Reinforcing our Renminbi Business
30. Last year,
became the first place outside the Mainland to conduct
personal Renminbi (RMB) business, including
deposit-taking, currency exchange, remittances and
credit cards. The
development of this business has been encouraging.
At present, a total of 38
retail banks, nearly all of them, provide the first
three of these services.
As at the end of January this year, total RMB
exceeded RMB13.1 billion.
The cumulative value of transactions by Mainland
visitors using RMB cards to spend and make cash
exceeds $2.9 billion, or $3,000 per transaction on
Hong Kong banks also started issuing RMB cards in late
April 2004 to facilitate cross-boundary spending by
While the range of RMB
services now available in
is quite limited, the provision of such services already
represents a breakthrough.
For the further development of RMB business in
Hong Kong, I have earlier indicated three strategic
directions: first, exploring the diversification of the
RMB assets and liabilities of Hong Kong banks;
particularly on the liability side, diversification to
non-residents and non-individuals of deposits now
restricted to resident individuals; second, exploring
the provision of appropriate RMB banking services for
trade and other current account transactions between
Hong Kong and the Mainland; third, exploring the
feasibility of establishing a RMB debt issuance
mechanism in Hong Kong.
These proposals, if implemented, will facilitate
the channelling of RMB back to the Mainland and the
diversification of RMB assets.
The further development of RMB business in
needs to be compatible with the process of financial
liberalisation in the Mainland.
The Government is exploring with the Mainland
authorities ways to expand the scope of RMB business on
a sound footing, in these three strategic directions.
In this context, we will also be studying the
establishment of a clearing and settlement platform for
RMB transactions so as to enhance their efficiency and