Octopus in shop

CHINA: MTR Corp has increased its stake in Octopus Holdings Ltd, the company jointly owned by a number of Hong Kong transport operators which provides the Octopus contactless smart card payment system and associated services.

MTR Corp has acquired 2·78 million shares from Bravo Transport to increase its stake in OHL from 57·4% to 64%, and Bravo is to sell its remaining 0·6 million shares in OHL to another company. The owner of New World First Bus and Citybus said the end of its direct involvement in OHL was ‘sad but necessary’ because the pandemic had put its business ‘under intense pressure’ and recovery was ‘still nowhere in sight’. Bravo will continue to accept Octopus payment, and will also explore other payment systems.

Confident in the prospects

‘We are confident in the business prospects of OHL as Octopus remains the most popular means of electronic payment in Hong Kong’, said MTR Corp CEO Dr Jacob Kam when the deal was announced on January 24.

‘While the challenges from emerging operators offering different modes of electronic payment cannot be underestimated, OHL has been making efforts since the launch of Octopus in 1997 to expand its service into different facets of our daily lives as well as its presence in different parts of the world, and its achievements are evident.’

Kam said the acquisition ’is more than a promising investment for the Corporation, it also means a closer business relationship between MTR and OHL. While the Corporation will continue to explore opportunities for cooperation with different payment system operators, it expects OHL, with its high popularity in Hong Kong, to keep playing a major role in the future development of the fare collection system.’