SHANGHAI - Printing of China's first electronic passports began Friday in Shanghai with the production of official passports containing microchipped information.
The adoption of electronic official passports complied with international trends and played an important role in international travel for officials, said Huang Ping, director-general of the Department of Consular Affairs of China's Foreign Ministry, at a launch ceremony.
The ministry issues official passports, including service passports and passports for government officials traveling on state business and those working in state-owned enterprises.
The electronic passport features an electronic data storage chip that contains personal data including given name, family name, personal numeric code, the document's term of validity, the issuing body, and citizenship.
An electronic passport looks almost the same as a non-electronic one, but it has new digital encryption and printing technologies and is designed to foil forgers.
Shanghai Banknote Printing Co, Ltd. and Shanghai Mite Speciality & Precision Printing Co, Ltd. won the contract to print the electronic official passports.
The two companies will also print electronic private passports in the future, but the ministry gave no specific timetable.