Last year, the Hong Kong government launched the Consumption Voucher Scheme in an effort to stimulate the city’s economy in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. The scheme entitles every qualified Hong Kong citizen to receive HKD 5,000 in e-coupons.
Following the initial launch of the Consumption Voucher Scheme last year, the second round was launched in April this year. The first half of the promised amount, HKD 5,000/ USD 637 has been distributed and the second half will follow on 7th August.
The vouchers are only available to Hong Kong permanent residents aged 18 and up. The government has expanded the scheme to include persons in Hong Kong who are qualified for permanent residency, but locals who plan to emigrate are not included.
Two new operators, Bank of China’s BoC Pay and HSBC’s PayMe, have also joined Alipay HK, Octopus, Tap & Go, and WeChat Pay HK, as a means by which residents can receive their e-vouchers.
Residents can use the vouchers on public transportation, restaurants, retail stores, and supermarkets, as well as online sites that accept any of the six service providers.
The consumption voucher cannot be redeemed for cash or used to make payments to other people. It cannot be used to make purchases from merchants outside of Hong Kong, either. Expenses for education, donations, and payments to the government, such as taxes, license fees, and tunnel fees, will be eliminated as well.
In March, the government predicted that the HKD10,000 (USD 2,374) e-vouchers will stimulate Hong Kong’s GDP by 1.2 percent. Retail sales increased by 11.7 percent year over year after the government distributed the first round of consumption vouchers in April, reversing a two-month dip. Sales of electrical appliances and other consumer durables climbed by more than 40 percent, bringing the entire monthly sales value to HKD 30 billion (USD 3.82 billion).
Billy Mak Sui-choi, an associate professor at Baptist University’s department of finance and decision sciences, believes the second wave of e-vouchers will have a more positive impact than the first due to the nature of the pandemic calming down since April.