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Office of the Secretary-General

​​​​​​​​​​Houlin Zhao: ITU Secretary-General


ITU Member States re-elected Houlin Zhao as ITU Secretary-General on 1 November 2018. He began his second, and last, four-year term on 1 January 2019.

Mr Zhao is​ an information and communication technology (ICT) engineer who has served in a variety of senior management positions at ITU.​

Prior to first being elected as ITU Secretary-General in 2014, Zhao served eight years as ITU Deputy Secretary-General, supporting the work of the Secretary-General, principally in terms of day-to-day management, including human resources, financial administration, improving efficiency, and working to help broaden ITU's membership, particularly in terms of academic institutions. He also served two elected terms as Director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), which develops technical standards to ensure worldwide ICT interoperability. Before that, he was a Senior Counsellor with TSB for 12 years. 

Born in 1950 in Jiangsu, China, Mr Zhao graduated from Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and holds an MSc in Telematics from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom.​ 

Latest News


Speeches by the Secretary-General are posted in the language delivered.
  • PP18: State of the Union Address

    29 October 2018, Dubai, UAE: Over the last four years, ITU has been at the forefront of this revolution. We’ve been working on issues ranging from artificial intelligence, smart cities, and digital currency to the Internet of Things, new television, and 5G standards. And we have facilitated ICT infrastructure development...

  • PP-18 Opening Ceremony

    ​​29 October 2018, Dubai, UAE: We are proud to return to Dubai, where ITU has held major successful events in the past such as WTSA-12, ITU Telecom World 2012, WCIT-12, and WTDC-14. Thank you to the United Arab Emirates for hosting PP-18 and working with us to make it the greenest, and one of the most successful Plenipotentiary Conferences, in our history. Thank you for all you are doing for ICT in the Arab world, the region, and beyond...

  • ITU Telecom World 2018: Opening Ceremony
    ​​​10 September 2018, Durban, South Africa: ITU is honoured and proud today to bring one of our flagship events to a city, a country, and a continent on the cusp of a new digital era. I have fond memories of ITU Africa Telecom 98, which was held in Johannesburg. Twenty years later, we are very pleased to be back in South Africa and to be here in the magnificent city of Durban...