Octopus Cards Limited

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Octopus Cards Limited
IndustryPayment systems
FoundedHong Kong (1994 (1994))
HeadquartersHong Kong,
Hong Kong
Number of locations
Hong Kong
Area served
Hong Kong, Shenzhen and other major Chinese cities
Key people
Sunny Cheung Yiu-tong (CEO)
ProductsOctopus card
ServicesSmart card payment systems
OwnerMajor transport operators in Hong Kong
Number of employees
ParentOctopus Holdings Limited

Octopus Cards Limited (Chinese: 八達通卡有限公司) is the operator of the Octopus rechargeable contactless smart card used in an electronic payment system in Hong Kong.

Octopus Cards Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Octopus Holdings Limited. Established in 1994 under the name of "Creative Star" by the major transportation companies in Hong Kong, Octopus Cards Limited is the operator of the Octopus System and the issuer of Octopus.

The Octopus card was introduced in 1997 with the aim of providing a simple way to pay fares on public transport in Hong Kong. Octopus then extended its reach into simple micropayments for purchases in retail outlets and a simple way for cardholders to gain access to buildings and schools and to identify themselves. In January 2002, it was renamed Octopus Cards Limited from Creative Star. Prompted by the business expansion of the Octopus card, Octopus Holdings Limited was formed in 2005 after a company restructure and Octopus Cards Limited became a wholly owned subsidiary of the new company.[1][2] Today, over 440 service providers accept Octopus, and new uses are regularly being added.

Octopus used to have a global reputation of world's leading and most extensive contactless smartcard system with the highest penetration, transaction volume and the widest scope of applications, now turned into an iconic symbol of "yesterday technology" under the rapid trend of mobile payments. [3][4]

Controversy over use of personal data[edit]

Octopus became the centre of a controversy in mid-2010, when some individuals complained that they had received unsolicited sales calls which they alleged came from business partners of Octopus. Octopus chief executive Prudence Chan initially denied that any personal data had been given over to third parties, but said that cardholders' consent to use their data would have been given when they registered for the Octopus reward program, which had an opt-out mechanism.[5] The company came under fire for deception when a former worker at CIGNA, an insurance company said that Octopus had bought data on 2.4 million reward scheme cardholders.[6] At a hearing before the Privacy Commission on 26 July 2010, it was subsequently revealed that it had entered into partnership agreements through which card-holders' personal details were sold to CIGNA, an insurance company and others for HK$44 million. The company disclosed that personal data collected from Octopus rewards program had been sold to six vendors since 2002, and that two such relationships were still current. The company was further criticised when it was revealed that there were no safeguards on the transfer or reuse of the personal data to parties outside of Hong Kong.[7] Chan apologised before a Legislative Council's finance affairs panel meeting; she said that she 'might have used a wrong definition of selling [personal data] at the time'. Legislators from all parties demanded Chan's resignation for attempting to mislead the public, thus precipitating a crisis of confidence in the company, and putting the company into disrepute by her lies.[8]


  1. ^ "Our Company". Octopus Holdings Limited. Archived from the original on 17 May 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2007.
  2. ^ "Operation of the Octopus Card in Hong Kong" (PDF). Hong Kong SAR Legislative Council Secretariat. Retrieved 12 July 2007.
  3. ^ "People's Daily says 'outdated' Octopus payments highlights Hong Kong's 'economic stagnation'". Hong Kong Free Press. 2015-10-07. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  4. ^ "Why the city's iconic Octopus card is so yesterday". EJ Insight. 2015-07-31. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  5. ^ Siu, Beatrice (8 August 2010) "'Your data's in safe hands'", The Standard
  6. ^ Yau, Thomas (15 July 2010). "Octopus in hot water over `sold' personal data claim", The Standard
  7. ^ Chan, Samuel (27 July 2010). 'Tentacle of lies', The Standard
  8. ^ Tsang, Phyllis (28 July 2010). "It's a four-letter word, Prudence – Q-U-I-T", South China Morning Post

External links[edit]