Fintech Market Overview

This article does not constitute legal advice.

Client identification in Hong Kong


There are no laws or regulations that deal with creating digital identities. However, the Electronic Transaction Ordinance (Cap 553) provides a framework for producing digital certificates to serve as confirmation of identity when they enter into electronic transactions. As a result, only approved certification authorities are allowed to issue such certificates - so far, the Hongkong Post Certification Authority and Digi-Sign Certification Services Limited. Nevertheless, any individual can apply to the government chief information officer under Section 20 of the ETO to become a recognised certification authority. Digital certificates may then be used during electronic authentication which is how people identify themselves online. At this stage, only those in possession of a HongKong identity card can apply for personal digital certificates; other forms of identification documentation such as passports are not accepted. But companies can also set up these digital certificates, without having restrictions on where their corporations are based as long as their business registration certificate has been issued by the HongKong government.1

In addition to transactions between private individuals and government entities, the ETO covers all circumstances in which electronic signatures or services can be conducted. Applications and transactions involving government entities are most commonly conducted with digital certificates, such as voter registration and renewal of vehicle licenses. Providing the parties to the transaction consent to the electronic transaction, the ETO also recognizes private transactions conducted by electronic means.1

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Denis Polyakov

Denis Polyakov

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  1. https://thelawreviews.co.uk/title/the-financial-technology-law-review/hong-kong