HONG KONG | 3-8 & 24-29 AUGUST 2015

GIFT’s first programme in the advanced city of Hong Kong included a field project which brought together two dozen young professionals from business, government and civil society. They applied their leadership skills in an experiential context to produce a business plan to develop 30-50 community-based sports hubs throughout Hong Kong. 

From the business sector to civil society, these diverse backgrounds...enable different ideas to blossom, dialogue to occur, and ultimately, cooperation and collaboration to take place.

Leo Chan |  Electronics Engineer | Electrical and Mechanical Services Department of the HKSAR Government

The experience was unlike traditional executive training and I can definitely leverage what I have learned in my career development.

Margaret Fung | Manager — Station Retail | MTR Corporation

The programme has been an incredible journey of self-discovery...inspiring us to take on more leading and engaging roles in our daily lives - with our families, workplace and society at large.

Yiksing Yeung | Senior Engineer | China Light and Power



Hong Kong is a global city and financial centre at the edge of the Pearl River Delta. A former British colony, Hong Kong operates under the “One Country, Two Systems” political structure: the city is exempt from Chinese legislation and taxation, and has full authority to guide its own economic and social development.

Hong Kong is overwhelmingly Chinese, but has significant non-Chinese populations that live in the city long-term. One “at-risk” population is Hong Kong’s South Asian minority, who lack the opportunities available to either the Chinese majority or the Western expatriate population. School dropout rates for South Asian minorities are double that of the rest of Hong Kong.

Unlike most economies, Hong Kong’s land is entirely owned by the Government. Land is not sold, but leased to private developers under long-term leases. Hong Kong has some of the highest property prices in the world, making the efficient use of land a constant problem for the HKSAR government.

(Photo from Wikimedia Commons, from users Base64 and CarolSpears)


Former Chief Secretary, Hong Kong SAR Government

Honorary Secretary General of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee.

Group Chief Executive and President, AIA Group


The World Health Organization recommends that every person do at least thirty minutes of exercise three times a week. 60% of the world’s population fails to achieve this. In Hong Kong, that number is 83%.

A survey by the Hong Kong Institute for Education found that 73% of respondents never watched local sports, and 58% expressed no interest in local sports whatsoever. 

Public sports facilities are large, expansive and affordable, but there are not enough to meet demand. For example, official guidelines state that the district of Yuen Long needs nine complexes to cover its large population; it has six.

Private sports clubs are well-maintained, but their high admission and membership fees make them inaccessible for the vast majority of Hong Kong’s population.

However, there are many sports organizations in Hong Kong that aim to provide access to sports for Hong Kong’s less privileged populations. 

The Shaheen Hockey Club is a first-division hockey club in Hong Kong. Many of its athletes come from ethnic minority backgrounds, and have played in the Asian Games and other international sporting competitions.

The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union manages rugby in Hong Kong, including a territory-wide rugby division, the national team, and the Hong Kong International Rugby Sevens, perhaps Hong Kong’s most prominent sporting event.

Operation Breakthrough was launched by the Tuen Mun District Police Force in 1996. Youth are mentored and coached by police officers, professional coaches, and volunteers. Participants report higher self-esteem and are better integrated with society.

Noncommercial land presents a huge opportunity to construct affordable and necessary community facilities, putting unused land towards a social purpose. 

The Hong Kong Government makes non-commercial land available in short-term tenancies at nominal rates. Some private developers, such as the Link REIT, have also made spaces available for community purposes, such as the Link Community Sports Academy and the Wong Tai Sin Football Park, placed on top of a parking garage.


Shaheen engages in many sports programmes targeting the community, including training in coaching, umpiring, and videography alongside its youth training programmes.Shaheen engages in many sports programmes targeting the community, including training in coaching, umpiring, and videography alongside its youth training programmes.

Shaheen is currently building a facility on a small site in Woosung Street in Yau Ma Tei. The Hong Kong Government offered an unused “sitting-out” area to Shaheen for a nominal rate under its Short-Term Tenancy scheme. 

The modular design uses old shipping containers to build a mini-hockey pitch, changing rooms, office space and a small gym.



The GLP uses real-world field projects to hone the practical skills needed to manage diverse teams in unfamiliar situations. Through meetings partners, investors, community and business leaders, and through frank and open discussions, participants are invited to question their assumptions, learn to navigate conflicting and contradictory views, and to transform concepts and theories into realities on the ground. 

The proposed SportLight Trust will fund the construction of 30-50 sports hubs throughout Hong Kong, and select operators to run affordable and community-based sports programmes. 

Below are a few excerpted slides from the full report.

The SportLight Trust helps to overcome the information costs faced by individual sports associations in finding public and private space. Sports associations may not have the resources to find noncommercial land and put together a proposal; by acting as the middleman between landowners and sports associations, SportLight can handle these costs.

There is no reason why a similar structure could not support other social and community activities. A similar management trust can help fund a network of community-based theaters, studios, libraries, or recreation centers built on vacant and noncommercial land. 

The participants presented their findings and recommendations to a crowd of government, business and civil society leaders at Olympic House. 

For more information about the 2015 Hong Kong Young Leaders Programme, or about the Hong Kong Young Leaders Programme in general, please write to us at