Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) is a statutory public corporation wholly owned by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, with senior Government officials being the Chairman and Members of its Managing Board.
KCRC' forerunner was a Government Department and had operated the first railway line in Hong Kong since 1910. It had witnessed the transformation from steam to diesel trains in the 1960s. The early 1980s saw the full electrification and double-tracking of the KCR railway line and the modernization of railway stations. In 1982, the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation Ordinance was enacted to turn the Government Department into a statutory public corporation of Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation to operate the railway on a prudent commercial basis.
Since 1982, KCRC had developed into a major railway corporation operating several railway lines and a light rail network in Hong Kong. They included the current East Rail Line being the original KCR line (1910), a light rail network in North West New Territories (1988), West Rail Line (2003), Ma On Shan Line (2004), Tsim Sha Tsui Extension (2004) now being part of West Rail Line, and the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line (2007), with a total length of over 120 kilometers. Local feeder bus services were also operated. Through train passenger and freight services were run to many cities in Mainland China. By 2007, the average daily ridership in the KCRC rail and bus network reached 1.6 million passenger trips, and the figure has exceeded 2.4 million by mid-2014.
KCRC had also made its mark in the property market in Hong Kong. Its first property development project was completed in 1988. By 2007, the Corporation had completed eight property developments, with total residential and commercial floor areas of over one million square metres, while providing property management services to seven shopping and commercial facilities. KCRC was also the development agent of the Government for over ten property sites along the West Rail.
In December 2007, the Corporation granted a 50-year service concession to the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) to operate its railway lines, the latter having to pay to KCRC a fixed annual concession payment of HK$750 million, plus a variable annual concession payment based on gross revenue generated from the operation of KCRC's rail network and related business on a scale of increasing revenue-sharing percentages. KCRC properties including the development and management rights were also sold to MTR Corporation Limited.
In August 2018, the Corporation granted a ten-year service concession to MTRCL to operate the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL). In February 2020, the Corporation granted a two-year service concession to the MTRCL to operate Tuen Ma Line 1, which is the first phase of the Shatin to Central Link.
Nowadays, KCRC has mainly become a railway asset holder, with responsibility for monitoring that the MTRCL complies with the term of the service concession agreement. It is now an organization with only a few staff reporting to the Managing Board, generating gross revenue of over HK$3.5 billion and holding net assets of over HK$55.5 billion in 2019.