The holding, acquisition or exercise of voting control of a domestic free television programme service licensee by "unqualified" persons, i.e. persons not ordinarily resident in Hong Kong, is restricted in various ways by the Broadcasting Ordinance (BO). This is justified as such type of services has extensive reach and the potential to influence a large proportion of the population and as such, there is a need to ensure that such services remain firmly rooted in the hands of persons ordinarily resident in Hong Kong who are more likely to have the best interest of Hong Kong at heart.
The meaning of 'ordinarily resident in Hong Kong' is set out in section 2 of the BO. Prior approval of the CA is required for the holding, acquisition or exercise of voting control by an unqualified controller of more than 5% of a licensee. The exercise of voting control by unqualified controllers shall not exceed in aggregate, 49% of the total voting control of such licensee.
Under the Telecommunications Ordinance (TO), the aggregate of the voting shares that can be held by "unqualified" persons shall not exceed 49% of the total number of voting shares of a sound broadcasting licensee.