Octopus comes up tops in voucher pollLocal | Leung Pak-hei 25 Jun 2021
Nearly 60 percent of Hongkongers prefer to receive the government's electronic consumption vouchers through their Octopus cards, according to a survey.
It also found people are more preoccupied with the vouchers' usage than registration and redemption procedures. Merchant coverage was also a main source of concern for more than half of the respondents.
The survey interviewed more than 1,000 people aged 18 to 64 online to learn about their expected spending habits, behavior and product categories.
The results showed that the majority planned to use the vouchers to buy food and electronic devices.
More than two thirds wished that the vouchers could be used to buy shopping coupons for delayed consumption, while respondents aged 18 to 24 preferred to use the vouchers immediately.
Over 40 percent wish to use the vouchers for purchases exceeding HK$5,000, with those under 40 seeing themselves as having the highest chance of doing so.
Shi Kai-yin, the founder and chief executive of Mojodomo Group, believes the consumption voucher scheme will encourage local merchants to adopt electronic payment systems, accelerating Hong Kong's development as a smart city.
But he also said most small and medium enterprises consider the doling out and usage of the vouchers to be complicated, and that the different distribution methods for various platforms may cause inconvenience and confusion.
The industry suggested the government unify the distribution methods and include more e-payment platforms such as virtual banks in the scheme.
Hui Hing-tak, the CEO of ecHome, and Lai Man, cofounder of MyDress, expressed concern about the expensive handling fees and the deferred income e-payment methods may bring.
They said they need to reconsider the operational costs once the scheme ends, even though most of the e-payment providers have agreed to waive practicable installation or handling fees for local merchants.
The survey also found that nearly 70 percent would need to help the elderly to register, receive and use the electronic vouchers. Up to 80 percent of senior citizens expressed a preference for using Octopus cards.
However, this may come with a risk of theft, as Octopus Cards Ltd has said it would not separate the electronic vouchers from the balance accounts, and that the vouchers can be used for regular expenditures.
The government has announced that the first HK$2,000 of the HK$5,000 in electronic vouchers will be dished out from August 1 as part of its efforts to boost local spending. The money will be handed out in installments over a few months.
Octopus Card users will first receive HK$2,000, another HK$2,000 two months later, and HK$1,000 weeks after that. The vouchers can be collected using Octopus Card readers at MTR stations, in shops or via the card's app.
Those who receive the vouchers via the AlipayHK, Tap & Go or WeChat Pay HK digital wallets will first get HK$2,000, followed by HK$3,000 two months later.
AliPay HK said "tens of thousands" of users registered to use its platform to receive the vouchers within 24 hours of the government announcing details of the voucher scheme. Those who register on the platform early can win a HK$30 prize.