On June 29, Airstar Bank Limited, a Hong Kong-based virtual bank, announced on its website that Alain Lam, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Xiaomi Corporation, had succeeded Lei Jun as Chairman of the Board of Directors as of June 23, 2021.
After stepping down as Chairman of the Board, Airstar Bank announced, Lei Jun is going to focus on the business development and new product launches of Xiaomi Corporation, while supporting the development of Airstar Bank on the grounds of Xiaomi Corporation.
Alain Lam served as VP and CFO of Xiaomi Corporation since October 2020. He has been in the finance sector for over 20 years since his graduation from Oxford University with a Master’s degree.
Airstar Bank is owned by Airstar Digital Technology, and is a jointly established entity by Xiaomi Corporation and AMTD Group. The bank was granted a virtual banking license by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on May 9, 2019, and officially launched its trial operation on March 31, 2020 alongside its official website. In regards to Airstar Bank’s day-to-day operations, Lei Jun remarked to the effect that “this is a new milestone for Xiaomi‘s financial business.”
During its trial period, AirStar Bank made available about 2,000 vacancies for insiders from Xiaomi Hong Kong and AMTD Group.
As the Bank’s 2020 annual report indicates, the bank achieved a total income of HK$15.572 million in 2020, of which HK$23.571 million was interest earnings; and pre-tax loss was HK$232 million.
Fintech has always been emphasized by the Internet giants. In October 2020, Xiaomi Digital Technology, Xiaomi‘s financial business, was renamed to “Airstar Digital Technology”, and the Xiaomi Finance App was also renamed to Airstar Finance App. Hong Feng, the co-founder of Xiaomi and former head of Xiaomi‘s MIUI business, was appointed as Chairman and CEO of Airstar Digital Technology in 2018 for the promotion of Xiaomi‘s financial business, highlighting the company’s desire to move into the space.
A total of eight virtual bank licenses were issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in three batches in the first half of 2019, including LIVI BANK, ZA BANK, MOX BANK, WeLab BANK, Ant Bank, Ping An OneConnect Bank, Airstar Bank and Fusion Bank, which are backed by giants such as JD, Alibaba, Tencent and Ping An Group.
According to Yicai News, as of the end of last year, the total assets of the eight virtual banks amounted to HK$25.242 billion and the total liabilities to HK$17.053 billion, of which customer deposits totaled HK$15.774 billion, according to the annual report. The eight virtual banks are all in a deficit due to the fact that they are still in the early stage of operation.