New Year New Money: Three of Hong Kong’s largest, note-issuing banks will release the last of the new 2018 bills just in time for Chinese New Year.
In a Hong Kong first, Bank of China, Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank have all teamed up on a unified theme, with the latest banknotes featuring butterfly-themed $50 notes and yum cha-themed $20 notes.
Much like the new HKID, the colorful new notes come with a number of new features and security upgrades. Some of those features include tactical lines and high-tactility numerals (read: easily felt), according to Hong Kong Money Authority (HKMA). For the visually impaired there’s both braille and a QR code app capable of reading note denomination.
Following the issue of Cantonese opera-themed $100 bills in September, the new banknotes will land at a teller near you from January 14, a full nine business days head of CNY. When it comes to lai see, having “good-as-new” notes on hand is important, or so the HKMA tells us — that’s why the final release comes ahead of CNY.
The HK$50 note features three species of butterflies, each pictured among different flowers and with a distinctive pattern on their wings. You’d be forgiven for thinking they were modeled off the famous Chinese folk tale butterfly lovers: a tale of love by the lake in Hangzhou, where two forbidden lovers return as butterflies to be together. However, the notes are actually modeled off of Hong Kong’s over 140 species of butterflies.
Meanwhile, the $20 notes feature a teapot set for two, a family gathering, and an uncle pouring tea — all in a yum-cha themed edition. The new series also includes a HK$1000 note featuring the International Financial Centre (IFC), a $500 note showing UNESCO Global Geo Park, and a $100 note featuring Cantonese Opera.
All new notes, features and specs can be seen on the HKMA website.