New notes pay tribute to heritage and hopes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 July, 2011, 12:00am


Technology, festivals and green power all have one thing in common: they are part of the new designs of HK$20, HK$50 and HK$100 notes released by the Hong Kong Monetary Association yesterday.

While keeping some traditional and 'signature' elements, Hong Kong's three note-issuing banks drew on various aspects of the city for inspiration for the new incarnations of the banknotes.

The HK$500 and HK$1,000 notes were unveiled in December and are already in circulation. This new batch of banknotes will be released in November.

'These [banknotes] are used in day-to-day transactions and are deeply entrenched in life in Hong Kong. We want the designs to reflect the city's budding evolution,' HKMA chief executive Norman Chan Tak-lam said.

Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) chief executive Benjamin Hung Pi-cheng said: 'We hope the banknotes reflect Hong Kong's heritage and history, but also [the city's] commitment to be at the forefront of innovation.'

Standard Chartered blended heritage with cutting-edge technology in its design - the HK$100 note features a Sung dynasty seal but has an electronic circuit board in the background; the HK$50 note has a traditional combination lock with a modern bank vault; the HK$20 note has an old abacus and a binary-system pattern.

All the notes have traditional Chinese mythical creatures on the reverse.

Jennings Ku, who leads the design team for HSBC's new banknotes, said the theme of local festivals - the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day on the HK$100 bill, the Lunar New Year festival on the HK$50 note and the Mid-Autumn Festival on the HK$20 note - was chosen to represent the vibrant local culture of Hong Kong.

The set took more than four years of work for the team in Hong Kong and Britain.

Notes issued by the Bank of China have images of city scenic spots.

'We love all the beautiful and unique scenic spots of this city, and we hope that together, we will work towards a greener future to preserve these beautiful spots for years to come,' bank chief He Guangbei said.

Lion Rock is on the bank's HK$100 note, with Tung Ping Chau and Repulse Bay embellishing the HK$50 and HK$20 bills respectively.

'Banknotes are redesigned and reissued every few years because we have to keep on top of counterfeiters. These notes will probably last for another seven years,' Standard Chartered's Julian Fong Loong-choon said.

An exhibition on the new banknotes will start on Wednesday at the IFC mall in Central.