Hong Kong

Flag of 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 China on 1 July 1997. In this agreement, China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be imposed on Hong Kong and that Hong Kong will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.
Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China
Geographic coordinates:
22 15 N, 114 10 E
total: 1,092 sq km
land: 1,042 sq km
water: 50 sq km
Area - comparative:
six times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
total: 30 km
regional border: China 30 km
733 km
Maritime claims:
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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Tai Mo Shan 958 m
Natural resources:
outstanding deepwater harbour, feldspar
Land use:
arable land: 5.05%
permanent crops: 1.01%
other: 93.94% (2001)
Irrigated land:
20 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons
Environment - current issues:
air and water pollution from rapid urbanization
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Marine Dumping (associate member)
Geography - note:
more than 200 islands
6,940,432 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.5% (male 488,607/female 445,593)
15-64 years: 73.7% (male 2,495,679/female 2,620,336)
65 years and over: 12.8% (male 413,031/female 477,186) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 40.7 years
male: 40.4 years
female: 40.9 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.59% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
7.29 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
6.29 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
4.89 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 2.95 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.13 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 81.59 years
male: 78.9 years
female: 84.5 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
0.95 children born/woman (2006 est.)
noun: Chinese/Hong Konger
adjective: Chinese/Hong Kong
Ethnic groups:
Chinese 95%, other 5%
eclectic mixture of local religions 90%, Christian 10%
Chinese (Cantonese), English; both are official
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 93.5%
male: 96.9%
female: 89.6% (2002)
Country name:
conventional long form: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
conventional short form: Hong Kong
local long form: Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu
local short form: Xianggang
abbreviation: HK
Dependency status:
special administrative region of China
Government type:
limited democracy
Administrative divisions:
none (special administrative region of China)
none (special administrative region of China)
National holiday:
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
Basic Law, approved in March 1990 by China's National People's Congress, is Hong Kong's "mini-constitution"
Legal system:
based on English common law
direct election 18 years of age; universal for permanent residents living in the territory of Hong Kong for the past seven years; indirect election limited to about 200,000 members of functional constituencies and an 800-member election committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organizations, and central government bodies
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Council or LEGCO (60 seats; in 2004 30 seats indirectly elected by functional constituencies, 30 elected by popular vote; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 12 September 2004 (next to be held in September 2008)
election results: percent of vote by party - pro-democracy group 62%; seats by party - (pro-Beijing 34) DAB 12, Liberal Party 10, independents 11, FTU 1; (pro-democracy 25) independents 11, Democratic Party 9, CTU 2, ADPL 1, Frontier Party 1, NWSC 1; non-voting LEGCO president 1
Judicial branch:
Court of Final Appeal in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Economy - overview:
Hong Kong has a free market, entrepot economy, highly dependent on international trade. Natural resources are limited, and food and raw materials must be imported. Gross imports and exports (i.e., including reexports to and from third countries) each exceed GDP in dollar value. Even before Hong Kong reverted to Chinese administration on 1 July 1997, it had extensive trade and investment ties with China. Hong Kong has been further integrating its economy with China because China's growing openness to the world economy has made manufacturing in China much more cost effective. Hong Kong's reexport business to and from China is a major driver of growth. Per capita GDP is comparable to that of the four big economies of Western Europe. GDP growth averaged a strong 5% from 1989 to 2005, but Hong Kong suffered two recessions in the past eight years because of the Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998 and the global downturn in 2001-2002. Although the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 also battered Hong Kong's economy, a solid rise in exports, a boom in tourism from the mainland because of China's easing of travel restrictions, and a return of consumer confidence resulted in the resumption of strong growth from late 2003 through 2005.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$258.1 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$179.4 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
6.9% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$37,400 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.1%
industry: 10%
services: 89.9% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
3.61 million (October 2005)
Labor force - by occupation:
manufacturing 7.5%, construction 2.9%, wholesale and retail trade, restaurants, and hotels 43.9%, financing, insurance, and real estate 19.6%, transport and communications 7.1%, community and social services 18.8%
note: above data exclude public sector (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:
5.8% (December 2005)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
43.4 (1996)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.2% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
21.2% of GDP (2005 est.)
revenues: $31.31 billion
expenditures: $32.3 billion; including capital expenditures of $5.9 billion (2005 est.)
Public debt:
1.8% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
fresh vegetables; poultry, pork; fish
textiles, clothing, tourism, banking, shipping, electronics, plastics, toys, watches, clocks
Industrial production growth rate:
1% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
37.3 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - consumption:
39.22 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
3.086 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
9.84 billion kWh (2004)
Oil - consumption:
293,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
692.2 million cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
71.15 million cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
$23.85 billion (2005 est.)
$286.3 billion f.o.b., including reexports (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
electrical machinery and appliances, textiles, apparel, footwear, watches and clocks, toys, plastics, precious stones, printed material
Exports - partners:
China 44%, US 16.9%, Japan 5.3% (2004)
$291.6 billion (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
raw materials and semi-manufactures, consumer goods, capital goods, foodstuffs, fuel (most is re-exported)
Imports - partners:
China 43.5%, Japan 12.1%, Taiwan 7.3%, US 5.3%, Singapore 5.3%, South Korea 4.8% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$122.3 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$416.5 billion (30 June 2005 est.)
Currency (code):
Hong Kong dollar (HKD)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Telephones - main lines in use:
3,763,300 (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
8.214 million (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern facilities provide excellent domestic and international services
domestic: microwave radio relay links and extensive fiber-optic network
international: country code - 852; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Pacific Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean); coaxial cable to Guangzhou, China; access to 5 international submarine cables providing connections to ASEAN member nations, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Middle East, and Western Europe
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 5, FM 9, shortwave 0 (2004)
Television broadcast stations:
55 low power stations
note: two TV networks, each one broadcasting on two channels (2006)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
859,926 (2005)
Internet users:
4,878,713 (2005)
3 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2005)
3 (2005)
total: 1,831 km
paved: 1,831 km (1999)
Merchant marine:
total: 895 ships (1000 GRT or over) 29,662,934 GRT/50,199,048 DWT
by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 485, cargo 122, chemical tanker 39, combination ore/oil 6, container 122, liquefied gas 21, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 72, roll on/roll off 2, specialized tanker 4, vehicle carrier 8
foreign-owned: 534 (Belgium 3, Canada 23, China 259, Denmark 6, France 3, Germany 7, Greece 28, Indonesia 3, Japan 64, South Korea 12, Monaco 1, Norway 22, Philippines 15, Singapore 25, Taiwan 8, UAE 1, UK 35, US 19)
registered in other countries: 407 (The Bahamas 7, Belgium 1, Belize 8, Bermuda 6, Cambodia 10, China 7, Cyprus 1, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 3, Honduras 2, India 1, Isle of Man 1, Liberia 40, Malaysia 14, Malta 2, Marshall Islands 8, Norway 50, Panama 168, Philippines 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6, Singapore 53, Taiwan 3, Tuvalu 7, Venezuela 1, unknown 6) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Hong Kong
Military branches:
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
Military - note:

defence is the responsibility of China
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
makes strenuous law enforcement efforts, but 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