This year has already seen significant developments in cashless payment solutions in Hong Kong, with technological innovations, shifts in consumer expectations and new regulations all contributing to the evolution of the sector. And as the Greater Bay Area (GBA) initiative continues to gather steam, facilitating cross-border payments has become increasingly important.
This topic is a timely one, as implementation of the GBA blueprint offers more opportunities for business, and operators of payment platforms in Hong Kong are moving quickly to promote interconnectivity.
At a Chamber roundtable luncheon on 30 May, three expert speakers – representing the banking sector and online players – gave members an update on the seamless payment options that their companies are offering in the GBA, to residents and visitors.
“The digital population is growing rapidly and has the continuous effect of shaping customer behavior,” said Dick Ho, Deputy General Manager (Transformation and Digital Banking) of Bank of China (HK). Ho shared how his bank has facilitated the development of cross-border payment solutions and enhanced the banking experience with recent initiatives such as BOC Pay and BOC Bill.
Hong Kong residents can also now open a Mainland-based account without leaving town, thanks to a pilot programme operated by BOCHK.
As competition heats up in the cashless transaction marketplace, e-wallet operators such as AlipayHK and Tap & Go are seeking different ways to position themselves.
“Despite intense competition, I think it is always important to have a platform for us to share ideas, and to figure out how we can work together for the betterment of Hong Kong,” said Monita Leung, Head of Financial Services at HKT.
The company is currently exploring the technological viability of promoting its multi-currency mobile payment services across the GBA. At the same time, there are also efforts to improve retail operation efficiency in Hong Kong.
Bosco Lin, Chief Commercial Officer of AlipayHK, spoke on the company’s e-wallet service and its extensive applications. He also shed light on the demands driving the provision of new and innovative cross-border payment services.
“Currently, we have over 2 million users and over 50,000 merchants,” Lin said. The company is looking to expand its services, which already cover businesses including large chain stores, convenience stores, minibuses, fresh markets, taxis and restaurants.
Lin also said that, by mid-2020, commuters will have the option of using QR codes to pay for travel on Hong Kong’s MTR. Users will be able to link their AlipayHK account with a separate MTR app, then scan a QR code on their smartphones on readers that will be installed at entry gates.