PBOC moves to reinforce cross-border fintech

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has unveiled a plan to enhance its fintech regulatory tools in collaboration with Hong Kong and Macao, with the goal of strengthening cross-border fintech applications. Deputy Governor Zhang Qingsong announced this initiative at the HK FinTech Week. The strategy involves cooperation with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Monetary Authority of Macao, and it incorporates HKMA’s Fintech Supervisory Sandbox.

A key aspect of this initiative involves Octopus Cards Ltd and the Bank of China (Hong Kong) (BOCHK) facilitating the use of e-CNY (digital Chinese yuan) in Hong Kong, with the support of the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau. The Shenzhen branch of PBOC has been actively promoting e-CNY, having conducted 73 events and allocated 570 million yuan ($77.9 million) for this purpose. Additionally, BOCHK has already launched e-CNY services.

The Bank of China (Hong Kong) is taking the lead in expanding the use of e-CNY in Hong Kong, with a specific focus on transactions involving mainland Chinese visitors. This builds upon their 2020 cross-border pilot projects, during which the bank explored using e-CNY to top up Octopus cards.

Tim Ying Tien-chi, CEO of the Octopus Group, highlighted that their extensive payment network and Octopus app could streamline currency exchanges and retail transactions, emphasising the shift from physical cards to the app for improved user convenience.

The PBOC’s initiative is aimed at fostering financial innovation within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and promoting inclusive finance through the use of the digital yuan. This move represents a significant step toward integrating digital currencies into cross-border financial services and expanding the utility of e-CNY in the region.

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