OOH Advertising Regulations in Hong Kong

If you are unsure about how to approach OOH advertisementsyou might find learning the OOH advertising regulations helpful as they explain what is permitted in ads and give concrete directions.

Nobody plays a board game without knowing the rules, so it is crucial for you to understand Hong Kong advertising law. Like television advertisements, OOH ads have regulations on the broadcasting and visuals of your ad. The regulations and conditions protect both your audience and your company so knowing the regulations can assist you in OOH advertising. If you find the regulations written too convoluted to read, here are a few main ideas in the Hong Kong advertising industry practice for OOH:

Hong Kong Advertising Sign Regulations

Hong Kong Advertising Law - Outdoor Advertising

In the implementation of OOH advertisements, we should consider the advertisements regulation under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132B, Sections 104 and 109) which expresses the following, which applies to all kinds of OOH advertisements:

  • You must not place or employ anyone to place advertise on private property or government property without the consent of the owner
  • You must not exhibit advertisements which would affect the scenery or beautiful local structures
  • For neon or other light sign advertisements, your advertisement must not disturb road traffic
  • If the Director of Fire Services notes that there is a serious risk of fire hazard in your light sign advertisement, you should remove your advertisement within 7 days of receiving the written notice.


Regarding highway advertisements, Cap 374Q. Road Traffic (Expressway) Regulations briefly mentions OOH advertisements:

  • You must not place OOH advertisements on or over expressways except with the written permission of the commission officer

Therefore, if you wish to advertise to drivers on the expressway, your advertisement should be on the side of the highway.


As for DOOH advertising, there are no specific regulations or laws on DOOH itself, and since they are broadcasting video clips or advertisements, the Broadcasting Ordinance Cap. 562 can be considered as the regulation for broadcasting DOOH ads:

  • No person or company should broadcast without a license
  • Content of the advertisement is subject to regulatory restrictions laid out in the Codes of Practices issued by the Broadcasting Authority 

Regulation on Visuals

Hong Kong Advertising Regulations

The Broadcasting Authority has issued "Codes of Practices" which prohibits certain visual directly and indirectly in an advertisement by licensed broadcast service, such visual includes:

  • Firearms and associated equipment
  • Fortune tellers (subject to certain exceptions)
  • Unlicensed employment services, registries, or bureaux
  • organisations, companies and/or persons seeking to advertise for the purpose of giving gambling tips
  • Betting (except for lotteries, football and horse race betting which are authorised by or under the Betting Duty Ordinance)
  • Adult entertainment and services
  • Night clubs, dance halls, massage palaces, sauna houses and such like
  • Escort services and dating agencies targeting young persons under the age of 18

The "Codes of Practices" also prohibits subliminal advertising of any kind on television channels, and this is also applicable to OOH advertising. 

Conditions by Sector of Activity

Hong Kong Advertising Law

1. Credit and Financial Products

Your advertisement must comply with all relevant and regulatory requirements stated in different ordinances and codes for investment products. Advertisements of the following also require compliance with the "Codes of Practices":

  • Deposit and saving facilities
  • Mortgage lending and credit
  • Advice about the stock market or investment products and regulated activities under the Securities and Futures Ordinance
  • Sale or letting advertisement for real estate property

2. Therapeutic Goods and Services

According to the Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, you should: 

  • Not advertise for sale of any drugs that are affected in quality, constitution, and potency from adding or removing any substances
  • Handle claims with care when regarding the nutrition or dietary effect of products when they are advertised as treatment for conditions which should be sought qualified medical attention or advice

In addition, the Undesirable Medical Advertisements Ordinance Cap231. prohibits advertisements that:

  • Are likely to lead people to use a medicine or treatment for certain diseases (including infectious diseases, venereal diseases, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular diseases)
  • Are related to abortion, unless it is published or written by the Director of Health in Hong Kong

Speaking of advertising medication, the Pharmacy and Poisons Regulation Cap138A. also states that:

  • A substance should not be advertised as a medicine unless it is properly labelled according to the statutory requirements

3. Food and Health Products

You should not:

  • Advertise the use of milk when separated milk, or any dried or condensed milk has been used in the production process
  • Falsely advertise the description of any food or drug that is likely to mislead people

4. Alcohol

Hong Kong Advertising Law

The Broadcast Codes of Practice states certain limitations to advertising alcohol such as:

  • Advertising of alcoholic beverages should only target adult audiences
  • No children or adolescents should be presented in advertisements for alcohol
  • The advertisements should not be shown in proximity to children’s programmes
  • The advertisements should not be shown in programmes that target young persons under the age of 18, which is determined by the Communications Authority
  • Portraying drinking as a desirable new experience or as indispensable to popularity and success is prohibited
  • Presenting alcoholic liquor as prizes or gifts in advertisements is prohibited

5. Tobacco

You should comply with provisions relating to tobacco advertisements under the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance Cap371., specific conditions include:

  • No tobacco advertisements should be displayed by either visual images, sound, or film at all
  • Advertisements containing any encouragement, suggestion, or request to purchase or smoke cigarettes or encourage the use of tobacco products are all prohibited
  • Advertisements discouraging the use of tobacco are allowed
  • Advertisements for tobacco-related products (e.g. cigarette holders, tobacco filters and other smoking accessories) should target only adult audiences, not allow the participation of children and adolescents, and not show the advertisement in proximity to children’s programs that target young persons under the age of 18

6. Gambling

Hong Kong Advertising Law - Gambling Ordinance

According to the Gambling Ordinance:

  • Advertisements facilitating bookmaking and betting-related services are prohibited
  • Advertising offshore bookmaking in Hong Kong is illegal

Betting is mostly prohibited unless they are authorised by the Betting Duty Ordinance, and are therefore subject to specific restrictions where the advertisements:

  • Cannot be shown between 4 pm and 8:30 pm
  • Must only target adult audiences
  • Should not depict the participation of children or adolescents
  • Must not feature anyone or characters that appeal to children or adolescents
  • Must not contain any statement or praise for those participating in lotteries of bettings
  • Must not speak ill of people who do not gamble
  • Should not mislead or exaggerate the chance of winning
  • Cannot teach or persuade the public to bet
  • Cannot feature excessive or reckless betting as an alternative to financial difficulties 

7. Lotteries

A "Code of Practice" is issued by the Secretary for Home Affairs on the conduct of football betting including:

  • Advertising for football betting or lotteries is prohibited near educational institutions and schools for people under 18.
  • OOH advertisements such as billboards cannot be placed directly adjacent to educational institutions and schools for people under 18

For sweepstake campaigns, the Gambling Ordinance only allows two situations in which gambling is permitted, which are:

  • There is a lottery license issued under strict conditions issued by the Secretary of Home Affairs, which is for charitable purposes
  • There is a license issued by the Licensing Office for holding sweepstake activities where a money prize is not present







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