The Government, through the HKMA, has given authorization to three commercial banks, namely The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited and the Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited and to issue banknotes in Hong Kong. Authorization is accompanied by a set of terms and conditions agreed between the Government and these three note-issuing banks. Banknotes are issued by the note-issuing banks, or redeemed, against payment to, or from, the Exchange Fund in US dollars, at a specified rate of US$1 to HK$7.80 under the Linked Exchange Rate system. Banknotes issued by the note-issuing banks are printed in Hong Kong by Hong Kong Note Printing Limited (HKNPL).
In April 1996, the HKMA acquired the note printing plant at Tai Po, Hong Kong from the De La Rue Group of the UK on behalf of the Government. The plant has been operating under the name of HKNPL since then. The acquisition of the plant enables the Government, through the HKMA, to be directly involved in the production of Hong Kong currency notes, which is in line with the responsibilities conferred upon the Government under the Legal Tender Notes Issue Ordinance and the Basic Law. In March 1997, the Government sold 15 per cent of its shareholding in HKNPL to the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation. In October 1997, the Government sold a total of 30 per cent of HKNPL issued shares, at 10 per cent to each of the three note-issuing banks. The Government continues to exercise management control and maintains a majority stake in HKNPL, with the Chief Executive of the HKMA as the Chairman of the company.
Notes in Circulation
Hong Kong dollar notes in everyday circulation are $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1,000. The $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1,000 notes are issued by the three note-issuing banks. There is a $10 paper note issued by the Government since 2002 in recognition of a continuing demand among the public for a note in addition to the coin; and a $10 polymer note since 2007 to assess the performance and acceptability of polymer notes in Hong Kong. The $10 notes issued by two note-issuing banks in the 1990s remain legal tender, but are no longer printed.
In pursuance to section 103 of the Crimes Ordinance (Cap 200 of the Laws of Hong Kong), anyone who wants to reproduce the whole or any part of any Hong Kong currency note for any purpose in any form must apply in writing to the Monetary Authority for approval. No reproduced images should be submitted with the application because such an action would amount to a breach of section 103 of the Crimes Ordinance.
If the Monetary Authority gives approval for the reproduction, the views of the relevant note-issuing bank should also be sought, in case the reproduction would in any way infringe its copyright.