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MAR 1, 2024

Hong Kong broadens e-CNY testing with focus on cross-border payments

by CoinNess Global

Having made significant strides in undertaking testing of the digital yuan in recent times, Hong Kong is expanding its e-CNY pilot testing while at the same time crafting its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), dubbed the e-HKD.

Integrating e-CNY with FPS

During a recent budget speech Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan unveiled plans to empower Hong Kong residents to bolster their digital yuan wallets through the local “Faster Payment System” (FPS), marking another move forward in bolstering cross-border payment efficiency.FPS is a real-time payment settlement system which enables the user to complete payments across banks through the use of recipient mobile phone numbers and email addresses.
The move dovetails with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's (HKMA) successful completion of the inaugural phase of its e-HKD pilot, propelling it into the second phase. The e-HKD pilot is focusing on retail applications such as programmable payments, offline transactions and tokenized deposits.
At the same time as the e-CNY garners momentum, the HKMA is progressing the e-HKD in terms of unlocking the full potential of CBDCs in everyday financial transactions. This consists of the exploration of retail applications in the initial phase, coupled with the transition towards more intricate functionalities in the subsequent phase, underscoring Hong Kong's intent towards driving ever greater CBDC innovation within the Chinese autonomous territory.

Streamlining transactions

The integration of the e-CNY with Hong Kong's FPS promises to streamline transactions and elevate the fluidity of cross-border payments between Hong Kong and mainland China.
This initiative follows on from an announcement back in September of last year to expand the e-CNY pilot program in Hong Kong. Financial Secretary Paul Chan aims to forge a bridge between mainland China and international markets, potentially setting a global precedent for CBDC interoperability and utilization.
Furthermore, Hong Kong's issuance of the world's premier multi-currency tokenized bond, followed by a subsequent batch of tokenized green bonds, signifies the city's leadership in fusing digital finance with sustainable investment strategies, drawing significant interest from global institutional investors.

mBridge initiative

The collaborative efforts of the HKMA with the Bank for International Settlements and other central banks on the mBridge CBDC project further demonstrate Hong Kong's proactive stance in shaping the trajectory of international finance. Last month, authorities in China outlined yet another initiative that is designed to bring about cross-border use of the e-CNY with Hong Kong.
The mBridge initiative, a multi-CBDC platform to support cross-border payments is being harnessed to bring about greater trade using digital currency across various jurisdictions. The project involves the central banks of China, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Thailand.
This concerted endeavor, coupled with Hong Kong’s array of digital currency ventures, positions the city at the forefront of CBDC innovation. All of this development comes as China has established new milestones recently, with the completion of an international oil deal using the digital yuan together with similar deals involving gold and iron ore.
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