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Hong Kong Launches Personal e-CNY Wallets for Local Users

Hong Kong

Users in Hong Kong will be able to set up personal e-CNY wallets for cross-border payments between the city and Mainland China. Hong Kong is also developing its own central bank digital currency.

Users in Hong Kong will be able to set up personal e-CNY wallets for cross-border payments, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced on Friday. This development is expected to expand the use of China’s central bank digital currency among Hong Kong residents.

According to the press release, the HKMA and the People’s Bank of China will make it easier for Hong Kong users to set up personal e-CNY wallets simply by using their Hong Kong mobile phone number.

The fast payment system (FPS) will facilitate the use of e-CNY wallets in Hong Kong. This system allows users to top up their wallets through 17 retail banks in the city. However, e-CNY wallets primarily prioritize cross-border payments between Hong Kong and the mainland, and person-to-person transfers within Hong Kong are not available.

“Users can now top up their e-CNY wallets from anywhere and at any time without having to open a Mainland bank account, making it easier for Hong Kong residents to make business payments on the Mainland,” HKMA Chief Executive Eddie Yue said in the press release.

The latest development is part of the HKMA’s “three connections, three conveniences” initiative announced in January. This initiative aims to strengthen financial ties between Hong Kong and Mainland China.

China is actively working to popularize its pilot CBDC program and is paying monthly salaries to government employees and employees of state-owned companies in e-CNY.

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However, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported earlier this week that most people who receive their monthly salaries in digital yuan are reluctant to use CBDC directly due to privacy concerns and other limitations.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong is in the second phase pilot program of its own CBDC, e-HKD. The territory also launched a regulatory space for stablecoins in March, which aims to promote communication between regulators and issuers looking to launch fiat-pegged stablecoins in Hong Kong.

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