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DBS to Soft Launch Mobile Banking in India

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Singapore: Singapore's DBS bank which has branches in major cities of India will soft launch its digital/mobile online banking in the country this week, a top official of the bank said on Monday.

"We want to do a soft launch this week for digital/mobile online banking in India. The first launch will be with some of our clients," DBS group chief executive officer (CEO) Piyush Gupta told PTI on the sidelines of "CEO Roundtable on Manufacturing Opportunities in 'New' India" in Singapore.

"We wanted to do (the mobile banking) in one of the big countries. We chose India for its enabling eco-system for electronic payments. The (Indian) enabling architect is so friendly for such launch," he said, adding that India was chosen after evaluating it along with China and Indonesia.

The phase by phase soft launch will be spread across DBS's locations in 12 Indian cities, including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Pune, from end of next month.

The offline launch will be done in a few months of time. He said DBS network expansion in India will also include 60-70 new branches on getting approval for setting up wholly-owned subsidiaries from the Reserve Bank of India.

"We hope to get the approval in the coming months. Our agenda is that India should be a bigger part of our business. It is still under less than five per cent of our total group business," he said.

Mr Gupta stressed that DBS's strategy is to spend the next couple of years focusing on digital space, especially pointing to the surge in e-commerce among other electronic systems in India.

"Once the wholly-owned subsidiary approval comes, we will start expanding our branch network to about 60-70 branches," said Mr Gupta.

Indian executives presented industry and business prospects at the roundtable, organised by the Singapore-based strategy consultant services company Apex Avalon Consulting.

"China has made India a key market," said Avalon Consulting India's executive director Sridhar Venkiteswaran who gave an insight into the Indian auto component industry and the "strong Chinese interests" in establishing businesses and manufacturing in India.

"The logistics business in India is prospering at 13-15 per cent a year as the country industrializes," said Ravi Chandran, executive director of TVS Logistics Services Ltd.

Vinod Sharma, managing director of Deki Electronics, called on the businesses executives at the roundtable to manufacture and assemble mobile phones in India and enjoy lower tariff rates than to import for local marketing and face higher duties.

"Look at India from the demand perspective," said Mr Sharma as the speakers assured delegates at the roundtable of improving business environment in the Indian market with the government driven business-friendly reforms being implemented.



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