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The de facto central bank of Hong Kong
Published October 15, 2023
Updated July 7, 2023What is the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA)?
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is a government entity that was founded on April 1, 1993 as the de facto central bank and Hong Kong’s currency board. HKMA was established following the merger of the Office of the Commissioner of Banking and the Office of the Exchange Fund.
As Hong Kong SAR’s de-facto central bank, HKMA is tasked with ensuring the stability of the Hong Kong dollar and the entire economy through monetary policy. It is also tasked with controlling inflation and developing Hong Kong’s financial systems to ensure the free flow of money. HKMA ensures the stability of the Hong Kong dollar (HKD) by linking the HKD to the U.S. dollar, helping maintain a stable exchange dollar between the two dominant currencies.Summary
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) maintains monetary and banking stability as the de facto central bank of Hong Kong.
HKMA is tasked with maintaining the stability of the Hong Kong dollar and the economy through monetary policies.Understanding the Hong Kong Monetary Authority
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority was established subject to the Legislative Council’s amendment to the Exchange in 1992. The amendment empowered the Financial Secretary to appoint a Monetary Authority, who also acts as the Chief Executive of the HKMA. The chief executive serves a five-year term, and it is renewable with no term limits.
The Monetary Authority assists the Financial Secretary in performing his responsibilities under the Exchange Fund Ordinance and other ordinances, such as The Deposit Protection Scheme Ordinance and the Banking Ordinance.Functions of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority
Hong Kong serves as an important financial hub for the People’s Republic of China; it hosts dozens of multinational corporations. As the currency board and de facto central bank, HKMA is tasked with maintaining Hong Kong as an international financial hub by performing the following functions:1. Maintain Currency Stability
The HKMA maintains the stability of the Hong Kong dollar within the framework of the Linked Exchange Rate System (LERS). The system works to stabilize the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Hong Kong dollar and maintains the parity between the two currencies within a tight range.
The note-issuing banks are required to issue new notes after depositing an equivalent value of U.S. dollars with the HKMA. It helps stabilize the exchange rate and keep currency fluctuations at a minimum. The three commercial banks authorized to issue banknotes in the region include the Bank of China, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, and Standard Chartered Bank.2. Preserve Integrity of the Financial System
Hong Kong is an important financial hub that hosts over 70 of the 100 largest banks in the world. It is also home to over 29 multinational banks that operate their regional headquarters in the territories. HKMA promotes and regulates the integrity of the financial system by supervising banks and other institutions that are in the business of taking deposits, lending, managing investments, and providing insurance services.
HKMA requires all financial institutions to perform their functions prudently, maintain adequate capital, and keep their risks at optimal levels. It also reviews the regulatory framework often to ensure the regulations are in line with international banking standards.3. Manage Exchange Fund
The Exchange Fund is the investment arm of HKMA. The fund was established in 1935 to provide backing to the HK dollar. The fund’s mandate now includes the management of private equity, foreign currency reserves, and fiscal reserves.
As of December 2023, the Exchange Fund manages over HK$4 trillion worth of assets. The fund runs three main portfolios – i.e., backing portfolio, investment portfolio, and long-term growth portfolio. Overall, it helps maintain the stability and integrity of the territory’s monetary and financial systems.4. Keep Hong Kong as an International Financial Center
Hong Kong operates as an autonomous territory, with a reported annual GDP of $362 billion as of 2023. HKMA is tasked with maintaining the territory as an important financial hub in the Asian region and the world. The authority performs its function by maintaining and developing the region’s financial infrastructure to meet international standards.
For example, HKMA developed the Faster Payment System in 2023, which is a real-time gross settlement payment system that integrates electronic payments, traditional banks, and digital wallet operators.
The payment system allows users to perform instant money transfers to other users using their phone number, email, or QR code with the user’s numeric identifier. Users can also initiate transfers using the recipient’s full name and account number.Related Readings
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Hay otra razón que motiva el aumento de interés en los servicios VPN: La nueva ley de seguridad de Hong Kong fue aprobada a finales de mayo y entró en vigor el 1 de julio de 2023. Está diseñada para suprimir las recientes protestas y en general fortalecer el control de China sobre Hong Kong.
Muchos servicios de VPN tienen centros de datos en Hong Kong, pero la nueva ley exige a las empresas que entreguen los datos cuando se les solicite. Muchos servicios de VPN registran su negocio en países donde las leyes de datos son favorables a la privacidad, lo que significa que no se les pedirá que entreguen los datos de sus servidores.Políticas de no registro
La cosa es que prácticamente todos los servicios de VPN en estos días tienen una política de no-logs, lo que significa que sus servidores no guardan ningún registro de cuándo los usuarios se conectaron al servicio, su dirección IP, qué sitios visitaron o cuánto tiempo estuvieron conectados.
En pocas palabras, no hay datos que entregar aunque las autoridades lo exijan. Y si te preocupa la posibilidad de que tu identidad sea descubierta a través de tus datos de facturación, normalmente existe la opción de pagar de forma anónima por tu VPN.
Una tendencia más reciente es que los servicios de VPN utilicen servidores RAM, lo que significa que cualquier dato guardado en la memoria se pierde cuando el sistema se reinicia o se apaga. Ellos encriptan sus discos duros o no tienen ningún disco. Esto reduce aún más el riesgo de que los datos sensibles se vean comprometidos.
Los mejores proveedores de VPN.¿Por qué se están eliminando los servidores VPN de Hong Kong?
Si un servicio de VPN no ofrece una política de cero registros, podría decidir dejar de ofrecer a sus usuarios un servidor en Hong Kong para proteger su privacidad. TunnelBear ha decidido apagar su servidor de Hong Kong por otra razón: para proteger su “ecosistema técnico”, en concreto las claves de configuración que se utilizan para acceder remotamente al servidor.
No registra ningún dato de los usuarios y sus discos duros están encriptados, pero dice que sigue representando un riesgo para la privacidad del usuario mantener un servidor funcionando en el país.
En cambio, ha “ampliado” sus capacidades en Singapur y Japón, y recomienda a los usuarios que se conecten a esos servidores en su lugar.
Sin embargo, otros, incluyendo NordVPN y ExpressVPN, dicen que mantendrán sus servidores en Hong Kong porque no contienen ningún dato sensible del usuario. Incluso si los servidores fueran confiscados físicamente, las autoridades no podrían acceder a ninguna información que pudiera comprometer a un usuario.
Otros, como Proton VPN, recomiendan habilitar una seguridad adicional (en el caso de Proton, la función Secure Core) que enruta su conexión a través de múltiples servidores, lo que aumenta su privacidad y hace virtualmente imposible que las autoridades relacionen su actividad con su identidad.¿Se prohibirán las aplicaciones VPN en Hong Kong?
Ciertamente existe la posibilidad de que la nueva ley presione a Apple, Google y otros operadores de tiendas de aplicaciones para que eliminen cualquier aplicación que no tenga aprobación oficial o que contravenga las nuevas regulaciones.
Eso no será un problema para nadie que use un servicio de VPN del Reino Unido, Estados Unidos u otros países. Pero para aquellos en Hong Kong que necesitan una VPN para la privacidad y para evadir los medios de comunicación y sitios web bloqueados, podría ser un problema mucho más grande.
“We’re definitely prototyping the technology. We’ve been doing it for a long time,” said then-Google Pixel chief Mario Queiroz to CNET in May 2023. However, Queiroz added a qualifier: “I don’t think there’s a clear use case yet.”
Other little bits of evidence include mentions in the Android 12 beta and the existence of Android 12L.
It’s possible Google has been more aggressively testing its foldable prototypes on Android or, if you like, testing Android on its foldable prototypes.
Anyway, the report is Google isn’t diving in to launch a Pixel Fold any time soon, if you listen to the sometimes-accurate Ross Young, co-founder of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC).
In short, Young, who has a bead on the display market, says Google has allegedly canceled orders for materials that would be necessary to produce the foldable on a large scale.
Young reckons there’re two reasons: one is the materials shortage making life hard, and the other is Google might’ve had the hardware, but couldn’t figure out the marketing to sell a competitive option — no cheaper than Samsung, no better than Samsung.
It doesn’t mean Google has given up, it’s just going to let the market continue to develop.
By the way: For the first time I had hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. I’ve played with the Fold 3 a little before this, but the Flip 3 really is an awesome feeling device, with a hinge that inspires confidence in build quality and strength.
Android 12 hits the Galaxy
Samsung has finally got its act together and is rolling out Android 12 at unprecedented swiftness via One UI 4, coming to the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra right now.
That’s only a month or so since Android 12 was officially released, handily beating Samsung’s previous efforts.
Android 11 came out to the Note 20 series on December 12, and Android 11 was released a month earlier (September 2023) than Android 12 (October 2023), so this is about two months faster summed up; a big improvement.
Our post here details what’s new and different, from color palettes to widgets to Android 12’s privacy dashboards, plus updates to the Samsung keyboard app, and more.
As for the rest of Samsung’s devices? The company says One UI 4 and Android 12 will “soon” be available for previous Galaxy S, Note, and Galaxy A devices, plus other foldables and tablets.
The Galaxy Note 20, Z Flip 3, and Z Fold 3 can already enroll in their respective One UI 4 beta programs.
📸 Is the Google Pixel 6 Pro camera actually better than the Pixel 5? Yes. Is the Pixel 6, though? (Android Authority).
😬 Google launched a ‘Fortnite Task Force’ after Epic skipped the Play Store (Android Authority).
🤔 Huawei may have a plan in motion to sidestep the US ban, which involves a licensing situation (Android Authority).
🍎 The new MacBook Pro: Why did Apple backtrack on everything (and why that was the right thing to do) (AppleInsider).
🔧 Valve provides a deep dive into Steam Deck’s custom hardware design, detailing balancing performance versus battery (Ars Technica).
🎮 It’s been twenty years of Xbox! Here’s one interview with Phil Spencer touching on Game Pass, the Red Ring Of Death, and what 2041 might look like for Xbox, in another 20 years (Axios). Also a surprise: Halo Infinite’s free multiplayer mode is available right now!
💡 Surprise: Amazon has four new smart switches, but exclusively via Alexa (The Verge).
💿 Why did China keep its exascale supercomputers quiet? (The Register).
🔫 The Polish simulator company gamers love to hate (Wired).
💥 Wow: Russia appears to have intentionally blown up one of its defunct satellites in an ASAT test. That created as many as 1,500 new bits of debris, which forced the ISS astronauts to cower in spacecrafts for hours (Gizmodo). NASA’s chief said: “I’m outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action. With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts. Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board.”
🤔 “What is a terrible trend found in new home design?” (r/askreddit). Wow, “Open concept bathrooms” are a thing??
In short, it shows the latest release, Eternals, is more or less bombing as hard as any Marvel movie, though the audience score isn’t too bad.
And it’s doing “bad” in the box office: “‘Eternals’ debuted with the lowest US box office for a Marvel Studios movie in 6 years,” writes Variety, but it’s different, and different isn’t always what the fans want!
The Verge said it is “big, beautiful, and empty”. Like me when I’m hungry.
That reminds me I haven’t seen Dune yet, and probably should before long…
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor
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The Edge 20 series comes with an Edge 20 Pro, an Edge 20 Lite, and a middle-tier edition just called Edge 20.
The three models are a worldwide release, though that’s everywhere but China and North America.
There’s a later launch in China, for August 5.
And in the US/Canada, what seems to be coming to the region is a fourth model, sometime later: “Motorola is excited to share its commitment to deliver a new 5G Edge family device in North America this fall,” was the company’s statement.
Edge 20 lineup:
All three stick with a single design approach: a 6.7-inch display, triple cameras, big batteries, and what looks like reasonable pricing for each tier, though each tier has its own competitors, of course. There’s also no curved screen this time around, with flat panels.
And while the Edge 20 Pro is Motorola’s flagship within the company, it’s not quite a complete top-of-the-line model; it skips the Snapdragon 888 for the Snapdragon 870.
The Pro packs a 6.7-inch 144Hz OLED, that 870 SoC, a triple camera including 5x periscope lens, and a 4,500mAh battery. That looks decent for the £650/€700 price tag.
The Edge 20 standard version drops a few high-end features, including switching to a Snapdragon 778G chipset, and it loses the 5x lens, but it does keep the 144Hz OLED. It goes thinner than ever before for a 5G Motorola phone, at 6.99mm, which downsizes the battery to a 4,000mAh pack, but it is now a £430/€500 buy. I wonder how the battery life will hold up with the 144Hz display…
The Lite edition skimps harder, with a Dimensity 720 chipset and a 6.7-inch 90Hz OLED screen — and the triple camera has less top-line features. It does tick up to a bigger battery at 5,000mAh, though and starts at £300/€350.
One other compromise for the family: Motorola said its phones will only receive only two Android OS updates, and two years of security updates.
That’s sub-par given Samsung, OnePlus, Nokia, and Google are all offering much longer software servicing.
Edge 20 sales in Asia, the UK and other European markets, should start on August 19.
📈 Xiaomi is just shy of becoming the world’s largest smartphone maker, as it came within a single percentage point of Samsung in Q2 2023, per Canalys (Android Authority).
📸 Here’s everything you need to know about the Huawei P50 and P50 Pro which launched in China yesterday (Android Authority).
🔋 Dark mode study: Most conditions show only a 3-9% battery saving, but savings do get bigger and better at 100% brightness (Android Authority).
👓 Facebook’s next hardware product will be “smart” Ray-Ban glasses — Zuck: “[The Ray-Bans will] have their iconic form factor, and [let] you do some pretty neat things,” but no details about those “neat things” (Ars Technica).
💵 Scarlett Johansson has sued Disney over ‘Black Widow’ streaming release: the short version, I think, is that stars can be paid more if movies go big at the box office. But if the box office is compromised because someone like Disney puts it on Disney Plus, people don’t go to cinemas, and the box office figure falls, even if Disney Plus subscriptions do well. Now, Johansson is suing because the report says she might be owed $50M! (WSJ, $).
🎮 Stanley Parable and Gone Home devs team up to form Ivy Road studio (Engadget).
📦 Amazon reported slightly lower revenue than expected in Q2: Amazon’s earnings show why Andy Jassy is now in charge, because Amazon Web Services remains a bright spot (The Verge).
I enjoyed this read titled: “What I learned surrendering my life to algorithms for a week” over on CNET, where StitchFix decided the clothes, Yelp decided the food and activities, chúng tôi offered algorithmic movie recommendations, and Apple Music algorithmically generated playlists. It went ok, it seems.
But anyway, this is the key point:
“…the biggest lesson I learned from this week-long experiment was that the degree to which these algorithms are able to figure out my desires and act on them is largely dependent on three things: who is developing them, why they’re being developed, and the data that goes into it.”
“The more specialized the service and the more data it gathered about me, the better it seemed to work.”
This means: if you want good suggestions, you either need to actively put in data (and tie yourself to an app like Yelp), or your more natural, non-forced, usage grants information.
Advantage: Apple Music or Spotify, the Netflix algorithm, Google, and so on.
Have a great weekend feeding whichever algorithm you choose,
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.
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🌅 Good day, and happy midweek! If you stand on the tips of your toes, you can see the weekend peeking over the horizon. That’s not actually true, but it makes for a great stretch.
Moving along, Google’s been at the center of the news cycle this month with its long-awaited Pixel 7 series and Pixel Watch launches. However, our main story today is a rather surprising announcement from Mountain View that few would’ve predicted just a few weeks ago. Ready to game?
At the end of September, Google announced the death of its cloud gaming service Stadia. (If you haven’t yet, you should probably request a refund too).
This seemed to mark the end of Google’s gaming push as well know it.
But that wasn’t the case at all.
The company earmarked Chromebooks and Chrome OS this week as its new gaming-centric platform.
According to Google, Acer, ASUS, and Lenovo announced the world’s first laptops explicitly built for cloud gaming.The specs
The notebooks look pretty good on paper.
The Acer Chromebook 516 GE sports a 120Hz display with an RGB keyboard and 8GB of RAM.
Asus’ Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip crams a 144Hz screen into a convertible form factor.
Finally, the Lenovo Ideapad Gaming Chromebook features a 120Hz screen with a quad-speaker system.
NVIDIA is also involved in bringing its Geforce Now RTX 3080 tier to the Chromebooks, allowing gameplay up to 1,600p resolution at 120Hz.
Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming beta and Amazon Luna are both supported.
Google’s “Everything” button will also make it a little easier to search for and run games without the need to install it first.So what’s Google’s endgame?
Chromebooks aren’t synonymous with gaming, but it’s clear Google’s doing everything it can to make this connection a success.
Unlike Stadia, gaming Chromebooks probably won’t be killed by their creators.
Google seems particularly averse to supporting hardware and services long-term, but by selling cloud gaming on Chromebooks, all Google has to do is maintain Chrome OS.
The convenience factor, integration with multiple gaming services, the overall utility of Chromebooks, and higher-end hardware should make these machines an interesting prospect for some.
Gaming on Chromebooks may not see the widespread mass appeal of Windows machines, but intriguingly, Google continues to see potential in cloud gaming on a platform it created.
Acer, ASUS, and Lenovo’s new gaming Chromebooks will launch later this month, with prices ranging from $399 to $799.Roundup Wacky Wednesday: Fat Bear Week drama
🐻 You might remember last week we mentioned Fat Bear Week, the annual Katmai National Park, Alaska tradition that encourages internet users to vote on which bears they think gained the most weight throughout the season. For bears, storing fat is essential for hibernation, and Fat Bear Week allows the National Parks Service (NPS) to educate the public about the animals.
While the March Madness-like bracket system is supposed to be free and fair, someone tried to rig the results of one particular bout.
The bears named 435 (affectionately named Holly) and 747 faced off on Sunday, but the results were marred by scandal.
According to Katmai National Park, someone had spammed votes in favor of Holly.
The bear reportedly received 9,000 votes in a short period, which led the organizers to discard these votes.
Ultimately, 747 was awarded the win.
The craziest thing? Someone created “many fake email addresses” from various IP addresses. This was a coordinated effort to rig the result. Why? People are clearly passionate about their favorite bear or just really bored.
All in all, no harm came from the effort, and all bears are winners in our eyes.
747, not fazed by the scandal in the slightest, has continued his run of form, beating 901 in the latest heavyweight bout.
Follow Katmai National Park on Twitter for the latest Fat Bear Week news.
Have a great day,
Andy Walker, Editor.
Xbox: The big announcement was Bethesda’s Starfield. The all-new space RPG is launching exclusively on Xbox and PC on November 11th, 2023. It’s a long way off, but it’s a big deal. Previously, Bethesda was an all-platform studio producing games on PlayStation, etc, too. Now, it’s a Microsoft-flavored affair.
For Xbox, add in Halo Infinite, The Outer Worlds 2, Forza Horizon 5, Stalker 2, Back 4 Blood, and Sea of Thieves getting a free update on June 22 with a new storyline based on Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, and it was pretty spectacular.
Also, Microsoft said it will hold an Xbox Games Showcase: Extended event on June 17, which sounds like a bunch of chats with people from its first-party studios like Double Fine, Obsidian, Ninja Theory and Rare.
Game Pass: What matters here is that of 30 games shown off, 27 will be available via Game Pass, making the subscription service bigger and bolder than ever. 10 other classic Bethesda games will also be added, including Fall Out, Doom, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
Square Enix:The five biggest announcements out of Square Enix included announcements and trailers for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, made by the Deus Ex studio, Life is Strange: True Colors, and Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin (Polygon).
But it was Xbox that caught the attention:
Xbox spent years building the future and now it’s the present, writes Polygon, strongly arguing that the “big bets are finally paying off.”
From Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014, to the acquisition of video game publisher Bethesda for a whopping $7.5 billion in late 2023, most of the work going on has been behind the scenes.
That’s while Sony has unveiled platform-defining games like God of War, Spider-Man, and The Last of Us Part 2, and Nintendo has turned the Switch into arguably its most successful console.
Xbox, though, now has a mighty launch ramp: “Dozens of new video games, both exclusive and not exclusive, will be available on the Xbox subscription service Game Pass on their day of release. And many of these games … will be playable through Microsoft’s cloud streaming service, which will be available on Android, iOS, and web browsers by the end of the month. Whether or not people can find the latest console will become less and less relevant when a truckload of new games can be streamed at Xbox Series X quality on your phone, your laptop, or your TV.”
And the core realization here is that everybody may have Xbox in some way, “even if they don’t own an Xbox,” which still leaves Sony and Nintendo well-placed with exclusives and their platform approaches.
But…: “[If] we don’t see legitimate competition from [Sony and Nintendo] soon when it comes to studio acquisitions, streaming services, and subscription plans, then Xbox will have a cakewalk to become the Netflix of video games. Where Sony and Nintendo will specialize in the occasional breakout hit, Microsoft will be routinely expanding Game Pass with all sorts of games, from established franchises to games-as-service to quirky indies you can enjoy in a weekend.”
All of this is still 8-12 months away. It assumes Microsoft and its studios crank out hit after hit, which certainly isn’t a given. A title like Halo Infinite looks super exciting for gamers, but the disastrous trailer from last year’s E3 shows just how bad even a certain sounding game could be.
What is most interesting about all this for me is just how accessible Microsoft is making gaming, even while trying to sell two next-gen consoles.
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