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11 January 2023
Chinese bank deploys vaccines in marketing strategy
Public healthGreater China
China CITIC Bank International is offering mRNA vaccines to customers who make significant deposits with it.
mRNA vaccines are available in Hong Kong and Macau while mainland China has mostly been supplied with locally produced vaccines based on older, inactivated technology. But with travel restrictions lifted, it’s now possible for mainland residents to travel to Hong Kong and take advantage of what is on offer there.
Why it matters
The Beijing government has been critical of Western vaccines, so it is perhaps surprising that a state-owned bank is using them as part of a marketing push. Meanwhile, a hard-hit travel sector is looking to exploit new opportunities in health tourism as Covid infections rise following the ending of the zero-Covid policy.
New or existing customers who deposit HK$4m of fresh funds in an account will be eligible for a BioNTech/Pfizer bivalent shot, the Financial Times reports.
Account holders will also be able to access a vaccine for hepatitis B (endemic in China).
Non-health-related options include a complimentary Bentley test drive and discounts at Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel, which is popular with the mainland elite.