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Electronic Transactions Ordinance (Chapter 553)

To provide a clear legal framework for the conduct of e-business in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Electronic Transactions Ordinance (Cap. 553) ("ETO") was enacted in January 2000 and last updated in January 2024. In general, the ETO is to -

  1. accord electronic record and electronic signature (please see the note below) the same legal status as that of their paper-based counterparts; and
  2. establish a voluntary recognition scheme for certification authorities to enhance public confidence in electronic transactions.

(Note: For transactions not involving Government entities, a signature requirement under the law can be met by any form of electronic signature so long as it is reliable, appropriate and agreed by the recipient of the signature. For transactions involving Government entities, a signature requirement under the law can be satisfied by digital signature supported by a recognized digital certificate issued by a certification authority recognized under the ETO.)

A digital certificate is a form of electronic record which serves as a guaranty of identity who claims to be in conducting electronic transactions. Digital certificates are issued by certification authorities. Hongkong Post Certification Authority is a recognized certification authority by virtue of the ETO. A commercially-run certification authority can also apply to the Government Chief Information Officer to become a recognized certification authority on a voluntary basis. Recognition will only be granted to those certification authorities and digital certificates that have reached a standard acceptable to the Government.

For details of the ETO and the use of digital certificates for electronic transactions, please visit the following respective sites.

The Ordinance

  1. Introduction
  2. Subsidiary Legislation Under the ETO
  3. Recognized Certification Authorities in Hong Kong
  4. Manner, Format and Procedure for Submission of Electronic Information to the Government
  5. Major Events on the Development of the ETO

Voluntary Certification Authority Recognition Scheme

  1. Introduction
  2. Disclosure Records of Recognized Certification Authorities
  3. Recognition of Certification Authorities and Certificates
  4. Application for Recognition
  5. Application for Participation in Mutual Recognition of Electronic Signature Certificates
  6. Code of Practice for Recognized Certification Authorities
  7. List of recognized certificates available for subscriptions

Digital Certificates for Electronic Transactions

  1. Introduction
  2. Uses of Digital Certificates
  3. Types of Digital Certificates
  4. User Journey of Using Digital Certificates
  5. Adoption of Digital Certificates in Hong Kong
  6. Facilitating the Use of Digital Certificates in Government and Community

Legislative Council Papers

Frequently Asked Questions


Useful Links