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New Hong Kong Banknotes

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the three note-issuing banks (Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited, Standard Chartered Bank and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited) today (Wednesday) announced the forthcoming issue of a new series of Hong Kong banknotes in 2003 and 2004.

The new series consists of five denominations. Two denominations, HK$100 and HK$500, the designs for which were unveiled today, will be put into circulation in December 2003. The remaining three denominations, HK$20, HK$50 and HK$1,000, will go into circulation in the second half of 2004.

An important feature of the design is the standardisation of security features, and, in particular of their location on the banknotes. A number of advanced security features have been added to the new banknotes to enhance their anti-counterfeiting capabilities. These new security features are

  • Denomination numeral in optical variable ink (the colour of the denomination numeral shifts between gold and green when the banknote is viewed at different angles)
  • Fluorescent machine readable barcode (machine readable barcode visible under ultraviolet light)
  • Holographic windowed thread (a 4mm-wide security thread with holographic images woven in the paper)
  • Iridescent images (shimmering iridescent image showing bauhinia flowers when the banknote is tilted under a bright light).

The new banknotes also retain security features used in current series of banknotes, including concealed image/denomination, intaglio printing, invisible fluorescent fibres, multitone and highlight watermarks, security thread, see-through feature and serial numbers.

"The current banknotes have been in circulation for more than 10 years, and it is necessary to redesign them to incorporate the latest available security features," said Mr Joseph Yam, Chief Executive of the HKMA. "A banknote should be pleasing to the eye, should say something about the community that use it, and, above all, should be difficult to forge if it is to maintain public confidence. All of these factors have been taken into account in the design of the new banknotes, and, I hope you will think, successfully so," added Mr Yam.

All new banknotes are printed by Hong Kong Note Printing Limited. The design of the notes is the responsibility of the individual note-issuing banks, subject to the approval of the Financial Secretary.

The new HK$100 and HK$500 banknotes retain the colour schemes of the current series. Like the current banknotes, the new $100 and $500 will be principally red and brown in colour.

Mr He Guangbei, Chief Executive of Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited, said, "this is the first series of our banknotes issued in the name of 'Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited', which has been adopted since the restructuring and merger of the former Bank of China Group in Hong Kong on 1 October 2001. It represents a new starting point for us. On the front panels of our new banknotes are the bauhinia and the Bank of China Tower while the back panels feature major landmark buildings in Hong Kong. Our entire banknote series is a vivid depiction of the development of this modern city, and a kaleidoscope of images reflecting Hong Kong's stability and prosperity. These themes are so chosen to remind ourselves and others to strive for the betterment of Hong Kong."

"Standard Chartered Bank issued its first Hong Kong banknotes in 1862, and we now have a history of over 140 years of note issuance in this vibrant financial centre. The design of the new notes pays homage to our long history in Hong Kong by depicting the changing faces of the Peak and Victoria Harbour over the years. We are delighted to have played such an important role in Hong Kong's financial history, and we look forward to continuing to grow with Hong Kong for the next 140 years - and beyond," commented Mr Peter Wong, Director and CEO of Greater China, Standard Chartered Bank.

Mr Paul Thurston, Assistant General Manager and Head of Personal Financial Services of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, said, "HSBC's new series of banknotes are designed to reflect the unique culture and character of Hong Kong, illustrated through the use of images of well-known landmarks and landscape, as well as Chinese patterns symbolising luck and prosperity. As the largest note issuer in Hong Kong, HSBC is satisfied that the inclusion of advanced security features will make it very difficult to reproduce the new series."

All existing banknotes continue to be legal tender. They will continue to circulate along the new banknotes and will only be gradually withdrawn from circulation when they become physically unfit for circulation.

Illustrations and explanations of the security features of the new HK$100 and HK$500 banknotes are available in a press pack. A leaflet explaining and illustrating the new security features is available for the public from the three note-issuing banks and the HKMA. The information is also available on the HKMA website at

For further enquiries please contact:

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Jasmin Fung, Manager (Press), at 2878 8246
Thomas Chan, Senior Manager (Press), at 2878 1480

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited

Ms Angel Yip, Deputy Head of Corporate Communications Division, at 2826 6159
Ms Clarina Man, Deputy General Manager, at 2826 6175

Standard Chartered Bank

Barbara So, Senior Corporate Affairs Manager, at 2820 3085
Avis Kong, Senior Corporate Affairs Manager, at 2820 3009

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited

Gareth Hewett, Senior External Relations Manager, at 2822 4929


Hong Kong Monetary Authority
3 September 2003

Last revision date: 1 August 2011
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