Hong Kong, one of the world's most dynamic financial centres, boasts a globally renowned public transport system. As early as 1979, local transport operator MTR Corporation Limited (MTRC) had been operating a fully automatic fare collection system. To further enhance customer convenience, MTRC devised a future development strategy in 1993 which recognised contactless smart card technology as the most appropriate platform for fare collection.
To oversee the development and implementation of this technology, Hong Kong's five major public transport operators—MTRC, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB), Citybus and the Hongkong and Yaumatei Ferry (HYF)—established a joint venture known as Creative Star Limited in 1994, later renamed as Octopus Cards Limited (OCL) in 2002.
In September 1997, the Octopus fare collection system was officially launched, the first step in making everyday life easier in Hong Kong. The innovative system eliminated the need for commuters to find exact change and allowed them to travel across multiple public transport modes using just a single card.
Octopus Cards Limited was authorised as a deposit-taking company by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) in April 2000. This allowed our expansion into a wider range of different applications, especially in the retail sector.
In January 2001, OCL underwent a change in corporate structure. A new agreement was signed amongst our shareholders, with the shares of HYF being transferred to New World First Bus Services Limited and Sun Ferry Services Company Limited (Sun Ferry) (formerly known as New World First Ferry Services Limited).
Octopus Holdings Limited (OHL) was incorporated in October 2005 as a result of this restructuring. The unit wholly owns OCL and its subsidiaries responsible for non-payment businesses, including Octopus Rewards Limited (ORL) and Octopus International Projects Limited.
Today, Octopus not only powers many of Hong Kong's payment systems, but also provides building access services and supports a number of school-related functions.
Leveraging our achievements in Hong Kong, OCL strives to export our solutions in system implementation and operations support to other countries. Our technology and experience have already been successfully exported to the Netherlands, Dubai and New Zealand.