East & Southeast Asia :: Hong Kong
(special administrative region of China)

Introduction ::Hong Kong

    Occupied by the UK in 1841, Hong Kong was formally ceded by China the following year; various adjacent lands were added later in the 19th century. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and the UK on 19 December 1984, Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. In this agreement, China promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system would not be imposed on Hong Kong and that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.

Geography ::Hong Kong

People and Society ::Hong Kong

Government ::Hong Kong

    conventional long form: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
    conventional short form: Hong Kong
    official long form: Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu
    official short form: Xianggang
    abbreviation: HK
    special administrative region of China
    limited democracy
    none (special administrative region of China)
    none (special administrative region of China)
    National Day (Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China), 1 October (1949); note - 1 July 1997 is celebrated as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day
    The Basic Law, approved March 1990 by China's National People's Congress, is Hong Kong's charter
    mixed legal system of common law based on the English model and Chinese customary law (in matters of family and land tenure)
    18 years of age in direct elections for half the legislature and a majority of seats in 18 district councils; universal for permanent residents living in the territory of Hong Kong for the past seven years; note - in indirect elections, suffrage is limited to about 220,000 members of functional constituencies for the other half of the legislature and an 1,200-member election committee for the chief executive drawn from broad sectoral groupings, central government bodies, municipal organizations, and elected Hong Kong officials
    chief of state: President of China HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003)
    head of government: Chief Executive LEUNG Chun-ying [C.Y.LEUNG] (since 1 July 2012)
    cabinet: Executive Council or ExCo consists of 15 official members and 16 non-official members
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: chief executive elected for five-year term by a 1,200-member election committee; on 25 March 2012 LEUNG Chun-ying [C.Y.LEUNG] was elected chief executive by a 1,193-member election committee; he took office on 1 July 2012; (next to be held in March 2017)
    note: the Legislative Council voted in June 2010 to expand the electoral committee to 1,200 seats for the 2012 selection
    election results: LEUNG Chun-ying was selected with 689 votes; Henry TANG received 285 votes, and Albert HO received 76 of the 1,132 votes cast; 82 ballots were deemed invalid; most were blank
    unicameral Legislative Council or LegCo (70 seats; 35 members indirectly elected by functional constituencies, 35 elected by popular vote; members serve four-year terms)
    note: the LegCo voted in June 2010 to expand to 70 seats for the 2012 election; the measure was approved by the National People's Congress Standing Committee in August 2010
    elections: last held on 9 September 2012 (next to be held in September 2016)
    election results: percent of vote by block - pro-democracy 56%; pro-Beijing 41%, independent 3%; seats by parties - (pro-Beijing 43) DAB 13, BRA 7, FTU 6, Liberal Party 5, others 10; (pro-democracy 27) Democratic Party 6, Civic Party 6, Labor Party 4, People Power 3, Professional Commons 3, League of Social Democrats 1, ADPL 1, PTU 1, Neo Democrats 1, NWSC 1; independent 1
    highest court(s): Court of Final Appeal (consists of the chief justice, 3 permanent judges and 20 non-permanent judges); note - a sitting bench consists of the chief justice and 3 permanent and 1 non-permanent judges
    judge selection and term of office: all judges appointed by the Hong Kong Chief Executive upon the recommendation of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission, an independent body consisting of the Secretary for Justice and other judges, judicial and legal professionals; permanent judges appointed until normal retirement at age 65, but can be extended; non-permanent judges appointed for renewable 3-year terms without age limit
    subordinate courts: High Court (consists of the Court of Appeal and Court of First Instance); District Courts (includes Family and Land Courts); magistrates' courts; specialized tribunals
    parties:
    Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood or ADPL [LIU Sung Lee]
    Business and Professional Alliance [Andrew LEUNG]
    Civic Party [EU Audrey]
    Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong or DAB [TAM Yiu-cheng]
    Democratic Party [Emily LAU]
    Labor Party [LEE Cheuk-yan]
    League of Social Democrats or LSD [LEUNG Kwok-hung]
    Liberal Party [Selina CHOW]
    Neo Democrats [joint leaders]
    New People's Party [Regina IP Lau Su-yee]
    People Power [Raymond WONG Yuk-man]
    others:
    Confederation of Trade Unions or CTU
    Federation of Trade Unions or FTU
    Neighborhood and Workers Service Center or NWSC
    Professional Commons (think tank) [Charles MOK]
    Professional Teachers Union or PTU
    note: political blocs include: pro-democracy - ADPL, Civic Party, Democratic Party, Labor Party, League of Social Democrats, People Power, Professional Commons; pro-Beijing - DAB, FTU, Liberal Party, New People's Party, The Business and Professional Alliance; there is no political party ordinance, so there are no registered political parties; politically active groups register as societies or companies
    Chinese General Chamber of Commerce (pro-China); Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong; Confederation of Trade Unions or CTU (pro-democracy) [LEE Cheuk-yan, general secretary]; Federation of Hong Kong Industries; Federation of Trade Unions or FTU (pro-China) [CHENG Yiu-tong, executive councilor]; Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China [LEE Cheuk-yan, chairman]; Hong Kong and Kowloon Trade Union Council (pro-Taiwan); Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce; Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union [FUNG Wai-wah, president]; Neighborhood and Workers' Service Center or NWSC [LEUNG Yiu-chung, LegCo member] (pro-democracy); Civic Act-up [Cyd HO Sau-lan, LegCo member] (pro-democracy)
    ADB, APEC, BIS, FATF, ICC (national committees), IHO, IMF, IMO (associate), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITUC (NGOs), UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCO, WTO
    none (special administrative region of China); Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) carries out normal liaison and communication with the US Government and other US entities
    representative: Donald TONG
    office: 1520 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
    telephone: [1] 202 331-8947
    FAX: [1] 202 331-8958
    HKETO offices: New York, San Francisco
    chief of mission: Consul General Clifford A. HART
    consulate(s) general: 26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
    mailing address: Unit 8000, Box 1, DPO AP 96521-0006
    telephone: [852] 2523-9011
    FAX: [852] 2845-1598
    red with a stylized, white, five-petal Bauhinia flower in the center; each petal contains a small, red, five-pointed star in its middle; the red color is the same as that on the Chinese flag and represents the motherland; the fragrant Bauhinia - developed in Hong Kong the late 19th century - has come to symbolize the region; the five stars echo those on the flag of China
    orchid tree flower
    note: as a Special Administrative Region of China, "Yiyonggjun Jinxingqu" is the official anthem (see China)

Economy ::Hong Kong

    Hong Kong has a free market economy, highly dependent on international trade and finance - the value of goods and services trade, including the sizable share of re-exports, is about four times GDP. Hong Kong levies excise duties on only four commodities, namely: hard alcohol, tobacco, hydrocarbon oil, and methyl alcohol. There are no quotas or dumping laws. Hong Kong's open economy left it exposed to the global economic slowdown that began in 2008. Although increasing integration with China, through trade, tourism, and financial links, helped it to make an initial recovery more quickly than many observers anticipated, it again faces a possible slowdown as exports to the Euro zone and US slump. The Hong Kong government is promoting the Special Administrative Region (SAR) as the site for Chinese renminbi (RMB) internationalization. Hong Kong residents are allowed to establish RMB-denominated savings accounts; RMB-denominated corporate and Chinese government bonds have been issued in Hong Kong; and RMB trade settlement is allowed. The territory far exceeded the RMB conversion quota set by Beijing for trade settlements in 2010 due to the growth of earnings from exports to the mainland. RMB deposits grew to roughly 9.1% of total system deposits in Hong Kong by the end of 2012, an increase of 59% from the previous year. The government is pursuing efforts to introduce additional use of RMB in Hong Kong financial markets and is seeking to expand the RMB quota. The mainland has long been Hong Kong's largest trading partner, accounting for about half of Hong Kong's exports by value. Hong Kong's natural resources are limited, and food and raw materials must be imported. As a result of China's easing of travel restrictions, the number of mainland tourists to the territory has surged from 4.5 million in 2001 to 34.9 million in 2012, outnumbering visitors from all other countries combined. Hong Kong has also established itself as the premier stock market for Chinese firms seeking to list abroad. In 2012 mainland Chinese companies constituted about 46.6% of the firms listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and accounted for about 57.4% of the Exchange's market capitalization. During the past decade, as Hong Kong's manufacturing industry moved to the mainland, its service industry has grown rapidly. Growth slowed to 5% in 2011, and less than 2% in 2012. Credit expansion and tight housing supply conditions caused Hong Kong property prices to rise rapidly and inflation to rise 4.1% in 2012. Lower and middle income segments of the population are increasingly unable to afford adequate housing. Hong Kong continues to link its currency closely to the US dollar, maintaining an arrangement established in 1983.
    $375.5 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    $370.1 billion (2011 est.)
    $353 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $263 billion (2012 est.)
    1.4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    4.9% (2011 est.)
    6.8% (2010 est.)
    $52,300 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 13
    $52,000 (2011 est.)
    $50,100 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    28.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    29.8% of GDP (2011 est.)
    30.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 64.7%
    government consumption: 9.1%
    investment in fixed capital: 26.4%
    investment in inventories: -0.4%
    exports of goods and services: 223.9%
    imports of goods and services: -223.6%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 0%
    industry: 7.1%
    services: 92.8% (2012 est.)
    fresh vegetables; poultry, pork; fish
    textiles, clothing, tourism, banking, shipping, electronics, plastics, toys, watches, clocks
    5.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    3.826 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    manufacturing: 4%
    construction: 2.7%
    wholesale and retail trade, restaurants, and hotels: 40.9%
    financing, insurance, and real estate: 12.5%
    transport and communications: 9.9%
    community and social services: 16.9%
    note: above data exclude public sector (2012 est.)
    3.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    3.4% (2011 est.)
    NA%
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    53.7 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    53.3 (2007)
    revenues: $58.15 billion
    expenditures: $49.79 billion (2012 est.)
    22.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    3.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    37.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    39% of GDP (2011 est.)
    1 April - 31 March
    4.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    5.3% (2011 est.)
    0.5% (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    0.5% (31 December 2011)
    5% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    5% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $177.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    $145.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.148 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    $1.033 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $714 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    $651.4 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $2.81 trillion (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    $2.24 trillion (31 December 2011)
    $2.711 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $6.4 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    $14.1 billion (2011 est.)
    $464.6 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    $436.5 billion (2011 est.)
    electrical machinery and appliances, textiles, apparel, footwear, watches and clocks, toys, plastics, precious stones, printed material
    China 54.1%, US 9.9%, Japan 4.2% (2012 est.)
    $487.4 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    $445.1 billion (2011 est.)
    raw materials and semi-manufactures, consumer goods, capital goods, foodstuffs, fuel (most is reexported)
    China 46.9%, Japan 8.4%, Taiwan 7.5%, South Korea 5%, US 4.7% (2012 est.)
    $317.4 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    $285.4 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.047 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    $974.6 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.27 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    $1.185 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.217 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    $1.129 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    Hong Kong dollars (HKD) per US dollar -
    7.7564 (2012 est.)
    7.784 (2011 est.)
    7.77 (2010 est.)
    7.75 (2009)
    7.751 (2008)

Energy ::Hong Kong

Communications ::Hong Kong

    4.342 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    15.293 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    general assessment: modern facilities provide excellent domestic and international services
    domestic: microwave radio relay links and extensive fiber-optic network
    international: country code - 852; multiple international submarine cables provide connections to Asia, US, Australia, the Middle East, and Western Europe; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Pacific Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean); coaxial cable to Guangzhou, China (2012)
    2 commercial terrestrial TV networks each with multiple stations; multi-channel satellite and cable TV systems available; 3 radio networks, one of which is government-funded, operate about 15 radio stations (2012)
    .hk
    870,041 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    4.873 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 47

Transportation ::Hong Kong

    2 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    total: 2
    over 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    9 (2013)
    total: 2,090 km
    country comparison to the world: 172
    paved: 2,090 km (2012)
    total: 1,644
    country comparison to the world: 5
    by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 785, cargo 198, carrier 10, chemical tanker 149, container 288, liquefied gas 31, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 9, petroleum tanker 156, roll on/roll off 5, vehicle carrier 7
    foreign-owned: 976 (Bangladesh 1, Belgium 26, Bermuda 20, Canada 77, China 500, Cyprus 3, Denmark 42, France 4, Germany 10, Greece 27, Indonesia 10, Iran 3, Japan 79, Libya 1, Norway 48, Russia 1, Singapore 13, South Korea 3, Switzerland 5, Taiwan 25, UAE 1, UK 33, US 44)
    registered in other countries: 341 (Bahamas 3, Bermuda 4, Cambodia 10, China 18, Curacao 1, Cyprus 2, Georgia 3, India 2, Kiribati 2, Liberia 48, Malaysia 8, Malta 4, Marshall Islands 3, NZ 1, Panama 144, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 5, Seychelles 1, Sierra Leone 7, Singapore 46, Thailand 1, UK 12, unknown 16) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Hong Kong

Military ::Hong Kong

Transnational Issues ::Hong Kong

    none
    despite strenuous law enforcement efforts, faces difficult challenges in controlling transit of heroin and methamphetamine to regional and world markets; modern banking system provides conduit for money laundering; rising indigenous use of synthetic drugs, especially among young people