How MTR beat HSBC

In the battle for Hong Kong''s electronic money, a train company beats one of the world''s biggest banks.

This column is called Funny Money, and with the demise of Mondex in Hong Kong, the name could not be more appropriate.

Mondex was launched in Hong Kong by HSBC in 1997 as the ultimate e-cash to replace the paper stuff in your wallet. It came as a smart card, and boasted US military style encryption defences.

However, in a letter to cardholders a few days ago, HSBC announced that as of 31 March 2002, the Mondex card programme will be discontinued.

This was HSBC's tacit admission that enough was enough. With so few Hong Kong people using Mondex I have one that I have used once, purely as an experiment, the plastic...

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