SAN FRANCISCO - Visa International said that a Citibank-issued smart card in Hong Kong has been upgraded using the Visa Open Platform specification and Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java Card technology.

The SHKP Club Visa card, produced by Gemplus of France and issued by the Citigroup subsidiary on behalf of Sun Hung Kai Properties, is Hong Kong's first credit card to include a Visa Cash stored value function. A loyalty program is also to be built into the chip, related to residents' club memberships, access to various facilities, and shopping privileges in malls and other participating establishments.

The card "enters a new era with the benefit of smart technology," said Raymond Kwok, vice chairman and managing director of Sun Hung Kai Properties.

"Customers will benefit from Open Platform's groundbreaking technology combined with Citibank's renowned service and credit card security," said William Lo, Citibank Global Consumer Banking's chief executive officer for Hong Kong.

Sami Baghdadi, vice president of Gemplus, which delivered the first 20,000 cards last month, said the deployment of its GemXpresso 210 technology three months after it was announced "demonstrates the maturity of the technology and how fast applications can be developed.

The dream of the Java open operating system for multiapplication cards has arrived."

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