The Monetary Authority and the three note-issuing banks today unveiled a series of Hong Kong banknotes.
The new notes consist of five denominations. The two denominations unveiled today, $100 and $500, will be put into circulation in December.
The other three denominations, $20, $50 and $1,000, will go into circulation in the second half of 2004. The authority will co-ordinate the issue of the first batch of new notes on the same day.
Authority Chief Executive Joseph Yam said printing costs will be about $350 million.
Although the per-note cost has been lowered to about 60 cents, they are more durable than existing ones.
Security features standardised
An important feature of the new banknotes is the standardisation of security features and, in particular, their location on the notes.
Mr Yam said thanks to the good work of the Police, the number of forged Hong Kong banknotes found is small, far less than what is found internationally.
For example, only 4,000 forged banknotes in two denominations - $500 and $100 - were found in the first six months of 2003, meaning that only one is found in every 25,000 notes.
Noting the poor quality of the forgeries, he believed there will not be a big increase of fakes when the new banknotes are issued. However, he reminded the public to be careful to avoid fakes.
Mr Yam said current banknotes have been in circulation for more than a decade and it is necessary to redesign them to incorporate the latest available security features.
"A banknote should be pleasing to the eye, should say something about the community that uses it, and above all should be difficult to forge if it is to maintain public confidence," he said.
All of these factors have been taken into account in the new banknotes' design.
Anti-counterfeiting features enhanced
A number of advanced security features have been added to the new banknotes to help prevent counterfeiters from copying them. They are:
* Denomination numerals 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 (visible under ultraviolet light);
* Holographic windowed thread (a 4mm-wide security thread with holographic images woven into the paper); and,
* Iridescent images (shimmering image showing bauhinia flowers when the banknote is tilted under a bright light).
The new banknotes also retain security features used in existing banknotes, including concealed image/denomination, intaglio printing, invisible fluorescent fibres, multitone and highlight watermarks, security threads, see-through features and serial numbers.
All new banknotes are made by HK Note Printing. The design is the responsibility of the individual note-issuing banks, subject to the Financial Secretary's approval.
The $100 and $500 banknotes retain the colour schemes of the current series, principally red and brown, respectively.
Varied designs for new banknotes
The three banks are Bank of China (Hong Kong), the Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC, whose banknote issuing rates are 25%, 13% and 62%, respectively.
Bank of China (HK) Chief Executive He Guangbei said this is the first series of its banknotes issued under the name of 'Bank of China (HK)', which has been adopted since the restructuring and merger of the former Bank of China Group in Hong Kong on October 1, 2001.
Its banknote series vividly depicts the development of Hong Kong as a modern city, and features a kaleidoscope of images reflecting Hong Kong's stability and prosperity.
The design of the new Standard Chartered notes pays homage to its long history in Hong Kong by depicting the changing faces of the Peak and Victoria Harbour over the years, the Bank's Director and CEO Peter Wong said.
HSBC's Assistant General Manager and Head of Personal Financial Services Paul Thurston said its new series reflects the unique culture and character of Hong Kong, as well as Chinese patterns symbolising luck and prosperity.
All existing notes will continue to circulate and will be gradually withdrawn when they become physically unfit for circulation.
New FS to sign $10 banknotes
While noting the controversy over the existing $10 banknotes, the authority has no plan to discontinue its use as it embodies the most counterfeiting features among similar denominations in the world.
About 487 million of them are in circulation, reflecting its good reception by the community.
When the existing stock is finished, he added, the new Financial Secretary's autograph will be adopted on the reprints.
A leaflet explaining and illustrating the new security features is available from the three note-issuing banks and the authority.
Information is also available on the authority's website.
Go To Top