows Mox Bank, DBS SGP and Livi Bank standing out as regional leaders, though overall a gap between Asian and European players remains, Sia Partner said in a press release.

In the Sia Partners 2021 Mobile Banking Benchmark, 135 banks across 17 countries were assessed to understand the present state of mobile banking globally, including 16 banks from Hong Kong and six from Singapore. This is the fourth consecutive year the firm has conducted the survey.

In Hong Kong, Mox Bank, Livi Bank and Hang Seng Bank take the top three places for mobile banking services. Overall for Asia, Sia Partners allocates top ten spots to seven Hong Kong banks and three Singapore banks.

The survey also highlights how the arrival of virtual banking will jumpstart change in the Asian retail financial services market. Increased innovation is likely to continue as regional followers seek to improve their offering rather than risk being left behind by new entrants and the more digitally focused incumbents.

Reflecting this pattern, four virtual banks (Mox Bank, Livi Bank, WeLab Bank and ZA Bank) and three traditional banks (Hang Seng Bank, HSBC and Bank of China) lead the Hong Kong digital banking market, with each mobile app having relatively comparable characteristics. Sia Partners expects this to change over the next year, however, as competitive rivalry makes mobile apps the next battlefield for bank market share in Hong Kong.

Etienne Ranwez, a manager in the Hong Kong office of Sia Partners, said: "A crowded market and nascent digital developments are exposing opportunities amidst continued disruption to Hong Kong's mobile banking sector. But for Hong Kong's banks to close the gap with their European peers, they need to offer services in their apps beyond basic banking and improve the user experience. The ability to offer a modern design with a broad suite of functions will be critical to winning the battle for market share."

The methodology used for the benchmark is based on a scoring of 85+ criteria across 13 categories, covering functionality, user experience and app store ratings. Key functionalities along the customer journey were assessed, from account opening and daily banking features to new product subscription, investing and account closure.