Residents of Hong Kong and Macau are flocking to apply for a new smart ID card which the government says will give them – and residents of the self-ruled Taiwan – access to services in the Chinese mainland.Beijing announced last month that people from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan who had been living, working or studying on the mainland for at least six months would be able to apply for the new smart cards. The cards will give holders almost the same rights as mainlanders in accessing 18 types of schemes and services.However, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council has branded the scheme a "political ploy" to belittle the self-ruled island.The new card is embedded with a readable chip and can serve as a form of identification for social insurance, housing funds, financial services as well as public services such as education and transportation.Previously Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan residents living in the Chinese mainland were issued a travel permit that do not always allow a convenient verification of their ID, especially when it comes to accessing digital applications and public services, as these platforms can only recognize the 18-digit ID of mainland residents.