A joint venture of Chinese search engine Baidu and China CITIC Bank has secured regulatory approval to launch a direct bank in Beijing.

“The Bank received the Approval in relation to the Preparation of CITIC Baixin Bank Corporation Limited (CBRC approval[2016] No. 463) from China Banking Regulatory Commission ("CBRC"), which gave its consent for the Bank to prepare the establishment of CITIC Baixin Bank Corporation Limited ("Baixin Bank") in Beijing.” China CITIC Bank said.

The new bank, known as Baixin Bank, will operate as a separate legal entity.

Baixin Bank will not have any physical branches and will operate through the internet, telephones or ATMs.

China Citic Bank will own a 70% stake in the bank, while Baidu will own the remaining stake.

Similar strategy was adopted by Chinese internet firm Tencent Holdings and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding in the recent past. Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial launched online bank MYbank in 2015, while Tencent launched a private online-only bank named WeBank.