Under this service a person who wishes to obtain a reply from an overseas client without putting him to the expense of paying postage may enclose in his communication an unstamped International Business Reply item in the form of an envelope or a card of a prescribed design. The client can post the International Business Reply item by airmail service in the ordinary way, but without stamp; and the addressee will pay the charges for all the replies he receives.
In the reverse direction, a member of the public may post an International Business Reply item originating from abroad back to the sender by airmail service without stamp if Hongkong Post provides International Business Reply service to the country concerned.
The service comes with the following features:
- Before any person uses International Business Reply service to obtain replies from his overseas clients, a licence must be obtained from the Postmaster General.
- In other respects an International Business Reply item will be subject to the general regulations relating to the letter post, except that they cannot be redirected after delivery at the business reply address, and if re-transmitted, must be enclosed in a cover and postage prepaid.
- The official redirection of International Business Reply item will be undertaken for a maximum period of three months.
- An International Business Reply item can only be posted through ordinary mail service to the licensee and cannot be registered or insured. If they are tendered for registration or insurance, they will be treated as ordinary postal items and charged the normal postage plus the appropriate registration fee etc.
- Where the charges for International Business Reply items exceed of $100 per delivery, the licensee will be required to collect the items and pay the charges at the designated post office.
- International Business Reply service is available to United Kingdom, Singapore, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and Japan.
A fee of $6 (including $0.7 handling fee) is charged for each International Business Reply item delivered
Design of International Business Reply Item
Three completed printed proofs of the International Business Reply items must be forwarded to the Postmaster General for approval. They must conform to the following design and regulations. Hongkong Post approval is required not only for the initial supply but also for subsequent supplies where the layout differs in any way from the original supply.
- The minimum permitted size of an International Business Reply item in the form of an envelope is 140 mm in length and 90 mm in width; and the maximum permitted size is 5 mm in thickness, 235 mm in length and 120 mm in width. The maximum weight limit of a letter posted by means of an International Business Reply envelope is 50g.
- An International Business Reply item in the form of a card must not be less than 0.25 mm thick. The minimum permitted size is 140 mm in length and 90 mm in width. The maximum permitted size is 235 mm in length and 120 mm in width. For Japan, the maximum permitted size is 148 mm in length and 105 mm in width. The card must be made of cardboard heavy enough to be sufficiently stiff to withstand mail processing.
- In the top right-hand corner the words “NE PAS AFFRANCHIR” and “NO STAMP REQUIRED” must be printed bilingually together with the symbol of the postage stamp with a bold diagonal line superimposed.
- An airmail indication with the words “Par avion” and “By air mail” must be printed bilingually in the top left-hand corner.
- The International Business Reply Service licence number must be printed below the airmail indication in the top left-hand corner.
- Above the address, two solid horizontal bars must be printed. Each bar must be at least 3 mm thick, and the bars must be at least 14 mm apart. Between the bars there must be printed two lines of text. On the first line must be printed the words “RÉPONSE PAYÉE” and “REPLY PAID” in a bilingual manner. On the second line must be printed the words “HONG KONG”. Both lines of text between the horizontal bars must be printed in capital letters.
- The name and full postal address of the licensee must be printed in types of the same size below the two horizontal bars.
- The address on the International Business Reply item must be arranged in correct sequence. Reference numbers and extraneous information, such as ‘For the attention of’ etc. should not be placed below or within the last four lines of the address.
The recommended character size and pitch of the address lines are as follows :-
The recommended character size and pitch of the address lines
||2.80 mm – 5 mm
||2 mm – 3.50 mm
||4 characters per cm constant pitch.
- A space of not less than 40 mm must be left between the top edge and top of the first horizontal bar. A space of at least 15 mm from the bottom and left-hand edge, and 27 mm from the right-hand edge must also be left clear.
- Nothing other than the design, licence number and address may appear on the address side.
- The print on the International Business Reply item including the horizontal bars and address should preferably be printed in black but any deep colour (e.g. dark brown and dark blue), except red, orange, green or yellow, will be accepted provided that the print contrast signal is not less than 80%.
- The paper for an International Business Reply item must not be light blue or dark in colour. Light colour envelope is acceptable but white envelope is preferred. The envelope reflectance ratio should preferably be more than 60%.
- The flap of an International Business Reply item in the form of an envelope must be gummed.
Envelopes with tuck-in flaps may be used up to the following limits of size :-
- Not over 90 mm in depth – opening not over 150 mm in length
- Not over 100 mm in depth – opening not over 140 mm in length
- Over 100 mm in depth – opening not over 115 mm in length