“Explore China, Pay Your Way” forum promotes more convenient mainland payment for Hong Kong and Macao residents as well as overseas visitors

HONG KONG, June 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The “Explore China, Pay Your Way” Forum was successfully held on June 26 in Hong Kong. The event was hosted by the Chinese Banking Association of Hong Kong (HKCBA), co-organized by UnionPay International (UPI) and supported by Bank of China (Hong Kong) (BOCHK). Stephen Chan, Deputy Chief Executive of BOCHK, representing the HKCBA; Liu Naji, Executive Vice President of SAFE Investment Company Limited, representing the People’s Bank of China (PBOC); Michelle Shao, General Manager of UPI Hong Kong Branch; and Dick Ho, Deputy General Manager of BOC Credit Card (International) Limited, delivered speeches at the event. Approximately 100 representatives from various sectors attended, including banks and electronic payment institutions from Hong Kong and Macao, international chambers of commerce, and the Hong Kong Chinese Visa Application Service Center.

At the beginning of this year, the State Council of China issued the Opinions on Further Optimizing Payment Services to Facilitate Payments, which included among its priorities facilitating payment for overseas visitors to the Chinese mainland. Relevant departments, Chinese local governments and financial institutions rapidly implemented the directive, leading to significant improvements in payment services. Following the issuance of the Opinions, UnionPay immediately launched “Project Excellence 2024” and collaborated with industry parties to enact the new priorities.

The continuous development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area has generated increasingly close relationships between the three regions while attracting more overseas visitors. Hong Kong and Macao serve as the optimal platforms for promoting and publicizing payment convenience in the Chinese mainland. Today’s event continues the efforts of “Project Excellence 2024” by showcasing the rapid development and innovation of UnionPay and the local payment system. This has helped Hong Kong and Macao residents, as well as overseas visitors to the Chinese mainland, enjoy a safer, more convenient and comfortable payment service experience, giving impetus to greater mobility, deeper exchange and increased economic cooperation.

On behalf of the HKCBA, Stephen Chan, Deputy Chief Executive of BOCHK, stated that Hong Kong possesses the unique advantage of being supported by the Chinese mainland while being connected to the world. Its integration with the nation’s development plan opens up enormous opportunities for Hong Kong to collaborate and develop in tandem with the Chinese mainland. At the same time, as an international financial center, Hong Kong serves as a bridge for overseas financial institutions and multinational corporations to access the mainland market. The city is also an important gateway for overseas visitors travelling to the mainland. The HKCBA has actively responded to the Central Government’s directives by continuing to strengthen the promotion of payment services, including publicizing the latest developments in mainland payment services to representatives from international chambers of commerce in Hong Kong as well as overseas enterprises. It has also boosted the overseas promotion of new enhancement measures to facilitate payment convenience on the mainland, encouraging overseas visitors to experience first-hand the exceptional payment services available.

On behalf of the PBOC, Liu Naji, Executive Vice President of SAFE Investment Company Limited, remarked, “The People’s Bank of China has implemented a series of measures to address difficulties in the payment field, achieving significant results in service optimization. In May, both the number and volume of foreign card transactions via POS machines doubled compared to February, with over two million overseas visitors now using mobile payment. Cash services in commercial banks also continued to improve. We are very pleased with the role that Hong Kong is playing as a unique platform for our efforts to increase visibility. Looking forward, China will continue to enhance payment services and convenience for all, allowing our friends worldwide to enjoy the nation’s high-quality development. We hope that smooth payment services will serve as a positive step towards strengthening trust and supporting future cooperation.”

Michelle Shao, General Manager of UPI Hong Kong Branch, explained that “Project Excellence 2024” is more than just a payment initiative: rather, it represents UnionPay’s commitment to building a robust and inclusive payment ecosystem that caters to customers’ needs. Subsequently, Roger Lee, Assistant General Manager of UPI Hong Kong Branch, provided a detailed introduction to UnionPay’s latest achievements in the field of cross-border payments as well as the diverse payment options available to Hong Kong and Macao residents. UnionPay data shows that transactions by Hong Kong and Macao residents in the Chinese mainland have continued to grow this year. In the first quarter of 2024, the number of mobile payment transactions in the Chinese mainland generated by UnionPay cards issued in Hong Kong and Macao increased by 107% year-on-year, 16 times that of the same period in 2019, accounting for 72% of the total number of transactions. In line with this trend, UnionPay will now offer more “SplendorPlus” benefits via its Greater Bay Area theme card, which is popular among Hong Kong and Macao residents.

Dick Ho, Deputy General Manager of BOC Credit Card (International) Limited, emphasized BOCHK’s full support of the mainland’s efforts to enhance payment convenience. By optimizing its payment products and promoting spending offers, BOCHK is actively encouraging customers to adopt a “swipe card for large purchases, scan QR codes for smaller ones” approach when making payments in the Chinese mainland. In the first quarter of 2024, the transaction value of BOC Credit Card in Shenzhen saw a robust year-on-year surge of over 60%, while transaction volumes more than doubled. In the same period, the overall QR payment transaction value and volume for its customers grew threefold in the Chinese mainland. Meanwhile, the number of transactions via mobile payment application BoC Pay surged more than 3 times, while the number of BoC Pay customers rose by more than 2 times. Dick added that BOC Credit Card is delighted with the remarkable performance of its payment services and will continue to collaborate with various strategic partners to provide seamless payment solutions that meet customers’ evolving needs.

This successful event showcased the innovation and development of the local payment system while promoting cooperation between Hong Kong, Macao and the Chinese mainland in payment services. Participants expressed their commitment to continuing the promotion of payment facilitation and providing more convenient and secure cross-boundary payment services for Hong Kong and Macao residents and enterprises. They also looked forward to further strengthening cooperation with banks and electronic payment institutions in Hong Kong and Macao, as well as international chambers of commerce and other institutions, to jointly promote innovation and development in the payment field.


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