DBS Group Holdings Ltd. (DBS-GROUP-HLD) has overtaken Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. to become the biggest company in Southeast Asia by market value.
As of Thursday’s close, DBS had a market capitalization of $46.8 billion (S$62.97 billion) compared to Singtel’s $44.86 billion (S$60.42 billion).
DBS adopted a “digital to the core” strategy in 2016, signalling that Singapore’s largest bank would focus on going big on tech as well as honing in on customers who have generated a consistently higher return on equity.
“Some of this optimism may be reflective of what is happening with the tech firms,” said Diksha Gera, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst in Singapore, in a Bloomberg report. “DBS is among the rare banks in the region who appears to be taking the challenge head-on with an extensive tech transformation.”
Tech giants like Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) are among the world’s seven biggest companies by market capitalization, improving investor outlook for the industry.
DBS CEO Piyush Gupta unveiled his digital strategy to investors and analysts last week, which detailed an intent to lower costs and boost returns, reports Bloomberg. The bank has rallied 42% in 2017, twice the increase of the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Banks Index. Singtel added 1.4%, lagging behind the 12% gain of the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Telecommunications Index.
Things won’t necessarily get any easier for Singtel. Singapore’s largest telecommunications company is readying for more competition from a new entrant into the Singapore mobile-phone market: TPG Telecom Ltd.