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Alibaba Finance applied to establish an Internet bank or e-bank recently. Financial authorities have launched researches on the subject (report in Chinese).

Different from traditional banks, Internet bank is actually a virtual bank, which has no bricks-and-mortar outlets and wider application of Internet technologies. Alibaba’s may become the first of this kind of bank in China, if the application is being approved. With a registered capital of 1 billion yuan ($161.92 million), Alibaba Internet Bank will be able to accept deposits, transfer money, make loans, among others.

Alibaba Finance proposed to found an Internet bank last year when representatives from authorities including the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking Regulatory Commission visited the company, but the idea reportedly was vetoed back then.

Discussions on Alibaba’s proposal heated up among experts and the main topics include whether the existing regulations for traditional banks are still applicable to Internet banks. On the other hand, some insiders think that Alibaba Finance has some merits over traditional banks, such as quick operation, moreover, the company can capitalize on the big user data collected by Alibaba’s previous services. The process of this application will be quite long because Internet bank is still a new concept in China, according to industry insiders.

Alibaba made a raft of efforts to upend traditional bank industry in recent years. After rolling out Alipay in 2003, it founded Alibaba Micro-credit in 2010 and introduced credit card payment service in 2013.