Funds of note will go a long way

Local | 21 Sep 2016

Perhaps the most famous company associated with Hong Kong is HSBC. The bank was founded here in March 1865, and it opened in Shanghai a month later.

Over the years it opened branches in various Asian countries and in Europe and North America, and helped make Hong Kong into a major commercial hub.

In 2015, the bank celebrated its 150th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the company had the bright idea of issuing special HK$150 notes.

The banknotes are legally real money, but no one will spend them in the shops as they are sold to collectors. Instead, the money raised will go to an extensive charity program. Here's the amazing thing: the bank recently announced that it had raised HK$477 million.

The money will go via the Community Chest or the bank's own foundation to help out various youth, mental health and environmental causes researched by the bank's own staff.

These include programs to use e-learning and - believe it or not - intelligent robots to help students with special educational needs.

There is a project to design and test ways in which the internet and other technology can create safer homes for senior citizens; for example, through automated concierge services and remote health monitoring.

I was honored to chair an advisory panel on environmental projects. These include development of systems to provide far more detailed - indeed personalized - air pollution information, and help for organic farming and marine life issues. HSBC's 150th anniversary is going to have some big impacts.

Bernard Charnwut Chan is chairman of The Jockey Club CPS Advisory Committee

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