Tencent is working with the Chinese government to create a WeChat-based electric pass system that would facilitate travels between Hong Kong and the mainland, local media is reporting.

By linking identity documents to the WeChat app, travelers could cross the border with simple code and face scans based on an E-card scheme powered by biometric data. With the E-card ID system, users someday might be able to check into hotels and set up bank accounts if regulators approve, the company said.

Travelers between Hong Kong and the mainland are required to have special permits, similar to visas, even though being the part of the same country.

Tencent hopes to expand the program to China’s whole “Greater Bay Area”, which encompass southern part of Guangdong Province, Hong Kong, and Macau, a region that has the same border crossing problem like Hong Kong.

The move marked the company’s efforts to deepen e-administrative initiative. WeChat already runs a pilot scheme for Guangdong residents to integrate official documents such as national identity cards, driving licenses and travel documents with WeChat accounts. It smooths the procedures for a wide range of administrative tasks from paying traffic fines and pensions to making an appointment at notary offices.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.

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