The Hong Kong Dollar is Hong Kong’s official currency and it is also an unofficial currency in Macau. The currency was introduced in 1863 whilst Hong Kong was still a colony of the British Empire. Despite many changes since this time the dollar has remained the currency of Hong Kong, even though the former colony is now a special administrative area of China.
The Hong Kong dollar is broken down into ten sin (or cents) and the ISO currency code for the dollar is HKD. The official symbol used for the currency is $ but outside of Hong Kong there is the need to differentiate and so the symbol HK$ is used to make sure it stands out and is separated from the world’s other dollar currencies.
The History of the Hong Kong Dollar
Hong Kong became a leading port for trade in the British Empire in 1841 and at the time the area had no local currency and so foreign currencies, most commonly Indian rupees, Spanish dollars and Mexican pesos were used, alongside some old Chinese coins. The British made a considerable effort to make the Great British Pound the currency in this colony but they were unsuccessful.
When it was definitely clear that the British pound was never going to be accepted in the colony the British then suggested the Hong Kong dollar and this became the region’s official currency. The dollar was initially minted at the Royal Mint in London but by 1866 minting was moved to Hong Kong, which angered the Chinese and meant that the mint was quickly closed and the equipment was sold on to Japan, where it was used to mint their own currency.
The Hong Kong dollar has remained firmly in place throughout the years, even after the return of Hong Kong by Britain to China in 1997 and the currency is affectionately known as the Honkie by the large numbers of British ex-pats still living in the area.
The first HKD coins were introduced in 1863 and they were the one mil and the one and ten cent coins. They were quickly followed by five and twenty cent coins as well as a half coin and a one-dollar coin. Once inflation took hold the government decided to withdraw all coins worth less than ten cents and added in new dollar value coins instead, with two, five and ten denominations added.
Unusually for a currency the notes issued come from the banks in Hong Kong rather than the government and the first notes were introduced by the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China. Dependent on the availability of metals over time there have been notes in as low denomination as one cent issued, especially after the Second World War where metal for coinage was scarce.
Hong Kong Conversion Rates
Today one Hong Kong dollar is worth approximately £0.09 or $0.12 and from the other perspective £1 is worth HK$11.08 and $1 is worth HK$7.75.
Governmental restrictions mean there are no land-based casinos in Hong Kong but they do allow gambling on cruise ships in the area. Hong Kong has looked to legalise gambling but as yet the government has not voted in favour of this change. Online casinos cannot operate in Hong Kong but people from Hong Kong can play at casinos based in jurisdictions outside of the company. The Hong Kong dollar is not commonly accepted at many online casinos but people using HKD can fund their accounts in this currency and then see it converted into Euros, US dollars or GBP.