Historical Timeline

The Historical Timeline traces the history of Hong Kong’s monetary, financial and banking systems from 1842 to the present, and reviews the key milestones of the HKMA’s work.

Guide to the Historical Timeline

Historical Timeline floor plan
(Click to enlarge)


With a total length of nearly 18 meters, the Historical Timeline consists of two sections:

  1. A multimedia display panel reviewing major events from 1842 to 1993; and


  1. A digital display panel, with 15 screens (55-inch each), reviewing major events from 1993 when the HKMA was established to the present.

An Overview of the Historical Timeline


Key Highlights

  1. Early Hong Kong
  • Implementation of Bimetallic monetary system
  • First Hong Kong banknotes
  1. Silver Standard
  • Implementation of Silver Standard
  • First Hong Kong coins
  • First stock exchange in Hong Kong
  1. Sterling Standard
  • Implementation of Sterling Standard
  • Creation of Exchange Fund
  • Establishment of Office of the Commissioner of Banking
  1. US Dollar Peg
  • Pegging of the Hong Kong dollar to the US dollar for a brief period
  • Global energy and financial crisis
  • The biggest stock market crash in the history of Hong Kong
  1. Floating Exchange Rate
  • Implementation of floating exchange rate system
  • A series of banking crises resulting in the Government using the Exchange Fund to take over or provide guarantees for the banks concerned
  1. Linked Exchange Rate System
    (1983 to the present)
  • Implementation of Linked Exchange Rate System
  • Commencement of operation of note-printing plant in Hong Kong
  • Stock market crash in 1987, resulting in the Government using the Exchange Fund to support the futures market
  • Multiple bank runs in 1991 with the Exchange Fund providing liquidity support
  • Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-98, during which the HKSAR Government launched a stock market operation with the use of the Exchange Fund to repel speculators who used a “double play” strategy to manipulate both the currency and stock markets, and the HKMA introduced seven technical measures to strengthen the Currency Board arrangements
  • Global Financial Crisis in 2008, during which the HKMA introduced temporary measures, including a full guarantee for all deposits in Hong Kong by the Exchange Fund, to maintain market and public confidence in Hong Kong’s financial systems
  • Key milestones of HKMA’s work in maintaining monetary and financial stability, banking supervision, strengthening Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre, and reserves management since its establishment
  1. Thematic Review
  • Purchasing power of Hong Kong currency in different periods
  • History of note-issuing banks in Hong Kong
  • Evolution of Hong Kong notes and coins



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Last revision date : 14 October 2019