Is Hong Kong ready for e-HKD?

HKUST IEMS Thought Leadership Brief No. 76


Kar Yan Tam, Christy Yeung

Hong Kong explores the possibility  to launch the “e-HKD”, a Retail Central Bank Digital Currency (rCBDC) intended for use by the public to circulate as a currency. Although Hong Kong’s population is known for its technological readiness, the Hong Kong authorities, businesses, and the public will be entering largely uncharted territory, given the very limited number of international reference cases. As public perception can likely make or break a successful “e-HKD” roll-out, it is important to accurately gauge it at an early stage.

Our survey clearly shows that positive perceptions toward the e-HKD exceed negative perceptions. However, neutral perceptions were expressed in answers to a broad range of questions, which signals a feeling of indifference. Widespread satisfaction with existing payment options may constitute the major stumbling block to quick adoption of the e-HKD.

It will be important to get the merchants on board and educate the public about the safety measures and proper protection of their data. We believe that the implementation of the e-HKD could be smoothened significantly with smart initiatives, such as giving potential users the first-hand experience of using the e-HKD through the issuing of limited-time commercial vouchers as a trial.

This Thought Leadership Brief is adapted from the report Public Perception of e-HKD published by HKUST Business School in 2023.

About the Authors

Kar Yan Tam is Dean of the Business School and Chair Professor of Information Systems, Business Statistics and Operations Management at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). He is currently the Acting Director of HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies. Prof Tam received his PhD from Purdue University and started off his academic career at the University of Texas (Austin).   As a researcher, Prof Tam is well known for his contributions in information systems and the diffusion of innovations in organisations.    He is currently serving on several regulatory bodies and councils of tertiary institutions, such as the Exchange Fund Advisory Committee of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Anti-money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Review Tribunal and the Metropolitan University of Hong Kong (MUHK) and Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi). He is a member of the Hong Kong Academy of Finance.


Christy Yeung is Head of Fintech and Green Finance Projects of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, overseeing research projects, talent development initiatives, and industry engagement in the areas of fintech and green finance. Her research interests include fintech and green finance policies and talent development with a focus on filling the talent gaps for Hong Kong’s financial sector.


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