Consumption vouchers: retailers, e-payment service providers offer promotions worth billions to entice Hongkongers ahead of roll-out

·4-min read

Retailers and e-payment service providers in Hong Kong are putting up billions of dollars worth of offers and promotions to entice residents to spend the government’s latest consumption vouchers, including lotteries and exclusive opportunities to meet celebrities backstage.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po on Monday unveiled details of the long-awaited second round of handouts worth HK$5,000 (US$637). The government expanded the eligibility criteria to include an extra 300,000 people, many of them foreign talents, entrepreneurs and students, pushing up the cost of the scheme by HK$1.7 billion to HK$68.1 billion.

The six e-payment service providers involved in the scheme are AlipayHK, Bank of China’s BoC Pay, HSBC’s PayMe, Tap & Go and WeChat Pay HK. AlipayHK is operated by Ant Group, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, which owns the South China Morning Post.

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HSBC’s PayMe is among the six e-payment service providers involved in the scheme. Photo: Jonathan Wong
HSBC’s PayMe is among the six e-payment service providers involved in the scheme. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Cash rewards by the city’s biggest e-payment provider, Octopus Cards, amounted to more than HK$250 million. Customers can receive up to HK$200 by spending a certain amount with Octopus, while new customers are eligible for an extra HK$30.

Consumers using Octopus to pay can also enjoy a 10 per cent discount in shops and restaurants in 12 MTR shopping malls, while commuters who purchase a three-month KMB bus pass can receive a bonus month worth HK$780.

In face of strong competition among e-payment service providers, Rita Li Yuk-yi, the company’s sales and marketing director said on Tuesday: “We are happy that there is more competition, because seeing competition drives us to do better.”

More than 70 per cent of residents eligible for the handout previously selected Octopus as their preferred platform to collect the vouchers.

AlipayHK has announced promotions worth HK$3 billion, with existing users of the platform receiving a HK$210 reward, while new customers will get an extra HK$25.

Those who use the voucher on the platform to buy tickets for music concert “Kaho x MCFrenemyLive2022” can enter a contest to have their photo taken with Hong Kong singers Hung Ka-ho and MC Cheung backstage.

Venetia Lee Wing-sze, general manager of Alipay in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan said more than 20 per cent of eligible recipients chose the platform to store the previous batch of e-vouchers and noted that over 90 per cent of businesses accepted the provider as a payment method.

A representative of WeChat Pay HK said the platform would announce new offers this week and planned to expand its network of local retailers and services.

Eligible residents who register for BoC Pay to collect the handout can enjoy a HK$100 “Super Switch Bonus” and more than HK$15,000 worth of offers when shopping at 70,000 local online and retail outlets. New customers who download and connect the app to a bank account or a BoC UnionPay credit card will be offered HK$68.

Hong Kong to include non-PR residents, students on e-voucher handout from August

Sun Hung Kai Properties said 12 of their major shopping centres would spend about HK$10 million to increase promotional activities, such as launching a lottery with luxury cars, iPhones and jewellery as prizes.

Shopping centres under Sino Group will also launch a series of promotional activities and will cooperate with businesses and roll out rewards.

The e-vouchers scheme was first introduced last year, allowing eligible registrants to receive vouchers worth HK$5,000 in their electronic wallets during the third and fourth quarters.

Bella Chhoa Peck-lim, director of asset management at Sino Group, said she believed the latest batch of vouchers would stimulate consumer spending.

“With the fifth wave under control, all kinds of premises have resumed business … The public will have more consumption channels such as cinemas, eight people dining-in and so on,” she said.

Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, estimated the catering industry would take about a quarter of the total spending of the latest round of e-vouchers.

“Restaurants will definitely roll out more offers to attract customers and even crossover promotions with the retail industry to have more added value to customers,” he said.

Additional reporting by Sammy Heung

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