18 February 2019
As Mid-Autumn Festival approaches, you'd have more chances of winning if you bought Zhing An Insurance shares than if you bet on Mark Six. Photo: CNSA
As Mid-Autumn Festival approaches, you'd have more chances of winning if you bought Zhing An Insurance shares than if you bet on Mark Six. Photo: CNSA

What makes this year’s Moon Festival a truly happy one?

Macau may be the casino capital of the world, but when it comes to lotteries in this part of the world, Hong Kong is tops.

We are not talking about Mark Six and its HK$80 million Mid-Autumn Festival Snowball, which will be drawn tonight. Hope springs eternal, and although we are often disappointed by the results, there will be long queues at Jockey Club outlets today, for sure.

But instead of thinking big, why not act small? Over 120,000 retail shareholders placed their bets on the hot Zhing An Insurance, owned by the star trio – Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma, Tencent’s Pony Ma and Ping An Insurance’s Ma Mingzhe – and they’re happy to count their blessings today.

The first fintech company listed on the main board debuted with a 16 percent gain. Not bad for most shareholders who were allotted a minimum lot of 100 shares. They made around HK$1,000 each.

With that profit, you can buy some of those auspicious commemorative banknotes that Bank of China (Hong Kong) is rolling out today to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

The three-in-one uncut HK$100 notes cost HK$988, but if you are lucky to get those with the prefix AA or HY (that stands for a hundred years), your investment may be worth more if resold to a money trading house.

Already, people are excited about the serial number 888888, which is rumored to have a grey auction price of as much as half a million dollars.

In one of the largest-ever notes issuance, BOCHK is selling five million commemorative banknotes for the city’s 7.3 million residents. These special edition bills are available in single notes, three-in-one uncut notes and 30-in-one uncut notes for HK$288, HK$988 and HK$13,888 respectively.

Because of the large supply and Hong Kong-only offer, it is hard to estimate the demand from collectors and speculators, and even harder to predict the secondary trading price.

Well, Hong Kong people never tire of speculating on papers – be they money, stocks or lottery tickets.

Of course, there is no such thing as guaranteed profit. Look at iPhone 8, the only Apple smartphone model that has not commanded a premium and fueled a long line-up outside its stores.

But people are just forgetful. They are putting behind their painful experience and looking forward to iPhone X, and they can smell good profit here because of its special features and limited supply.

For the non-risk-takers, they may take comfort in knowing that the 4.2 million members of the Mandatory Provident Fund have clocked in an average accumulated benefit of HK$154,000, or an annualised return rate of 4.3 per cent, as of last year.

The other good news is this year’s performance may even be better. The Mandatory Provident Fund Authority said it is exploring the possibility of raising the minimum monthly contribution from the current HK$1,500 to HK$2,250.

As they say, everything looks good on paper. Happy Moon Festival!

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EJ Insight writer

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