Pope Francis has "created" 21 new cardinals at a ceremony in the Vatican.

There are now 137 cardinal electors, about 73% of them chosen by Francis.

This increases - but does not guarantee - the possibility that the next pope will share his vision for the church.

Eighteen of the 21 are under the age of 80. This means they can enter the conclave to elect the next pope following Francis' death or resignation.

The three elected cardinals who are over the age of 80 were given the honour because of their long service to the Church.

One significant appointment is that of Bishop Stephen Chow Sau-Yan of Hong Kong.

He is one of the major links to the Catholic Church in China, where the Vatican is trying to improve conditions for Catholics.

Today's ceremony at St Peter's Square was was the pope's ninth consistory since his election in 2013.

In the past decade, the percentage of Asian and African cardinal electors has grown while that of those from Europe has fallen.