MTR Corporation Limited (Chinese: 香港鐵路有限公司; literally: "Hong Kong Railway Corporation Limited") is a Hong Kong company listed on the Hong Kong Exchange, and a component of Hang Seng Index. MTR runs Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR), and is also a major property developer and landlord in Hong Kong. It also invests in railways in different parts in the world, and has obtained contracts to operate rapid transit systems in London, Stockholm, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Melbourne, and Sydney.


The Mass Transit Railway Corporation (Chinese: 地下鐵路公司) was established in 22nd September 1972 as a government-owned statutory corporation to build and operate a mass transit railway system to meet Hong Kong's public transport needs. On 30 June 2000 the MTRC was succeeded by the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL, Chinese: 地鐵有限公司). As with the MTRC, the MTRCL's principal business is to operate the mass transit railway system. Following a successful initial public offering, the MTRCL was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 5 October 2000, however the government is still the major stakeholder in the MTRCL.


On 11 September 2000, the Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Government, Mr Donald Tsang, announced the partial privatisation of MTR Corporation Limited.[1] The offering was for one billion shares, but this was increased to 1.15 billion due to high demand.[2] On 5 October 2000, the company was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with 600,000 shareholders. In June 2001, MTR was added to the Hang Seng Index.

At the time of the initial public offering, the company was operating with a budget surplus of HK$360 million ($46.1 million), which had increased from a surplus of HK$278 million ($35.6 million) in 1997. The MTR has continued to be one of the few profitable public transport systems in the world.[3]

MTR-KCR merger

Railway network after merger
Ticket gates at key interchange stations have been removed one year after the merger

There had been some discussion of merging the Kowloon–Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), which was also government-owned, and the MTR to make the territory's transport system more efficient. The MTRCL backed such a merge while the KCRC opposed the plan. In March 2004, the Hong Kong Government officially encouraged the two companies to merge.

On 11 April 2006, the Hong Kong Government officially announced the details of the proposed merger. Under the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding the Government has signed with KCRC, KCRC would grant a Service Concession to the MTRCL to operate the Kowloon–Canton Railway (KCR) system, with an initial period of 50 years. The KCRC would receive a one-time upfront payment of HK$4.25 billion, a fixed annual payment of HK$750 million and a variable annual payment based on revenues generated from operation of the KCR system. In addition, MTRCL would make a payment of $7.79 billion for the acquisition of property and other related commercial interests.[4]

The railway lines the KCRC operated were less profitable than the MTRC, and the KCRC was less active in property development. It was widely considered that the Government's choice was to avoid being criticised for selling assets of the KCRC, which it wholly owned to MTRCL at an underpriced level. Leasing the operation right of the KCR system to the MTRCL could avoid actually selling the KCRC.

On 2 December 2007, the Chinese name of the MTRCL was changed to 香港鐵路有限公司[5] (literal translation: Hong Kong Railway Corporation Limited) after being granted the Service Concession while the English name will remain unchanged.[6][7] The KCRC is now a holding company of the KCR system, without actual railway operations. The merger was approved by shareholders of the MTRCL on 9 October 2007. The merger is effective for 50 years. This also resulted in changing the system's Chinese name from "地鐵" ("Subway") to "港鐵" "(Hong Kong Railway").

All adult Octopus Card holders would be the first to benefit from the merger.[8] Student and Concessionary Octopus holders would also benefit from the merger by further reducing $0.1 from their 50% off fares.[9] Student Octopus holders would continue to pay the current reduced concessionary fares on the MTR network. Elderly Octopus holders would be introduced to a new fare system which only the elderly can enjoy a $2 fare to anywhere on the MTR network (excluding Airport Express, Light Rail, and Cross-Boundary Stations).[10]

Operations by market

Hong Kong

World Wide House, built by the MTR Corporation Limited.

MTR Corporation is responsible for the operation of MTR (and the Kowloon–Canton Railway since 2 December 2007). The rail lines are profitable, but the MTR Corporation derives most of its profits from property development (usually adjacent to railway stations) and other commercial activities in Hong Kong, including the letting of retail and poster advertising space, ATM banking facilities, and personal telecommunication services.

Rail services

Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is the rapid transit railway system in Hong Kong. Originally opened in 1979, the system now includes 221 km of rail with 155 stations, including 89 railway stations and 68 light rail stops. There are also several future projects of the MTR.

Property management

Property is one of the main businesses of the MTR generating most of the profits. In 2009 of a net profit of HK$7.3 billion, MTR made HK$3.55 billion from property and HK$2.12 billion from transport operations.[11] The MTR tries to develop suitable sites related to their new railway projects and their existing railway. For instance, the reclaimed land situated in West Kowloon that is owned by the MTR will be developed into an area with residential, office and retail space. Two of Hong Kong's largest banks, HSBC and the Bank of China are to have office towers there. Furthermore, will be more than 7,000 housing units in the development. The MTR also owns several shopping centres, as well as the International Finance Centre.

Shopping centres

The MTR Corporation invested heavily to develop large-scale shopping centres around MTR stations. The most recent example is the PopCorn mall located at Tseung Kwan O station. It is connected to the adjacent malls, high-end housing and hotels. Another example of such a shopping centre is Maritime Square (青衣城) located at Tsing Yi station. Maritime Square is a nautical-themed mall in which there are supermarkets, boutiques, bookstores, a cinema, and restaurants. Since Tsing Yi station serves as the transportation hub for Tsing Yi, Maritime Square is also easily accessible by other transportation means including buses and taxis. Other shopping centres developed and managed by the corporation include Elements, Paradise Mall, Telford Plaza, Luk Yeung Galleria and The Lane.

United Kingdom

MTR Crossrail logo

Current operations

  • TfL Rail (Elizabeth line from 2018): In May 2015, MTR Crossrail commenced an eight-year contract to operate the Crossrail concession, with an option for a further two years.[12] TfL Rail currently operates the Liverpool Street to Shenfield "metro" service. In May 2018, TfL Rail will take over the stopping service (currently known as Heathrow Connect) from Paddington (mainline station) to Heathrow Airport. In December 2018 there will be a new service from Paddington (Elizabeth line station) to Abbey Wood via central London. All three services will be re-branded as the Elizabeth line in December 2018 and a full through service will operate from December 2019.

Possible future operations

In June 2017 MTR in a joint venture with Guangshen Railway Company was shortlisted to bid for the West Coast Partnership franchise to commence in 2019.[14][15]

Former operations

Unsuccessful or withdrawn bids


MTR Nordic is a subsidiary of MTR Corporation UK. MTR Nordic has four subsidiaries, including MTR Express.

In January 2009, Tunnelbanan Teknik Stockholm, a 50/50 joint venture between MTR and Mantena, was awarded the contract to operate the Stockholm Metro. The contract is for eight years with an option to extend for another six years. MTR started operating the metro on 2 November 2009.[28][29] In September 2015 the six-year extension was granted.[30] In January 2016, MTR bought out its joint venture partner.[31][32]

On 21 March 2015, MTR began operating fast long distance traffic between Stockholm and Gothenburg with own ticket sales using the brand name MTR Express.[33][34] It has purchased six Stadler Flirt electric multiple units.[35]

MTR has been the operator of Stockholm commuter rail network since December 2016. The contract is for 10 years with an option to extend for another four years.[36]


In June 2009, the Metro Trains Melbourne consortium of MTR (60%), John Holland and United Rail (20% each) were selected to operate the Melbourne suburban railway network, taking over from Connex Melbourne on 30 November 2009.[37] In September 2016, the government opened negotiations with Metro Trains Melbourne to extend the contract for seven years until November 2024.[38][39]

In June 2014, Northwest Rapid Transit, a consortium consisting of MTR (60%), John Holland, Leighton Contractors, Plenary Group and UGL Rail, was selected as the preferred operator to deliver the Sydney North West Rail Link operations contract.[40][41] The North West Rail Link (now renamed Sydney Metro Northwest) is scheduled to open in 2019.[42]

Mainland China

Beijing MTR Corporation Limited
MTR Corporation (Shenzhen) Limited
Hangzhou MTR Corporation Limited
Public company
Industry Transport, property
Founded Beijing (16 January 2006 (2006-01-16))
Shenzhen (1 July 2010 (2010-07-01))
Hangzhou (6 September 2012 (2012-09-06))
Headquarters (Beijing, Shenzhen, & Hangzhou), China
Area served
Beijing, Shenzhen, Hangzhou
Website Beijing MTR Corporation
MTR Corporation (Shenzhen)
Hangzhou MTR Corporation


The company has also formed a joint-venture Beijing MTR Corporation Limited (49%) with Beijing Capital Group ("BCG") (49%) and the Beijing Infrastructure Investment Co ("BIIC") (2%) to build and operate for 30 years Line 4, Daxing Line, Line 14, and Line 16[43] of the Beijing Subway.


The company concluded initials concession agreement to build phase 2 of the Line 4 of the Shenzhen Metro, and to operate the whole line on a BOT basis for 30 years from 1 July 2010. The phase 2 of Line 4 have been in operation for passengers since 16 June 2011.


The company formed a new joint-venture Hangzhou MTR with Hangzhou Metro Group in 2012 to operate Line 1 of the Hangzhou Metro for 28 years, in which MTR holds 49% of the stock, while Hangzhou Metro Group holds the other 51% of the stock.

See also


  1. ^ "MTR Privatisation Share Offer (NOT for distribution outside Hong Kong)" (Press release). Hong Kong SAR Government. 11 September 2000. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  2. ^ "Executive Management's Report - Business Overview" (PDF). Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  3. ^ "How Hong Kong's subway turns a $2 billion annual profit". CNN. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "Press Release: Government has reached understanding with MTRCL on the terms for merging the MTR and KCR systems". Hong Kong SAR Government. 11 April 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2007. 
  5. ^ "Rail Merger Bill" (PDF). Legislation Council of the Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved 8 November 2007. 
  6. ^ "Appointments announced for post-merger MTR Corporation Limited" (Press release). Hong Kong Government. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2007.  (Comparing with the Chinese version)
  7. ^ "Rail Merger Bill to be introduced into Legco (English name remain MTR)" (Press release). Hong Kong Government. 8 June 2006. Retrieved 15 November 2007.  (Comparing with the Chinese version)
  8. ^ Railway Merger Proposal in Hong Kong Gets Green Light, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in United States.
  9. ^ Fact Sheet (Eng), Merger of the MTR and KCR systems.
  10. ^ Elders ride on the MTR on Sundays and public holidays for just $2 for the whole journey.
  11. ^ Ng, Jeffery (9 March 2010). "MTR Posts 16% Rise in Profit, Plans to Offer 5,000 Apartments". The Wall Street Journal. 
  12. ^ "MTR selected to operate Crossrail services". Railway Gazette International. 18 July 2014. 
  13. ^ FirstGroup and MTR welcome South Western rail franchise award London Stock Exchange 27 March 2017
  14. ^ West Coast Partnership and South Eastern rail franchise bidders Department for Transport 22 June 2017
  15. ^ Three shortlisted for West Coast Partnership franchise Railway Gazette International 22 June 2017
  16. ^ "MTR Laing wins London Overground" Railway Gazette International July 2007 page 408
  17. ^ Four bidders shortlisted for London Overground operating concesssion Railway Gazette International 29 June 2015
  18. ^ TfL announces Overground Shortlist Railnews 30 June 2015
  19. ^ Arriva wins £1.5bn London Overground contract BBC News 18 March 2016
  20. ^ Transport for London announces intention to award London Overground contract to Arriva Arriva 18 March 2016
  21. ^ "GNER joins Hong Kong's MTR to bid for new Kent rail franchise" Rail Magazine issue 502 8 December 2004 page 6
  22. ^ "MTR pulls out of West Midlands bid" The Railway Magazine issue 1269 January 2007 page 6
  23. ^ "Foreign bids for Metro contract". BBC News. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  24. ^ "ScotRail franchise shortlist named". BBC News. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2009. 
  25. ^ East Japan Railway on West Midlands franchise shortlist Railway Gazette International 7 April 2016
  26. ^ "MTR withdraws from West Midlands bidding"Modern Railways issue 815 August 2016 page 21
  27. ^ Wales & Borders bidders asked to propose Metro options Railway Gazette International 13 October 2016
  28. ^ "Hongkong-bolag vann t-banekontrakt värt 36 miljarder (Swedish)". E24.se. 20 January 2009. 
  29. ^ "Hong Kong operator in Stockholm" The Railway Magazine issue 1296 April 2009 page 93
  30. ^ MTR's Stockholm metro contract extended Railway Gazette International 29 September 2015
  31. ^ MTR Brings Stockholm Metro Rolling Stock Maintenance Fully in House MTR 25 January 2016
  32. ^ MTR to take full ownership of Stockholm Metro in Sweden Rail Technology 27 January 2016
  33. ^ Home MTR Express
  34. ^ MTR launches open access inter-city service Railway Gazette International 23 March 2015
  35. ^ MTR Express orders Flirts for Stockholm-Goteborg open access service Railway Gazette International 13 November 2013
  36. ^ MTR to operate Stockholm Pendeltåg Railway Gazette International 9 December 2015
  37. ^ New train, tram operators for Melbourne The Age 25 June 2009
  38. ^ "Full steam ahead: Government offers Metro and Yarra Trams contract extensions" The Age 29 September 2016
  39. ^ Victorian government begins negotiations with Metro Trains Melbourne and Yarra Trams for new contracts Urbanlyst 2 October 2016
  40. ^ Major milestones reached on North West Rail Link as preferred operator selected Archived 6 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine., Transport for New South Wales, Retrieved 24 June 2014
  41. ^ Sydney Metro North West MTR
  42. ^ Project Overview Sydney Metro
  43. ^ website of Beijing MTR Corporation Limited Archived 6 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine.

External links

MTR Properties and MTR Property Management