After all, who wants to pass favors for a paper trail of fiat debt notes?
Imagine you’re a businessman in Xian who needs some silly permit, and you have to grease a local bureaucrat. It would be untoward to deliver a suitcase full of cash… especially these days with all the internal scrutiny from the Bo Xilai incident.
So now what business people seem to be doing is minting solid gold business cards. When they want to bribe an official, they schedule a meeting, and hand them a business card or six. It’s so innocuous, nobody really notices.
For the bureaucrat, it’s much simpler to travel with a few ‘gold cards’ than cash. And Hong Kong is an easy place to store a collection of such cards… or even melt them down into other forms.