Hong Kong mulls remote bank account opening in the Mainland

Facial recognition technology and biometric methods may be used.

Hong Kong residents may soon be able to open bank accounts in Mainland China through technology amidst deepening talks by authorities for the Greater Bay Area (GBA) initiative, reports South China Morning Post.

Also read: Beijing to launch smart cards for Mainland-based Hong Kongers in GBA push

The GBA is an connectivity scheme by the Chinese government that aims to link Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in Guangdong into an integrated economic hub by easing the flow of capital, goods and people across borders.

Remote bank account opening has been made possible through steady advances in technology like facial recognition and biometric methods that could identify customers without physically visiting a bank in the Mainland, Norman Chan, chief executive at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said on the sidelines of the Treasury Markets Summit 2018 in Hong Kong.

Also read: Hong Kong urged to develop GBA blockchain and e-invoicing standard

Officials are reportedly sorting out differences between the involved regulatory frameworks and the flow of funds from cross-border accounts.

The project may start by enabling customers to move small amounts of cash using e-wallets from Alipay and WeChat Pay. “We may implement these projects in the Greater Bay Area first,” added Chan but did not disclose any specific details or timelines.

The success of the GBA would depend on the efficiency by which companies can conduct payments across borders, according to accounting firm CPA Australia. “Technology will be central to making it easier to make legitimate transfer payments across borders and detect and disrupt illegitimate movement of money,” Paul Ho, CPA Australia Divisional President of Greater China said in a statement.

The GBA project has already attracted the attention of tech titan Tencent who is already working with the government to create an electronic pass system that will ease travel within the GBA through linking documents to the WeChat app.

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