AI as a digital asset

Hong Kong: Study on Fostering Consumer Trust - Ethical AI

Latest developments

On 8 September 2022, the Consumer Council (the Council) published its first study on the use of AI in e-commerce in Hong Kong (the Study) with an aim to promote responsible and ethical AI in e-commerce, and possibly pave the way for a local AI governance framework.


The Study focuses on business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce and is comprised of: (i) a quantitative online consumer survey; (ii) review of e-commerce platforms among local consumers; (iii) interviews with major e-commerce traders, technology providers and industry experts in Hong Kong; (iv) research on relevant guidelines and initiatives on the use of AI in 10 selected jurisdictions; and (v) review of consumer cases. The Council identified a number of key concerns as follows:

  • AI is a double-edged sword to consumers whose confidence could be enhanced through effective risk mitigation (including human oversight);
  • Consumers are unfamiliar with AI - they expect the right to know the risks they are facing and the right to choose whether to take the risks;
  • Accuracy and stability of AI tools;
  • A lack of, or inadequate, privacy policies of online stores that uses AI;
  • Inadequate support for industry practitioners to tackle challenges in talents, funding and data relating to AI; and
  • The lack of an integrated and holistic blueprint for local AI development and governance framework.

The Council recommended the following relevant to different stakeholders:

  • Traders to adopt the checklist of best practices to formulate company AI policy and governance;
  • Industry associations to establish a “Consumer Charter” to boost consumer confidence;
  • Consumers to follow tips to be smart when shopping online;
  • Government to nurture AI understanding of the public and traders; establish a holistic policy for AI development; and build a fair and competitive e-commerce market.

How could it be relevant for you?

The Study identified the urgent need for e-commerce traders to adopt good trade practices when using AI. Operators of e-commerce platforms should also review their respective privacy policies. Trade associations could also consider establishing a “Consumer Charter” for traders to follow, hence protecting consumers.

Next steps

The Hong Kong Government is actively promoting digital transformation and AI development. In line with the increasing international regulatory momentum on AI, the Study recommended that Hong Kong can reference the experiences and approaches of other jurisdictions and expedite the development of a cross- sectoral approach to regulate AI in Hong Kong.

*Information is accurate up to 27 November 2023

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