Hong Kong will see a new series of banknotes from the three note-issuing banks – including The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC), Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited and Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited (BOCHK) – begin circulating from the fourth quarter of the year, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said.
Unveiling the newly designed bills in five denominations at a press conference on Tuesday, the HKMA said the notes will all have the same thematic subject on the reversed side, which has not been seen before, and multiple advanced anti-counterfeit features, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Their colors will be the same as those seen in the current batch of notes.
The new HK$20 bill depicts the popular dim sum and tea culture in Hong Kong, while native butterflies, Cantonese opera, the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark and the city’s status as an international financial center will be seen in the HK$50, HK$100, HK$500 and HK$1,000 bills, respectively.
The HK$1,000 and HK$500 notes will be put into circulation in the last quarter of 2018 and early 2019, respectively. The lower denominations of HK$100, HK$50 and HK$20 will be ready for issue in batches between 2019 and 2020, pending an announcement in mid-2019, HKMA deputy chief executive Howard Lee Tat-chi said.
The new bills have incorporated advanced security features including a dynamic shimmering pattern, a windowed metallic thread, a Bauhinia flower-themed enhanced watermark, a fluorescent see-through denomination, a concealed denomination and an embossed feel.
To aid the visually-impaired, the HKMA has sponsored the Hong Kong Society for the Blind to develop a mobile app that uses a phone’s camera to identify the denomination of Hong Kong banknotes and read it out loud for the user.
In addition, the reverse side of the banknote is in vertical layout instead of the traditional horizontal layout for aesthetic presentation of the subject and easy distinction from the previous series.
The HKMA said all existing banknotes continue to be legal tender and they will circulate along with the new banknotes and be gradually withdrawn as appropriate in due course.
Some netizens did not like the BOCHK design for the new HK$1,000 banknotes, saying that it shows only one person’s head with a lot of binary codes in it but no other Hong Kong characteristics.
Responding to the criticism, the chief designer responsible for the look of the new BOCHK banknotes explained that the image signifies intellectual exchanges among people while the binary codes represent the Bank of China and Hong Kong.
When asked by media why the HKMA does not want to stop the issuance of HK$1,000 bills, Lee said the denomination currently accounts for half of the total number of banknotes in circulation, suggesting a great demand for such bills.
Lee also said a polymer substrate is used only in the HK$10 bills but not in other denominations because most anti-counterfeit features are only compatible with the paper-based substrate.
This has been the case for many years and the HKMA plans to continue doing so, RTHK quoted Lee as saying.
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