Tencent eyes WeChat to banish travel papers for trips between Hong Kong and China


HONG KONG (Reuters) – Tencent Holdings is working with China’s authorities for its widespread WeChat app to exchange journey paperwork on border crossings between Hong Kong and China, the expertise large mentioned on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: WeChat mascots are displayed inside Tencent workplace at TIT Creativity Business Zone in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China Could 9, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Picture

Tencent demonstrated its proposed “Scan-WeChat-to-cross-border” process on the border checkpoint, which might make the cell app much more highly effective and ultimately render it pointless for Chinese language residents to hold journey paperwork.

The messenger-to-payment WeChat app now has greater than 1 billion customers, most of them in mainland China.

Though the federal government of Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese language rule in 1997, gave no fast response on whether or not it’d contemplate the proposal, its chief Carrie Lam participated in a WeChat scanner demonstration.

Tencent mentioned it was working with Chinese language authorities to roll out the biometric data-based E-card scheme for mainland and Hong Kong residents to hyperlink id paperwork to their WeChat app and cross the border with easy code and face scans.

In a press release, the agency mentioned the system was the most recent expertise for digital id options authorised by China’s Ministry of Public Safety, and encrypted algorithms would forestall any leaks or tampering.

With the E-card scheme, it added, Tencent hoped residents of China’s “Larger Bay Space”, encompassing Hong Kong, Macau and southern Guangdong province, could be the primary to expertise “one cell, seamless journey” earlier than it’s rolled out elsewhere.

However Tencent didn’t say how far its talks with Chinese language authorities had progressed, nor give a timeline.

It runs a pilot scheme for Guangdong residents to combine official paperwork similar to nationwide id playing cards, driving licenses and journey paperwork with WeChat accounts, permitting 142 authorities duties to be carried out within the app, from paying visitors fines to establishing appointments for marriages and divorces.

Jim Lai, a Tencent vp, mentioned the push was partly spurred by nationally sanctioned plans to additional combine Hong Kong and Macau with southern China within the Larger Bay Space.

“We hope the way forward for the Larger Bay Space is a seamless entity for the residents,” Lai mentioned.

There was no fast response from Hong Kong’s Safety Bureau and Immigration Division on whether or not it’d contemplate such a system or if the federal government had privateness issues.

Hong Kong’s “one nation, two techniques” association ensures it a excessive diploma of autonomy not loved in mainland China, together with impartial judicial energy and regulation enforcement.

The border between Hong Kong and China is among the world’s busiest, with greater than 230 million vacationers crossing land checkpoints in 2016, authorities knowledge exhibits.

Folks now cross the border with passports and chip-embedded journey playing cards swiped by fingerprint and facial scans to cross by unmanned electrical channels.

“The imaginative and prescient of the scheme is … permitting folks to maneuver freely between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau with only a cell phone sooner or later,” Lai added.

Reporting by Sijia Jiang and Holly Chik; Writing by James Pomfret; Enhancing by Clarence Fernandez

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