The Hong Kong government will distribute the second batch of HK$5,000 (US$637) in consumption vouchers during the summer, with more details to be released this week, the city’s finance chief has said. Residents can store the e-vouchers in any of six service providers, after BoC Pay and HSBC’s PayMe joined operators Alipay HK, Octopus, Tap & Go and WeChat Pay HK. “I very much hope that … consumers can enjoy consumption discounts and that the vouchers can … widen and deepen the development of electronic payments,” Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po wrote in his blog on Sunday. A total of 6.6 million personal accounts and about 130,000 merchant accounts began using stored value services after the voucher scheme was launched last year, he added. The handout is part of the second iteration of the scheme, which was announced in March. More than 6.3 million eligible residents each received up to HK$5,000 worth of digital coupons in the first round in April. Chan said data-driven e-voucher transactions had created “favourable conditions” for businesses to continue digitalising their operations and management strategies. “As long as we grasp the opportunities brought by this data-driven application, we can break new ground and find new business growth opportunities even when the commercial environment faces headwinds,” he said. Those who did not wish to change to a different service operator did not need to go through any further registration procedures, Chan added. In April, retail sales rose by 11.7 per cent year on year, ending a two-month decline. The total monthly sales value also rose to HK$30 billion, of which sales of electrical appliances and other consumer durables surged by more than 40 per cent. The performance of online sales remained “brilliant”, despite the overall decline in retail sales value, Chan said. According to the Census and Statistics Department, the provisional estimate of the total retail value dipped by 3.1 per cent in the first quarter of the year against a year ago. The value of online sales grew by 36 per cent in the same period, hitting more than HK$11 billion. It accounted for nearly 10 per cent of the total retail sales, higher than roughly 7 per cent in the same period last year. “It is not difficult to see that the acceptance and application of electronic payments and electronic transactions by the public and even merchants have indeed increased after the introduction of the [e-vouchers],” Chan said. Hong Kong residents to receive HK$10,000 in e-vouchers, but is cash better for some? The government estimated in March that the HK$10,000 e-vouchers disbursed would boost the economy by 1.2 per cent. The scheme was first introduced last year, in which eligible registrants received vouchers worth HK$5,000 in their electronic wallets during the third and fourth quarters. The government said it boosted gross domestic product by 0.7 per cent that year. The city’s economy grew by 6.4 per cent last year, rebounding sharply from a 6.5 per cent contraction in 2020.