Plans to build Hong Kong’s first Chinese-medicine hospital in Tseung Kwan O took a step forward on Friday when the government began the search for an operator.

The government hopes to identify up to four applicants, which will then be invited to a tendering exercise tentatively scheduled for mid-2020. The hospital is expected to open in 2024.

Qualified NGOs must have at least ten years of experience in providing and managing Chinese-medicine services.

According to the plan, the hospital will offer a combination of subsidised in-patient and out-patient services.

Under a public-private partnership model, the government would offer capital investment for construction as well as recurrent funding for delivery of subsidised services, training and research.

The Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, said the government is committed to the development of Chinese medicine in Hong Kong.