We put together a top-flight security package covering all the denominations that did more than just protect the notes against forgery.

Clemens Berger, Chairman of the Management Board of Louisenthal

State-of-the-art security features

Commenting on the rigorous, one-year evaluation process in Hong Kong, Clemens Berger says: “We came out on top compared to our competitors due to our cutting-edge security elements that give all the notes a unique and really eye-catching look as well as offering robust protection against forgery.” The HKMA and issuing banks decided on a combination of 5mm-wide Galaxy® security threads with MultiCode™, along with an extremely detailed watermark that is clearly visible on both sides of the note and has a three-dimensional look.

“The Galaxy threads are particularly effective because they offer two attractive properties: changing colours and an animation-like effect,” explains Clemens Berger. “They’re based on millions of microscopic mirrors arranged in a unique way in a tiny space. That’s what delivers the sparkling look – and makes the optical features impossible to counterfeit.” The note also comprises Louisenthal’s coded, machine-readable MultiCode feature that enables automatic detection and verification by banknote processing systems. MultiCode is embedded within the Galaxy thread.

Visual appeal combined with security

Clemens Berger remembers all the hard work leading up to the event. “We had a great working relationship with all the Hong Kong parties – they were convinced as soon as we showed what our security elements can do,” he says. “We put together a top-flight security package covering all the denominations that did more than just protect the notes against forgery. It also offered Hong Kong the elements they needed to produce an amazingly attractive series of banknotes with a coherent design architecture.”

The project was somewhat unusual in that each of the three issuing banks has its own note design. However, the security elements are identical across them all and the motifs on each note have very similar subject matter. In a statement, the HKMA said: “The designs present the multiple facets of Hong Kong as an international metropolis, featuring its rhythm of life, recreation and entertainment, as well as rich natural and cultural heritage. The five denominations respectively depict Hong Kong's flourishing financial services industry ($1000), the spectacular Hong Kong Geopark ($500), traditional Cantonese opera ($100), the butterflies that inhabit Hong Kong ($50), and the popular dim sum and tea culture ($20).” The issuing authorities decided to maintain the size and colour scheme of the previous notes to help with recognition. They have also kept the accessibility features for the visually impaired to differentiate the denominations. One change from the previous series was to depict the images on the reverse of each note in portrait (vertical) rather than landscape (horizontal) format.

All new notes to be in circulation by 2020
Hong Kong started by releasing the HK$1000 note, which was followed in 2019 by the HK$500 note. The lower denominations, including the HK$100, HK$50 and HK$20 banknotes, are coming out between mid-2019 and early 2020. By mid-2020, they will all be in circulation alongside the old notes, which will be gradually phased out.

Flagship project
“We’re really proud that our advanced watermarks and Galaxy security threads were selected for implementation in all the notes from all the issuing banks,” concludes Clemens Berger. “We particularly appreciated the partner-like, close collaboration between all the parties involved – it was a major factor behind the project’s success. This has become a flagship project for us in the Asian region and beyond, showing why we’re a world leader in end-to-end cash cycle management.”

Further Reading

Galaxy® Security Threads
Clear authentication, high dynamics and 3D effects – Louisenthal has rolled all these properties into an innovative security thread technology. Galaxy is based on tiny microscopic mirrors plus ColourShift, a technology which provides a brilliant visual experience and extreme protection against counterfeiting.



Our three-dimensional, highlight and pixel watermarks can be used singly or combined – and we’re always working on new, advanced technologies that allow for a creative design. That results in higher protection and faster verification for everyone.



Embedded covert security
Louisenthal’s innovative, covert security features can be integrated in security threads to boost a banknote’s functionality at different authentication levels.