Why use digital payments in Hong Kong when cash is quick and easy

September 16, 2017
Industry News
Content Provided By:


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Jake Van Der Kamp
jake.vanderkamp@scmp.com

Hong Kong is not just any city. Its unique urban environment encourages the use of cash where residents of other cities may find themselves ordering and paying over their smartphones

Google Hong Kong’s “Think 2020: Smarter Digital City” white paper, released yesterday, found 81 per cent of Hongkongers surveyed perceived themselves as digitally savvy, but in reality, only 42 per cent were truly digital by using services such as mobile banking or online collaboration.

I like that bit about it being a “white paper”, as if here we had an even-handed and authoritative government study of a public policy issue. The truth of it, of course, is that Google makes its money from advertising on the web and is therefore critically dependent on growing consumer use of digital devices to buy goods and services, while scorning cash transactions.

What a surprise then to hear that Google is in favour of digital payments rather than of cash. How sad that we in Hong Kong are not up to the mark. Surely we are under an obligation to improve our erring ways so that Google can make more money from advertising. White paper indeed. Score one for the Google shills on clever use of language.

But Hong Kong is not just any city. Its unique urban environment encourages the use of cash where residents of other cities may find themselves ordering and paying over their smartphones.

If you live in a tiny flat on the 22nd floor of a building in a crowded urban district, then the street is your community. You go there to meet friends and do business. You also go there to shop because the shops and street markets are handy, as are the ATMs from which you can withdraw cash. Continue Reading
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