Shopping gets easier with two-in-one smart card

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2011, 12:00am


Hongkongers and mainlanders will be able to travel or shop in Hong Kong and six Guangdong cities with one electronic card next year, after smart card companies in both regions signed an agreement to issue a two-in-one card.

The deal between Lingnan Tong and Octopus to issue the card was among five Hong Kong-Guangdong collaboration agreements signed yesterday.

Holders will be able to use the card in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Foshan, Jiangmen, Zhaoqing, Shanwei and Huizhou. The card will be equipped with two electronic 'purses', enabling yuan payments in Guangdong and Hong Kong dollar payments in Hong Kong.

At a ceremony marking the signing of the agreement during a meeting of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Joint Co-operation Conference, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said cross-border co-operation was bearing fruit. 'These agreements can set goals for the next stage of Hong Kong-Guangdong collaboration, and prove the determination and sincerity of both in reinforcing co-operation,' he said.

A much anticipated scheme to expand the number of drivers allowed to cross the border would be implemented in March - after a postponement of 15 months - Guangdong governor Huang Huahua announced.

Under the scheme, people wishing to drive a Hong Kong-registered car with up to five seats to Guangdong will be issued a one-off permit at the border, possibly subject to a quota. (Details of the scheme are not known yet; previous discussions envisaged a reciprocal arrangement that would eventually benefit 7.4 million vehicle owners.)

Huang said the scheme was a high priority for provincial authorities.

'The scheme offers another choice for citizens across borders to build exchanges,' said Huang. 'We have set up a working group with nine departments to implement it.'

The two administrations signed a letter of intent on co-operation to push forward the development of the Nansha new area, which Tsang and Huang described as a future hub for the development of innovative technology.

Hong Kong and Guangdong also signed agreements on combating climate change, establishing a notification mechanism on critical disruption of telecommunication networks, and on dealing with issues concerning intellectual property.