The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has received 29 applications from various entities seeking licence to open a digital bank in the territory, reported the South China Morning Post.

The applicants include lenders, telecommunication firms and fintech companies.

Last week, Standard Chartered also submitted digital banking licence to HKMA.

The date for application of first batch of digital banking licences ended last week. A spokesperson told the publication that interested parties can still submit applications, however, they will not be processed in the first batch.

All applicants who will receive the digital banking licence will be able to operate in Hong Kong online without any brick and mortar branches.

Besides Standard Chartered, online lender WeLab has also applied for the banking licence.

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Telecoms operators HKT Trust and HKT, smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi, fintech company TNG Wallet and Bank of China (Hong Kong) have also submitted applications.

Earlier, HKMA is said to have received interest from around 70 companies but names were not disclosed.

Reuters reported that the regulatory authority is expected to start awarding the licences from the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2019.

However, it did not specify the number of licences to be awarded in the first batch.