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East & Southeast Asia :: Hong Kong
(special administrative region of China)
Page last updated on June 24, 2015
 
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Hong Kong
  • 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 subsequent 50 years.
  • Geography :: HONG KONG

  • Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China
    22 15 N, 114 10 E
    Southeast Asia
    total: 1,108 sq km
    land: 1,073 sq km
    water: 35 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 184
    six times the size of Washington, DC
    total: 33 km
    regional border: China 33 km
    733 km
    territorial sea: 3 nm
    subtropical monsoon; cool and humid in winter, hot and rainy from spring through summer, warm and sunny in fall
    hilly to mountainous with steep slopes; lowlands in north
    lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
    highest point: Tai Mo Shan 958 m
    outstanding deepwater harbor, feldspar
    agricultural land: 5%
    arable land 3.2%; permanent crops 0.9%; permanent pasture 0.9%
    forest: 0%
    other: 95% (2011 est.)
    NA; note - included in the total for China
    occasional typhoons
    air and water pollution from rapid urbanization
    party to: Marine Dumping (associate member), Ship Pollution (associate member)
    composed of more than 200 islands
  • People and Society :: HONG KONG

  • noun: Chinese/Hong Konger
    adjective: Chinese/Hong Kong
    Chinese 93.1%, Indonesian 1.9%, Filipino 1.9%, other 3% (2011 est.)
    Cantonese (official) 89.5%, English (official) 3.5%, Putonghua (Mandarin) 1.4%, other Chinese dialects 4%, other 1.6% (2011 est.)
    eclectic mixture of local religions 90%, Christian 10%
    7,112,688 (July 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 102
    0-14 years: 12.1% (male 456,638/female 402,462)
    15-24 years: 11.5% (male 417,300/female 398,270)
    25-54 years: 46.9% (male 1,430,036/female 1,905,585)
    55-64 years: 14.8% (male 517,045/female 537,290)
    65 years and over: 14.7% (male 493,399/female 554,663) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 35.5%
    youth dependency ratio: 15.9%
    elderly dependency ratio: 19.6%
    potential support ratio: 5.1% (2014 est.)
    total: 43.2 years
    male: 42.8 years
    female: 43.4 years (2014 est.)
    0.41% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    9.38 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    6.93 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    1.69 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    urban population: 100% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 0.74% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    Hong Kong 7.26 million (2014)
    at birth: 1.13 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.14 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.75 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    29.8 (2008 est.)
    total: 2.73 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 2.97 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 2.46 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 217
    total population: 82.78 years
    male: 80.18 years
    female: 85.71 years (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    1.17 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 221
    79.5% (2007)
    NA
    NA
    3.8% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    total: 16 years
    male: 16 years
    female: 16 years (2013)
    total: 9.3%
    male: 10.9%
    female: 7.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 106
  • Government :: HONG KONG

  • conventional long form: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
    conventional short form: Hong Kong
    local long form: Heung Kong Takpit Hangching Ku (Eitel/Dyer-Ball); Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu (Hanyu Pinyin)
    local short form: Heung Kong (Eitel/Dyer-Ball); Xianggang (Hanyu Pinyin)
    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
    several previous (governance documents while under British authority); latest drafted April 1988 to February 1989, approved March 1990, promulgated 4 April 1990 (Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China serves as the constitution); note - since 1990, China's National People's Congress has interpreted specific articles of the Basic Law (2013)
    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 a 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 XI Jinping (since 14 March 2013)
    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 15 non-official members
    elections: chief executive elected for five-year term by a 1,200-member election committee; LEUNG Chun-ying [C.Y. LEUNG] was elected chief executive on 25 March 2012 and 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 elected with 689 votes; Henry TANG with 285 votes, and Albert HO with 76 of the 1,132 votes cast; 82 ballots were deemed invalid; most were blank
    description: unicameral Legislative Council or LegCo (70 seats; members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by several majority vote methods based on the rules of the individual constituencies; members serve 4-year terms)
    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, BPA 7, FTU 6, Liberal Party 5, NPP 2, other 10); pro-democracy 27 (Democratic Party 6, Civic Party 6, Labor Party 4, People Power 3, Professional Commons 2, League of Social Democrats 1, ADPL 1, PTU 1, Neo Democrats 1, NWSC 1); independent 2
    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 [Bruce LIU Sing-lee]
    Business and Professional Alliance or BPA [Andrew LEUNG]
    Civic Party [EU Audrey]
    Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong or DAB [TAM Yiu-chung]
    Democratic Party [Emily LAU]
    Labor Party [LEE Cheuk-yan]
    League of Social Democrats or LSD [LEUNG Kwok-hung]
    Liberal Party [Felix CHUNG Kwok-pan]
    Neo Democrats [joint leaders]
    New People's Party [Regina IP Lau Su-yee]
    People Power [Erica YUEN Mi-ming]
    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 Peter MOK]
    Professional Teachers Union or PTU
    note: political blocs include: pro-democracy - ADPL, Civic Party, Democratic Party, Labor Party, LSD, People Power, Professional Commons; pro-Beijing - DAB, FTU, Liberal Party, New People's Party, BPA; 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) [LAM Shuk-yee, President]; 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, WMO, 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
    commissioner: Clement C.M. LEUNG
    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 Jr. (since 30 July 2013); note - also accredited to Macau
    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; national colors: red, white
    note: as a Special Administrative Region of China, "Yiyongjun 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 has no tariffs on imported goods, and it levies excise duties on only four commodities, whether imported or produced locally: 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, its continued reliance on foreign trade and investment leaves it vulnerable to renewed global financial market volatility or a slowdown in the global economy. 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 12.5% of total system deposits in Hong Kong by the end of 2014. 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 total trade 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 47.3 million in 2014, 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 2014 mainland Chinese companies constituted about 50% of the firms listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and accounted for about 60.1% 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. Credit expansion and tight housing supply conditions have caused Hong Kong property prices to rise rapidly; consumer prices increased by more than 4.4% in 2014. 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. In 2014, Hong Kong and China signed a new agreement on achieving basic liberalization of trade in services in Guangdong Province under the Closer Economic Partnership Agreement, adopted in 2003 to forge closer ties between Hong Kong and the mainland. The new measures, effective from March 2015, cover a negative list and a most-favored treatment provision, and will improve access to the mainland's service sector for Hong Kong-based companies.
    $400.6 billion (2014 est.)
    $388.9 billion (2013 est.)
    $377.8 billion (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 45
    $292.7 billion (2014 est.)
    3% (2014 est.)
    2.9% (2013 est.)
    1.6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    $55,200 (2014 est.)
    $53,900 (2013 est.)
    $52,600 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 17
    25.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
    26.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
    27.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    household consumption: 66.1%
    government consumption: 9.5%
    investment in fixed capital: 22.2%
    investment in inventories: 0.4%
    exports of goods and services: 226.1%
    imports of goods and services: -224.4%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 0.1%
    industry: 6.6%
    services: 93.3% (2014 est.)
    fresh vegetables and fruit; poultry, pork; fish
    textiles, clothing, tourism, banking, shipping, electronics, plastics, toys, watches, clocks
    0.2% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    3.871 million (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    manufacturing: 3.8%
    construction: 2.8%
    wholesale and retail trade, restaurants, and hotels: 53.3%
    financing, insurance, and real estate: 12.5%
    transport and communications: 10.1%
    community and social services: 17.1%
    note: above data exclude public sector (2013 est.)
    3.1% (2014 est.)
    3.1% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    19.6% (2012)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    53.7 (2011)
    53.3 (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    revenues: $57.78 billion
    expenditures: $55.84 billion (2014 est.)
    19.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    0.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 31
    37% of GDP (2014 est.)
    37.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    1 April - 31 March
    3.7% (2014 est.)
    4.3% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    0.5% (31 December 2013)
    0.5% (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    5% (31 December 2014 est.)
    5% (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    $204.8 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $194.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    $1.414 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.297 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 14
    $827.9 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $714 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    $3.082 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
    $2.814 trillion (31 December 2012)
    $2.248 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    $-205.4 million (2014 est.)
    $5.095 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    $528.2 billion (2014 est.)
    $535 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    electrical machinery and appliances, textiles, apparel, footwear, watches and clocks, toys, plastics, precious stones, printed material
    China 54.8%, US 9.3% (2013)
    $560.2 billion (2014 est.)
    $622 billion (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    raw materials and semi-manufactures, consumer goods, capital goods, foodstuffs, fuel (most is reexported)
    China 47.8%, Japan 7.1%, Singapore 6.1%, US 5.5% (2013)
    $324 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $311.2 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    $171.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $165.6 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
    $1.523 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.444 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    $1.439 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.352 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    Hong Kong dollars (HKD) per US dollar -
    7.75 (2014 est.)
    7.76 (2013 est.)
    7.76 (2012 est.)
    7.78 (2011 est.)
    7.77 (2010 est.)
  • Energy :: HONG KONG

  • 39.97 billion kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    44.21 billion kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    1.65 billion kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    10.71 billion kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    10.67 million kW (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    100% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    0% of total installed capacity (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 187
    100 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 115
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 202
    0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    354,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    12,010 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    345,900 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 21
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    2.6 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 114
    2.8 billion cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    88.63 million Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: HONG KONG

  • 4.362 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    16.403 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    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)
    AM 6, FM 10, shortwave 0 (2009)
    2 (2 TV networks, each broadcasting on 2 channels) (2009)
    .hk
    870,041 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    4.873 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 46
  • 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
    paved: 2,090 km (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    total: 1,644
    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)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    major seaport(s): Hong Kong
  • Military :: HONG KONG

  • no regular indigenous military forces; Hong Kong garrison of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) includes elements of the PLA Ground Forces, PLA Navy, and PLA Air Force; these forces are under the direct leadership of the Central Military Commission in Beijing and under administrative control of the adjacent Guangzhou Military Region (2012)
    males age 16-49: 1,704,090
    females age 16-49: 1,873,175 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 1,387,213
    females age 16-49: 1,505,875 (2010 est.)
    male: 39,579
    female: 36,554 (2010 est.)
    defense is the responsibility of China
  • Transnational Issues :: HONG KONG

  • Hong Kong plans to reduce its 2,800-hectare Frontier Closed Area (FCA) to 400 hectares by 2015; the FCA was established in 1951 as a buffer zone between Hong Kong and mainland China to prevent illegal migration from and the smuggling of goods
    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
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