Linklaters advises Jardines on joint venture with BOCHK (Holdings) and JD Digits to set up one of the first virtual banks in Hong Kong

Linklaters advised Jardine Strategic Holdings (“Jardines”)  on the formation of a joint venture to set up a virtual bank in Hong Kong. The joint venture was the recipient of one of the first three banking licences to operate in the form of a virtual bank successfully granted by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (“HKMA”), making this deal the first of its kind, supporting Hong Kong’s entry into the smart banking era.


Jardines, together with BOC Hong Kong (Holdings) Limited and Jingdong Digits Technology Holding Co., Ltd. which have shareholdings of 20%, 44% and 36%, respectively, announced on 27 March 2019 that their new joint venture, Livi VB Limited (“Livi”), had been granted a banking licence by the HKMA to conduct virtual banking business in Hong Kong. Livi combines the strengths of its three shareholders and has a total joint initial investment of HK$2.5 billion.


Jardines is one of Asia’s largest conglomerates and has helped shape the business and consumer landscape in the region for more than 180 years. Its network of companies is unparalleled in diversity and scale, with a portfolio spanning areas such as property investment and development, food retailing, health and beauty and convenience stores. Jardines’ extensive consumer footprint through its local and regional business network make it a unique and complementary shareholder of the virtual bank.


The Linklaters team was led by partner Robert Cleaver, with support from partners Fay Zhou and Sumit Indwar, as well as managing associate Johanna Leung, and counsel-elect Xi Liao from Zhao Sheng Law Firm, Linklaters’ joint operation partner in China. The transaction involved close collaboration across several Linklaters offices (Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore and London) and practice groups (Corporate, Financial Regulation Group, Competition and Technology, Media and Telecommunications), as well as the firm’s joint operation partner in China, Zhao Sheng Law Firm.


Corporate partner Rob Cleaver commented,

“Jardines is one of the firm’s longest standing clients and we are very honoured to have represented Jardines and worked with BOC (Holdings) and JD Digits, on this landmark deal. This transaction marks a major milestone in reinforcing Hong Kong’s position as a premier international financial centre and will assist in fostering fintech innovation and promoting financial inclusion in Hong Kong.”