ByteDance Ltd. is considering entering online stock and wealth management in Hong Kong, registration records show.
The China internet technology company based in Beijing has been cleared by Hong Kong regulators to operate in the city, according to sources.
ByteDance has submitted applications for five financial permits in Hong Kong through an affiliate. The licenses, if approved, would allow it to sell securities and engage in forex trading and provide asset-management services in Hong Kong. ByteDance declined comment.
ByteDance recently received permission to operate Songshu Zhengquan in Hong Kong, the sources said. ByteDance applied in December to register the Songshu Zhengquan trademark in Hong Kong, according to records. Songshu Zhengquan translates as Squirrel Securities. ByteDance has also applied for an online banking license with Singapore's securities and exchange commission. Singapore will grant five digital bank licenses by the end of 2020.
However, other sources, who requested anonymity, said ByteDance was seriously looking to expand in gaming and education technology and not financial technology.
ByteDance, which owns the popular video-sharing app TikTok, is said to be under some stress as a deadline for the forced sale or ban of TikTok in the U.S. nears. TikTok is the company's main source of income in the U.S.
ByteDance withdrew its TikTok business from Hong Kong in reaction to China's implementation of new security legislation.
ByteDance's re-entry in Hong Kong would see it in competition with Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. - both of which already have a presence in online brokerages there through local connections.