Octopus Holdings has appointed a senior official from Hong Kong rail giant the MTR Corporation as its new CEO to drive growth amid punishing competition. Angus Lee Chun-ming, who was in charge of the rail firm’s operations in Macau, would succeed Sunny Cheung Yiu-tong on September 1 at the city’s provider of electronic payment services, Octopus said on Monday. confirming an earlier Post report. Cheung, 65, is expected to retire for a second time on August 31, after first standing down as CEO in 2014, only to return the following year. He has been with the company for nearly nine years. To pave the way for his appointment, Lee, an engineer by training who has more than 22 years’ experience in railway operations and management, joined Octopus in January this year as chief growth officer. Lee held several senior management positions at MTR Corp before rising to general manager of its operations in Macau. He has experience in the company’s operations in Hong Kong as well overseas markets such as Sweden and Japan. The new boss will be tasked with driving Octopus’ transformation in electronic payments, while breaking into the emerging market in the Greater Bay Area , the economic development zone that combines Hong Kong, Macau, and nine other mainland cities in the Guangdong province. “Evolving customer preferences, increased smartphone penetration and the proliferation of innovative solutions are fast transforming the digital payments landscape in Hong Kong and presenting huge opportunities for Octopus,” said non-executive chairman David Eldon. Over the past few years, Octopus has faced soaring competition from 17 other providers, including TNG Wallet, AlipayHK, and WeChat Pay HK. AlipayHK is a joint venture between CK Hutchison Holdings and Ant Group, an associate of Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post . Francis Fong Po-kiu, honorary president of the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, said despite Octopus occupying a leading position in offline transactions in shops, restaurants and public transport, it must innovate in the online payment market. “Rivals are chasing fast and aggressively after Octopus,” Fong said. “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought forward the development of e-commerce in Hong Kong by two to three years, which means Octopus has to move faster along with the rapidly changing market.” Launched in 1997 as a pioneer in electronic payment systems, Octopus is majority owned by the MTR Corp, with a 57.4 per cent stake. There are about 36 million contactless Octopus cards in circulation in Hong Kong, or about 4.8 per resident. In the first half of this year, Octopus’ net profit dropped 14.2 per cent to HK$179 million from the same period in 2019 because of the impact of social distancing arising from the coronavirus pandemic.