Former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah spent a total of HK$10.17 million (US$1.3 million) on his unsuccessful chief executive election campaign, with more than half of the money spent on advertisements.
Campaign expenditure figures submitted to the Registration and Electoral Office showed that Tsang spent less than the victorious candidate, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, during the race for Hong Kong’s top job.
Lam, the former chief secretary, spent HK$12.58 million for the election, according to the declarations of donations and expenses submitted by the chief executive candidates.
The election spending of the top two candidates was well under the HK$15.7 million ceiling set by the government for such expenditure, according to the declarations of donations and expenses submitted by the chief executive candidates.
Of Tsang’s expenditure, HK$5.49 million, or more than 50 percent, went to election advertisements, beating that spent on the category by the other candidates, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
A breakdown of the spending showed that Tsang mostly opted for online channels to promote his campaign, although he also put up a number of large campaign billboards along rail routes as well as at Star Ferry Pier, the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and the Tseung Kwan O Tunnel.
Data showed he spent more than HK$2.35 million on his personal website as well as other social media, including Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, to promote himself.
Secret Tour, the company he hired to help him in the campaign, is estimated to have earned more than HK$2 million.
Tsang’s declarations show that the internet, apart from being used a lot for his campaign efforts, also served as the main tool for him to raise funds.
Through online crowd-funding, Tsang had raised nearly HK$5.5 million from small donations that were defined as one no more than HK$1,000.
Small contributions accounted for about 36 percent of the total donations of HK$15.3 million that Tsang received.
Comparatively, small donations made to Lam amounted to only HK$150,000, out of the total of nearly HK$18.7 million raised by her.
It is clear that contributions by ordinary citizens helped Tsang a lot in terms of financial backing since he did not have as much support as Lam from big donors.
Tsang received HK$9.84 million from 200 donations involving contributions of more than HK$1,000, compared to more than HK$18.54 million that Lam secured from 227 donations of the same kind.
The biggest single donation made to Tsang’s campaign was HK$950,000, which was jointly from four companies registered under Liberal Party honorary chairman James Tien Pei-chun and his family.
Thomas Wu, managing director of Hopewell Holdings, was the only big contributor to Tsang from the real estate industry.
As for personal expenditures, the amount for Tsang was HK$55,000, most of which was spent on improving his skills to handle media and debates, compared to Lam’s HK$4,180.
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