EDITORIAL hkfp banner ribbon top

Hong Kong Free Press celebrates seven years online on Wednesday, publishing almost 22,000 news and commentary pieces since our launch, and raising over HK$25 million to fund non-profit, impartial, independent journalism.

As the city’s most transparent news outlet, guided by an Ethics Code, we are externally audited each year and publish details of our finances every January. Today, we are publishing an early update of our 2022 income and spending…

Our yet-to-be-confirmed report, detailing our income and spending, shows that we made a loss of just over HK$46,000 in the first five months of 2022, as costs rose and income dipped.

Unconfirmed HKFP accounts for 2022.
Unverified HKFP accounts for 2022. *January’s uncategorised expenses are merch purchases.

Our number of monthly supporters dipped by 1.2 per cent in 2022, with 1,037 Patrons contributing HK$204,063 per month.

HKFP is powered by the kind support of our monthly Patrons. When you contribute to our newsroom, every cent is put to careful use and goes directly towards frontline journalism and original reporting. Download a copy of our latest Annual Report.

We have rapidly expanded since December, hiring four new staff members, including an editor and multimedia reporter. This has allowed us to invest in video, photography, court reporting and data journalism. Our 2022 expansion represents our largest full-time team yet.

hkfp team
(Back row) Reporter Peter Lee, Reporter Kelly Ho, Multimedia Reporter Lea Mok, Editor-in-chief Tom Grundy, Associate Editor Mercedes Hutton. (Front row) Reporter Almond Li, Reporter Hillary Leung, Reporter Candice Chau.

In turn, our payroll, insurance and office rent costs rose, whilst web hosting costs are set to rise by 60 per cent this year. HKFP is predicted to make a loss of up to HK$250,000 in 2022, but is able to reinvest its previous surplus.

Current revenue streams:

  • Reader contributions: includes one-off and monthly Patron contributions by cheque/transfer, PayPal and card, as well as merch sales profit and shopping referral links.
  • Ads & content sales: includes ad income from display ads; Apple News & Facebook ads, Google/YouTube ads, directly purchased rate card ads and content sales [from media outlets such as The Guardian, institutions and syndication partners LexisNexis, Dow Jones Factiva & Nordot].
HKFP income
Not-for-profit, run by journalists and completely independent, the HKFP team relies on readers to keep us going and to help safeguard press freedom.

Surplus recycled: As a non-profit, with no shareholders or investors, HKFP’s surplus was recycled back into the company for use in 2021. As of 2021, HKFP is retaining a HK$1.5m legal defence fund in light of new threats to press freedom.

Efficiency: HKFP is run as efficiently and prudently as possible, in order to maximise the impact of our donors’ generosity. We make savings by partnering with other media outlets, using free software and making full use of teamwork and automation to save on costs.

Staffing: During 2020, we employed 5-6 full-time staff members and expanded our pool of freelancers. We spent 72% of our income on paying our hard-working staff and freelancers.

HKFP Patrons: HKFP relies on a membership model. Small amounts of income from a large pool of Patrons helps support our team, sustain our operations with more security, and guarantee our independence.

Reader growth:

HKFP has seen audience growth across all platforms since January.

hkfp income

Our Instagram following rose 14 per cent as we rebranded this year, whilst we also redesigned our free, weekly newsletter last month.

Top marks for credibility:

HKFP was reassessed against the NewsGuard initiative’s credibility and transparency criteria in February, scoring top marks. NewsGuard lists green or red credibility scores for over 4,000 news websites, representing 95 per cent of all online news engagement. The initiative is run by journalists and is part of a global fightback against misinformation, unreliable content and fake news. 

HKFP received a green rating and a trust score of 100 out of 100.

100 per cent independent, governed by an ethics code and not-for-profit, HKFP is #PressingOn with its impartial, award-winning coverage, achieving top marks for credibility. Founded in 2015, we are backed by readers and run by journalists – there is no tycoon, no shareholders and no Chinese conglomerate behind us – no-one edits our editors.

Press freedom

On World Press Freedom Day on Tuesday, Hong Kong plummeted 68 places to 148th in the Reporters Without Borders 2022 Press Freedom Index – the largest fall of any territory. In 2002, the city was ranked 18th.

Since the onset of the security law in 2020, newsrooms have been raided, editors arrested, and outlets have disbanded in fear, all whilst the authorities said press freedom was intact.

hong kong media landscape

At least six news outlets have disappeared since June 2020. Read our full timeline here.

HKFP's new office
HKFP’s new office in Kennedy Town. Photo: HKFP.

With our impartial stancetransparent funding, and balanced coverage guided by an Ethics Code and Corrections Policy, we believe we have staying power, for as long as readers continue to support our work.

The 2022 HKFP Team

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Tom Grundy

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.

Headshot mercedes hutton hkfp

Mercedes Hutton

Mercedes is a Hong Kong-based British journalist with an interest in environmental and social issues. She has written for the Guardian and the BBC and previously worked at the South China Morning Post.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.

Headshot candice chau hkfp

Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.

hillary leung hkfp headshot

Hillary Leung

Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly – including on Hong Kong’s 2019 protests – for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.

Almond Li

Almond Li

Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.

Headshot lea mok hkfp

Lea Mok

Lea Mok is a multimedia reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously contributed to StandNews, The Initium, MingPao and others. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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YouTube video
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Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.