Octopus plans to launch ‘all-China pass’ payment card covering 320 cities by end of March

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Tim Ying

29th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s Octopus Holdings Limited is poised to introduce a new ‘all-China pass’ payment card, facilitating seamless travel throughout more than 320 cities in mainland China. The launch, scheduled for the end of March, represents a significant leap in consumer convenience, marrying Hong Kong’s currency with the expansive reach of China’s transport systems.

The pass, a physical card, is designed to ease the journey for travellers as they navigate the extensive rail and bus networks sprawling across China’s vast urban landscape. Upon purchase, cardholders will be able to deposit funds in Hong Kong dollars, which will then be automatically converted into the Chinese yuan when fares are deducted. This innovative system promises to deliver a competitive exchange rate, further enhancing the card’s appeal to frequent travellers.

Octopus Holdings has confirmed that the new card will initially be available for sale at select MTR stations, including the West Kowloon Station, among others. Customers will have the convenience of topping up their cards at Hong Kong’s top-up machines or via the Octopus app, with a top-up limit mirroring that of the existing Octopus cards at HK$1,000.

This strategic development comes on the heels of a significant uptick in transactions made via the UnionPay QR code in mainland China, with figures for January showing a fourfold increase in payment numbers and a sixfold surge in both transaction volume and counts compared to the same period last year.

The Chief Executive Officer of Octopus, Tim Ying, highlighted the growing trend of consumer spending abroad, noting a substantial sevenfold increase in average spending through Promptpay in Thailand during the Lunar New Year holiday compared to its initial launch in December. This trend is not confined to small transactions; Ying underscored that Octopus users in Thailand are engaged in mid to high-end spending, including dining at Michelin-starred restaurants and dental care services, with individual transactions reaching up to HK$9,900.