Complexities and Challenges
in Regulating ‘Sharing Economy’
Legislative Councillor (IT)
2019-2-23 @ HKU MPA sharing
Peer-to-peer (P2P) based activity of acquiring, providing or
sharing access to goods and services that are facilitated
by a community based on-line platform that allows
individuals and groups to make money from underused
assets - physical assets are shared as services
▰ Are my ride-hailing trips covered by insurance?
▰ Will I be safe in a short-term rental apartment?
▰ What if I got food poisoning from a meal with
amateur home chef?
▰ Who can I seek help from if things go south with
Lack of clarity and certainty
Who should be held responsible for problems that might
arise when entering into a transaction?
Responsibilities of each party involved in transactions are
not usually well defined
Drivers, hosts, gig-economy workers get
extra income, but are they ‘employees’,
‘partners’ or ‘contractors’?
Under the current law, premises that offer sleeping accommodation for a fee for a period of
less than 28 days must be licensed.
Hotel and Guesthouse Accommodation (Amendment) Bill:
the Authority would be empowered to crack down on short-term home
rentals and unlicensed hotels and guest houses.
▰ Strict liability offence: owners of premises will be criminally liable if there was
evidence showing their flats were used for the illegal trade without a statutory
▰ Maximum fines for operating unlicensed guest houses would be increased from
HK$200,000 to HK$500,000 and imprisonment increased from two years to three
▰ search warrant to allow officers to break into and raid flats suspected of being
unlicensed holiday rentals.
HK: tougher law on
“Innovation vs Disruption?
Besides banning ‘Sharing Economy’ …
what are the alternative approaches?
1. Studying its impacts, costs and benefits in more detail
2. Introduce compliance requirements and regulatory obligations
3. Level the playing field with existing industries
4. Engage the public to determine the way forward