Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港; pronunciation in Hong Kong Cantonese: [hœ́ːŋ.kɔ̌ːŋ] (listen)), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities[c] in a 1,104-square-kilometre (426 sq mi) territory, Hong Kong is the world's fourth-most-densely-populated region.
Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after Qing China ceded Hong Kong Island at the end of the First Opium War in 1842. The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War, and was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. The territory was returned to China when the lease expired in 1997. As a special administrative region, Hong Kong's system of government is separate from that of mainland China.
Originally a sparsely populated area of farming and fishing villages, the territory has become one of the world's most significant financial centres and commercial ports. It is the world's seventh-largest trading entity, and its legal tender (the Hong Kong dollar) is the world's 13th-most-traded currency. Although the city has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it has severe income inequality.
The territory has the largest number of skyscrapers in the world, most surrounding Victoria Harbour. Hong Kong ranks seventh on the UN Human Development Index, and has the longest life expectancy in the world. Although over 90 per cent of its population uses public transportation, air pollution from neighbouring industrial areas of mainland China has resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
Location of Hong Kong
|Official scripts||Traditional Chinese[b]|
|Ethnic groups |
|Government||Devolved executive-led system within a socialist republic|
|36 deputies (of 2,924)|
|Special administrative region within the People's Republic of China|
|26 January 1841|
|29 August 1842|
|18 October 1860|
|9 June 1898|
|25 December 1941|
to 30 August 1945
1 July 1997
|1,108 km2 (428 sq mi) (168th)|
• Water (%)
|3.16 (35 km2; 13.51 sq mi)|
• 2018 estimate
|6,777/km2 (17,552.3/sq mi) (4th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
|$484 billion (44th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
|$360 billion (35th)|
• Per capita
|Gini (2016)|| 53.9|
|HDI (2017)|| 0.933|
very high · 7th
|Currency||Hong Kong dollar (HK$) (HKD)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (Hong Kong Time)|
|ISO 3166 code||HK|
"Hong Kong" in Chinese characters
|Literal meaning||Fragrant Harbour,|
|Hong Kong Special Administrative Region|
The name of the territory, first spelled "He-Ong-Kong" in 1780, originally referred to a small inlet between Aberdeen Island and the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. Aberdeen was an initial point of contact between British sailors and local fishermen. Although the source of the romanised name is unknown, it is generally believed to be an early phonetic rendering of the Cantonese pronunciation hēung góng. The name translates as "fragrant harbour" or "incense harbour". "Fragrant" may refer to the sweet taste of the harbour's freshwater influx from the Pearl River or to the odor from incense factories lining the coast of northern Kowloon. The incense was stored near Aberdeen Harbour for export before Victoria Harbour developed. Sir John Davis (the second colonial governor) offered an alternative origin; Davis said that the name derived from "Hoong-keang" ("red torrent"), reflecting the colour of soil over which a waterfall on the island flowed.
The simplified name Hong Kong was frequently used by 1810, also written as a single word. Hongkong was common until 1926, when the government officially adopted the two-word name. Some corporations founded during the early colonial era still keep this name, including Hongkong Land, Hongkong Electric, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.
The region is first known to have been occupied by humans during the Neolithic period, about 6,000 years ago. Early Hong Kong settlers were a semi-coastal people who migrated from inland and brought knowledge of rice cultivation. The Qin dynasty incorporated the Hong Kong area into China for the first time in 214 BCE, after conquering the indigenous Baiyue. The region was consolidated under the Nanyue kingdom (a predecessor state of Vietnam) after the Qin collapse, and recaptured by China after the Han conquest. During the Mongol conquest, the Southern Song court was briefly located in modern-day Kowloon City (the Sung Wong Toi site) before its final defeat in the 1279 Battle of Yamen. By the end of the Yuan dynasty, seven large families had settled in the region and owned most of the land. Settlers from nearby provinces migrated to Kowloon throughout the Ming dynasty. The earliest European visitor was Portuguese explorer Jorge Álvares, who arrived in 1513. Portuguese merchants established a trading post called (Tamão) in Hong Kong waters, and began regular trade with southern China. Although the traders were expelled after military clashes in the 1520s, Portuguese-Chinese trade relations were reestablished by 1549. Portugal acquired a permanent lease for Macau in 1557.
After the Qing conquest, maritime trade was banned under the Haijin policies. The Kangxi Emperor lifted the prohibition, allowing foreigners to enter Chinese ports in 1684. Qing authorities established the Canton System in 1757 to regulate trade more strictly, restricting non-Russian ships to the port of Canton. Although European demand for Chinese commodities like tea, silk, and porcelain was high, Chinese interest in European manufactured goods was insignificant. To counter the trade imbalance, the British sold large amounts of Indian opium to China. Faced with a drug crisis, Qing officials pursued ever-more-aggressive actions to halt the opium trade. The Daoguang Emperor rejected proposals to legalise and tax opium, ordering imperial commissioner Lin Zexu to eradicate the opium trade in 1839. The commissioner destroyed opium stockpiles and halted all foreign trade, forcing a British military response and triggering the First Opium War. The Qing surrendered early in the war and ceded Hong Kong Island in the Convention of Chuenpi. However, both countries were dissatisfied and did not ratify the agreement. After over a year of further hostilities, Hong Kong Island was formally ceded to the United Kingdom in the 29 August 1842 Treaty of Nanking.
Administrative infrastructure was quickly built up by early 1842, but piracy, disease, and hostile Qing policies towards Hong Kong prevented the government from attracting merchants. The Taiping Rebellion, when many wealthy Chinese fled mainland turbulence and settled in the colony, improved conditions on the island. Further tensions between the British and Qing over the opium trade escalated into the Second Opium War. The defeated Qing were again forced to give up land, ceding Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter's Island in the Convention of Peking. By the end of this war, Hong Kong had evolved from a transient colonial outpost into a major entrepôt. Rapid economic improvement during the 1850s attracted foreign investment, as potential stakeholders became more confident in Hong Kong's future.
The colony was further expanded in 1898, when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories. The University of Hong Kong was established in 1911 as the territory's first higher-education institute. Kai Tak Airport began operation in 1924, and the colony avoided a prolonged economic downturn after the 1925–26 Canton–Hong Kong strike. At the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, Governor Geoffry Northcote declared Hong Kong a neutral zone to safeguard its status as a free port. The colonial government prepared for a possible attack, evacuating all British women and children in 1940. The Imperial Japanese Army attacked Hong Kong on 8 December 1941, the same morning as its attack on Pearl Harbor. Hong Kong was occupied by Japan for almost four years before Britain resumed control on 30 August 1945.
Its population rebounded quickly after the war as skilled Chinese migrants fled from the Chinese Civil War, and more refugees crossed the border when the Communist Party took control of mainland China in 1949. Hong Kong became the first of the Four Asian Tiger economies to industrialise during the 1950s. With a rapidly increasing population, the colonial government began reforms to improve infrastructure and public services. The public-housing estate programme, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), and Mass Transit Railway were established during the post-war decades to provide safer housing, integrity in the civil service, and more-reliable transportation. Although the territory's competitiveness in manufacturing gradually declined due to rising labour and property costs, it transitioned to a service-based economy. By the early 1990s, Hong Kong had established itself as a global financial centre and shipping hub.
The colony faced an uncertain future as the end of the New Territories lease approached, and Governor Murray MacLehose raised the question of Hong Kong's status with Deng Xiaoping in 1979. Diplomatic negotiations with China resulted in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, in which the United Kingdom agreed to transfer the colony in 1997 and China would guarantee Hong Kong's economic and political systems for 50 years after the transfer. The impending transfer triggered a wave of mass emigration as residents feared an erosion of civil rights, the rule of law, and quality of life. Over half a million people left the territory during the peak migration period, from 1987 to 1996. Hong Kong was transferred to China on 1 July 1997, after 156 years of British rule.
Immediately after the transfer, Hong Kong was severely affected by several crises. The government was forced to use substantial foreign-exchange reserves to maintain the Hong Kong dollar's currency peg during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and the recovery from this was muted by an H5N1 avian-flu outbreak and a housing surplus. This was followed by the 2003 SARS epidemic, during which the territory experienced its most-serious economic downturn.
Political debates after the transfer of sovereignty have centred around the region's democratic development and the central government's adherence to the "one country, two systems" principle. After reversal of the last colonial-era Legislative Council democratic reforms following the handover, the regional government unsuccessfully attempted to enact national-security legislation pursuant to Article 23 of the Basic Law. The central-government decision to implement nominee pre-screening before allowing Chief Executive elections triggered a series of protests in 2014 which became known as the Umbrella Revolution. Discrepancies in the electoral registry and disqualification of elected legislators after the 2016 Legislative Council elections and enforcement of national law in the West Kowloon high-speed railway station have raised concerns about the region's autonomy.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, with executive, legislative, and judicial powers devolved from the national government. The Sino-British Joint Declaration provided for economic and administrative continuity through the transfer of sovereignty, resulting in an executive-led governing system largely inherited from the territory's history as a British colony. Under these terms and the "one country, two systems" principle, the Basic Law of Hong Kong is the regional constitution.
The regional government is composed of three branches:
The Chief Executive is the head of government, and serves for a maximum of two five-year terms. The State Council (led by the Premier of China) appoints the Chief Executive after nomination by the Election Committee, which is composed of 1,200 business, community, and government leaders.
The Legislative Council has 70 members, each serving a four-year term: 35 directly elected from geographical constituencies and 35 representing functional constituencies (FC). Thirty FC councilors are selected from limited electorates representing sectors of the economy or special-interest groups, and the remaining five members are nominated from sitting District Council members and selected in region-wide double direct elections. All popularly elected members are chosen with proportional representation. The 30 limited electorate functional constituencies fill their seats using first-past-the-post, or instant-runoff, voting.
Twenty-two political parties had representatives elected to the Legislative Council in the 2016 election. These parties have aligned themselves into three ideological groups: the pro-Beijing camp (the current government), the pro-democracy camp, and localist groups. The Communist Party does not have an official political presence in Hong Kong, and its members do not run in local elections. Hong Kong is represented in the National People's Congress by 36 deputies chosen through an electoral college, and 203 delegates in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference appointed by the central government.
Chinese national law does not generally apply in the region, and Hong Kong is treated as a separate jurisdiction. Its judicial system is based on common law, continuing the legal tradition established during British rule. Local courts may refer to precedents set in English law and overseas jurisprudence. Interpretative and amending power over the Basic Law and jurisdiction over acts of state lie with the central authority, however, making regional courts ultimately subordinate to the mainland's socialist civil-law system. Decisions made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress can also override territorial judicial processes.
The territory's jurisdictional independence is most apparent in its immigration and taxation policies. The Immigration Department issues passports for permanent residents which differ from those of the mainland or Macau, and the region maintains a regulated border with the rest of the country. All travellers between Hong Kong and China and Macau must pass border controls, regardless of nationality. Chinese citizens resident in mainland China do not have the right of abode in Hong Kong, and are subject to immigration controls. Public finances are handled separately from the national government, and taxes levied in Hong Kong do not fund the central authority.
The Hong Kong Garrison is responsible for the region's defence. Although the Chairman of the Central Military Commission is supreme commander of the armed forces, the regional government may request assistance from the garrison. Hong Kong residents are not required to perform military service and current law also no provision for local enlistment, so its defence is composed entirely of non-Hongkongers.
The central government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handle diplomatic matters, but Hong Kong retains the ability to maintain separate economic and cultural relations with foreign nations. The territory actively participates in the World Trade Organization, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the International Olympic Committee, and many United Nations agencies. The regional government maintains trade offices in Greater China and other nations.
The territory is divided into 18 districts. A 479-seat District Council, 452 of which are directly elected, represents each district and advises the government on local issues such as public-facility provisioning, community-programme maintenance, cultural promotion, and environmental policy. Rural committee chairmen, representing outlying villages and towns, fill the 27 non-elected seats.
According to Basic Law Articles 45 and 68, the goal is universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive and all members of the Legislative Council. Although the legislature is partially elected, the executive is not. The government has been petitioned to introduce direct election of the Chief Executive and all Legislative Council members. These efforts have been partially successful; the Election Committee no longer selects a portion of the Legislative Council.
Ethnic minorities (except those of European ancestry) have marginal representation in government, and often experience discrimination in housing, education, and employment. Employment vacancies and public-service appointments frequently have language requirements which minority job seekers do not meet, and language-education resources remain inadequate for Chinese learners. Foreign domestic helpers, predominantly women from the Philippines and Indonesia, have little protection under territorial law. Although they live and work in Hong Kong, these workers are not treated as ordinary residents and are ineligible for the right of abode.
The Joint Declaration guarantees the Basic Law for 50 years after the transfer of sovereignty. It does not specify how Hong Kong will be governed after 2047, and the central government's role in determining the territory's future system of government is the subject of political debate and speculation. Hong Kong's political and judicial systems may be reintegrated with China's at that time, or the territory may continue to be administered separately.
Hong Kong is on China's southern coast, 60 km (37 mi) east of Macau, on the east side of the mouth of the Pearl River estuary. It is surrounded by the South China Sea on all sides except the north, which neighbours the Guangdong city of Shenzhen along the Sham Chun River. The territory's 2,755 km2 (1,064 sq mi) area consists of Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories, Lantau Island, and over 200 other islands. Of the total area, 1,073 km2 (414 sq mi) is land and 35 km2 (14 sq mi) is water. The territory's highest point is Tai Mo Shan, 957 metres (3,140 ft) above sea level. Urban development is concentrated on the Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong Island, and in new towns throughout the New Territories. Much of this is built on reclaimed land, due to the lack of developable flat land; 70 km2 (27 sq mi) (six percent of the total land or about 25 per cent of developed space in the territory) is reclaimed from the sea.
Undeveloped terrain is hilly to mountainous, with very little flat land, and consists mostly of grassland, woodland, shrubland, or farmland. About 40 percent of the remaining land area are country parks and nature reserves. The territory has a diverse ecosystem; over 3,000 species of vascular plants occur in the region (300 of which are native to Hong Kong), and thousands of insect, avian, and marine species.
Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa), characteristic of southern China. Summer is hot and humid, with occasional showers and thunderstorms and warm air from the southwest. Typhoons occur most often then, sometimes resulting in floods or landslides. Winters are mild and usually sunny at the beginning, becoming cloudy towards February; an occasional cold front brings strong, cooling winds from the north. The most temperate seasons are spring (which can be changeable) and autumn, which is generally sunny and dry. Snowfall is extremely rare, and usually occurs at high elevations. Hong Kong averages 1,709 hours of sunshine per year; the highest and lowest recorded temperatures at the Hong Kong Observatory are 36.6 °C (97.9 °F) on 22 August 2017 and 0.0 °C (32.0 °F) on 18 January 1893. The highest and lowest recorded temperatures in all of Hong Kong are 39.0 °C (102 °F) at Wetland Park on 22 August 2017, and −6.0 °C (21.2 °F) at Tai Mo Shan on 24 January 2016.
|Climate data for Hong Kong (Hong Kong Observatory), normals 1981–2010, extremes 1884–1939 and 1947–present|
|Record high °C (°F)||26.9
|Mean maximum °C (°F)||23.7
|Average high °C (°F)||18.6
|Daily mean °C (°F)||16.3
|Average low °C (°F)||14.5
|Mean minimum °C (°F)||9.1
|Record low °C (°F)||0.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||24.7
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm)||5.37||9.07||10.90||12.00||14.67||19.07||17.60||16.93||14.67||7.43||5.47||4.47||137.65|
|Average relative humidity (%)||74||80||82||83||83||82||81||81||78||73||71||69||78.0|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||143.0||94.2||90.8||101.7||140.4||146.1||212.0||188.9||172.3||193.9||180.1||172.2||1,835.6|
|Percent possible sunshine||42||29||24||27||34||36||51||47||47||54||54||51||42|
|Source: Hong Kong Observatory|
Hong Kong has the world's largest number of skyscrapers, with 317 towers taller than 150 metres (490 ft), and the third-largest number of high-rise buildings in the world. The lack of available space restricted development to high-density residential tenements and commercial complexes packed closely together on buildable land. Single-family detached homes are extremely rare, and generally only found in outlying areas.
The International Commerce Centre and Two International Finance Centre are the tallest buildings in Hong Kong and among the tallest in the Asia-Pacific region. Other distinctive buildings lining the Hong Kong Island skyline include the HSBC Main Building, the anemometer-topped triangular Central Plaza, the circular Hopewell Centre, and the sharp-edged Bank of China Tower.
Demand for new construction has contributed to frequent demolition of older buildings, freeing space for modern high-rises. However, many examples of European and Lingnan architecture are still found throughout the territory. Older government buildings are examples of colonial architecture. The 1846 Flagstaff House, the former residence of the commanding British military officer, is the oldest Western-style building in Hong Kong. Some (including the Court of Final Appeal Building and the Hong Kong Observatory) retain their original function, and others have been adapted and reused; the Former Marine Police Headquarters was redeveloped into a commercial and retail complex, and Béthanie (built in 1875 as a sanatorium) houses the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. The Tin Hau Temple, dedicated to the sea goddess Mazu (originally built in 1012 and rebuilt in 1266), is the territory's oldest existing structure. The Ping Shan Heritage Trail has architectural examples of several imperial Chinese dynasties, including the Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda (Hong Kong's only remaining pagoda).
Tong lau, mixed-use tenement buildings constructed during the colonial era, blended southern Chinese architectural styles with European influences. These were especially prolific during the immediate post-war period, when many were rapidly built to house large numbers of Chinese migrants. Examples include Lui Seng Chun, the Blue House in Wan Chai, and the Shanghai Street shophouses in Mong Kok. Mass-produced public-housing estates, built since the 1960s, are mainly constructed in modernist style.
The Census and Statistics Department estimated Hong Kong's population at 7,448,900 in mid-2018. The overwhelming majority (92 percent) is Han Chinese, most of whom are Taishanese, Teochew, Hakka, and a number of other Cantonese peoples. The remaining eight percent are non-ethnic-Chinese minorities, primarily Filipinos, Indonesians, and South Asians. About half the population have some form of British nationality, a legacy of colonial rule; 3.4 million residents have British National (Overseas) status, and 260,000 British citizens live in the territory. The vast majority also hold Chinese nationality, automatically granted to all Chinese residents at the transfer of sovereignty.
The predominant language is Cantonese, a variety of Chinese originating in Guangdong. It is spoken by 94.6 percent of the population, 88.9 percent as a first language and 5.7 percent as a second language. Slightly over half the population (53.2 percent) speaks English, the other official language; 4.3 percent are native speakers, and 48.9 percent speak English as a second language. Code-switching, mixing English and Cantonese in informal conversation, is common among the bilingual population. Post-handover governments have promoted Mandarin, which is currently about as prevalent as English; 48.6 percent of the population speaks Mandarin, with 1.9 percent native speakers and 46.7 percent speaking it as a second language. Traditional Chinese characters are used in writing, rather than the simplified characters used on the mainland.
Among the religious population, the traditional "three teachings" of China (Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism) have the most adherents (20 percent) and are followed by Christianity (12 percent) and Islam (four percent). Followers of other religions, including Sikhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and the Bahá'í Faith, generally originate from regions where their religion predominates.
Of residents aged 15 and older, 81.3 percent completed lower-secondary education; 66.4 percent graduated from an upper secondary school, 31.6 percent attended a non-degree tertiary program, and 24 percent earned a bachelor's degree or higher. Mandatory education has contributed to an adult literacy rate of 95.7 percent. Lower than that of other developed economies, the rate is due to the influx of refugees from mainland China during the post-war colonial era. Much of the elderly population were not formally educated due to war and poverty.
Life expectancy in Hong Kong was 81.7 years for males and 87.7 years for females in 2017, the world's seventh-highest. Cancer, pneumonia, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and accidents are the territory's five leading causes of death. The universal public system is funded by general-tax revenue, and treatment is highly subsidised; on average, 95 percent of healthcare costs are covered by the government.
Income inequality has risen since the transfer of sovereignty, as the region's ageing population has gradually added to the number of nonworking people. Although median household income has steadily increased during the past decade, the wage gap remains high; the 90th percentile of earners receive 41 percent of all income. The city has the most billionaires per capita, with one billionaire per 109,657 people. Despite government efforts to reduce the growing disparity, median income for the top 10 percent of earners is 44 times that of the bottom 10 percent.
Hong Kong has a capitalist mixed service economy, characterised by low taxation, minimal government market intervention, and an established international financial market. It is the world's 35th-largest economy, with a nominal GDP of approximately US$364 billion. Although Hong Kong's economy has ranked at the top of the Heritage Foundation's economic freedom index since 1995, the territory has a relatively high level of income disparity. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the seventh-largest in the world, with a market capitalisation of US$4.3 trillion as of December 2017.
Hong Kong is the seventh-largest trading entity in exports and imports, trading more goods in value than its gross domestic product. Over half of its cargo throughput consists of transshipments (goods travelling through Hong Kong). Products from mainland China account for about 40 percent of that traffic. The city's location allowed it to establish a transportation and logistics infrastructure which includes the world's fifth-busiest container port and the busiest airport for international cargo. The territory's largest export markets are mainland China and the United States.
It has little arable land and few natural resources, importing most of its food and raw materials. Imports account for more than 90 percent of Hong Kong's food supply, including nearly all its meat and rice. Agricultural activity is 0.1% of GDP, and consists of growing premium food and flower varieties.
Although the territory had one of Asia's largest manufacturing economies during the latter half of the colonial era, Hong Kong's economy is now dominated by the service sector. The sector is 92.7 percent of economic output, with the public sector accounting for about 10 percent. Between 1961 and 1997, Hong Kong's gross domestic product multiplied by a factor of 180 and while per-capita GDP increased by a factor of 87. The territory's GDP relative to mainland China's peaked at 27 percent in 1993; it fell to less than three percent in 2017, as the mainland developed and liberalised its economy.
Economic and infrastructure integration with China has increased significantly since the 1978 start of market liberalisation on the mainland. Since resumption of cross-boundary train service in 1979, many rail and road links have been improved and constructed (facilitating trade between regions). The Closer Partnership Economic Arrangement formalised a policy of free trade between the two areas, with each jurisdiction pledging to remove remaining obstacles to trade and cross-boundary investment. A similar economic partnership with Macau details the liberalisation of trade between the special administrative regions. Chinese companies have expanded their economic presence in the territory since the transfer of sovereignty. Mainland firms represent over half of the Hang Seng Index value, up from five percent in 1997.
As the mainland liberalised its economy, Hong Kong's shipping industry faced intense competition from other Chinese ports. Fifty percent of China's trade goods were routed through Hong Kong in 1997, dropping to about 13 percent by 2015. The territory's minimal taxation, common-law system, and civil service attract overseas corporations wishing to establish a presence in Asia. The city has the second-highest number of corporate headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region. Hong Kong is a gateway for foreign direct investment in China, giving investors open access to mainland Chinese markets through direct links with the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges. The territory was the first market outside mainland China for renminbi-denominated bonds, and is one of the largest hubs for offshore renminbi trading.
The government has had a passive role in the economy. Colonial governments had little industrial policy, and implemented almost no trade controls. Under the doctrine of "positive non-interventionism", post-war administrations deliberately avoided the direct allocation of resources; active intervention was considered detrimental to economic growth. While the economy transitioned to a service basis during the 1980s, late colonial governments introduced interventionist policies. Post-handover administrations continued and expanded these programmes, including export-credit guarantees, a compulsory pension scheme, a minimum wage, anti-discrimination laws, and a state mortgage backer.
Tourism is a major part of the economy, accounting for five percent of GDP. In 2016, 26.6 million visitors contributed US$32.9 billion to the territory, making Hong Kong the 14th-most-popular destination for international tourists. It is the most popular city for tourists, receiving over 70 percent more visitors than its closest competitor (Macau). The city is ranked as one of the most expensive cities for expatriates.
Hong Kong has a highly developed, sophisticated transport network. Over 90 percent of daily trips are made on public transport, the highest percentage in the world. The Octopus card, a contactless smart payment card, is widely accepted on railways, buses and ferries, and can be used for payment in most retail stores.
The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is an extensive passenger rail network, connecting 93 metro stations throughout the territory. With a daily ridership of over five million, the system serves 41 percent of all public-transit passengers in the city and has an on-time rate of 99.9 percent. Cross-boundary train service to Shenzhen is offered by the East Rail line, and longer-distance inter-city trains to Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing are operated from Hung Hom Station. Connecting service to the national high-speed rail system is provided at West Kowloon Station.
Although public-transport systems handle most passenger traffic, there are over 500,000 private vehicles registered in Hong Kong. Automobiles drive on the left (unlike in mainland China), due to historical influence of the British Empire. Vehicle traffic is extremely congested in urban areas, exacerbated by limited space to expand roads and an increasing number of vehicles. More than 18,000 taxicabs, easily identifiable by their bright colour, are licensed to carry riders in the territory. Bus services operate more than 700 routes across the territory, with smaller public light buses (also known as minibuses) serving areas standard buses do not reach as frequently or directly. Highways, organised with the Hong Kong Strategic Route and Exit Number System, connect all major areas of the territory. The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge creates a direct route to the western side of the Pearl River estuary.
Hong Kong International Airport is the territory's primary airport. Over 100 airlines operate flights from the airport, including locally based Cathay Pacific (flag carrier), Hong Kong Airlines, regional carrier Cathay Dragon, and cargo airline Air Hong Kong. It is the eighth-busiest airport by passenger traffic, and handles the most air-cargo traffic in the world. Most private recreational aviation traffic flies through Shek Kong Airfield, under the supervision of the Hong Kong Aviation Club.
The Star Ferry operates two lines across Victoria Harbour for its 53,000 daily passengers. Ferries also serve outlying islands inaccessible by other means. Smaller kai-to boats serve the most remote coastal settlements. Ferry travel to Macau and mainland China is also available. Junks, once common in Hong Kong waters, are no longer widely available and are used privately and for tourism.
The Peak Tram, Hong Kong's first public-transport system, has provided funicular rail transport between Central and Victoria Peak since 1888. The Central and Western District has an extensive system of escalators and moving pavements, including the Mid-Levels escalator (the world's longest outdoor covered escalator system). Hong Kong Tramways covers a portion of Hong Kong Island. The MTR operates its Light Rail system, serving the northwestern New Territories.
Hong Kong imports nearly all its generated electricity and fuel. The vast majority of this energy comes from fossil fuels, with 46 percent from coal and 47 percent from petroleum. The rest is from other imports, including nuclear energy generated on the mainland. Renewable sources account for a negligible amount of energy generated for the territory. Small-scale wind-power sources have been developed, and a small number of private homes have installed solar panels.
With few natural lakes and rivers, high population density, inaccessible groundwater sources, and extremely seasonal rainfall, the territory does not have a reliable source of fresh water. The Dongjiang River in Guangdong supplies 70 percent of the city's water, and the remaining demand is filled by harvesting rainwater. Toilets flush with seawater, greatly reducing freshwater use.
Broadband Internet access is widely available, with 92.6 percent of households connected. Connections over fibre-optic infrastructure are increasingly prevalent, contributing to the high regional average connection speed of 21.9 Mbit/s (the world's fourth-fastest). Mobile-phone use is ubiquitous; there are more than 18 million mobile-phone accounts, more than double the territory's population.
Hong Kong is characterised as a hybrid of East and West. Traditional Chinese values emphasising family and education blend with progressive Western ideals, including economic liberty and the rule of law. Although the vast majority of the population is ethnically Chinese, Hong Kong has developed a distinct identity. The territory diverged from the mainland due to its long period of colonial administration and a different pace of economic, social, and cultural development. Mainstream culture is derived from immigrants originating from various parts of China. This was influenced by British-style education, a separate political system, and the territory's rapid development during the late 20th century. Most incoming migrants fled poverty and war, reflected in the prevailing attitude toward wealth; Hongkongers tend to link self-image and decision-making to material benefits.
Traditional Chinese family values, including family honor, filial piety, and a preference for sons, are prevalent. Nuclear families are the most common households, although multi-generational and extended families are not unusual. Spiritual concepts such as feng shui are observed; large-scale construction projects often hire consultants to ensure proper building positioning and layout. The degree of its adherence to feng shui is believed to determine the success of a business. Bagua mirrors are regularly used to deflect evil spirits, and buildings often lack floor numbers with a 4; the number has a similar sound to the word for "die" in Cantonese.
(left) Typical fare at a dim sum restaurant; (right) cha chaan teng breakfast food with Hong Kong-style milk tea
Food in Hong Kong is based on Cantonese cuisine, despite the territory's exposure to foreign influences and its residents' varied origins. Rice is the staple food, and is usually served plain with other dishes. Freshness of ingredients is emphasised. Poultry and seafood are commonly sold live at wet markets, and ingredients are used as quickly as possible. There are five daily meals: breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and siu yeh. Dim sum, as part of yum cha (brunch), is a dining-out tradition with family and friends. Dishes include congee, cha siu bao, siu yuk, egg tarts, and mango pudding. Local versions of Western food are served at cha chaan teng (fast, casual restaurants). Common cha chaan teng menu items include macaroni in soup, deep-fried French toast, and Hong Kong-style milk tea.
Hong Kong developed into a filmmaking hub during the late 1940s as a wave of Shanghai filmmakers migrated to the territory, and these movie veterans helped rebuild the colony's entertainment industry over the next decade. By the 1960s, the city was well known to overseas audiences through films such as The World of Suzie Wong. When Bruce Lee's Way of the Dragon was released in 1972, local productions became popular outside Hong Kong. During the 1980s, films such as A Better Tomorrow, As Tears Go By, and Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain expanded global interest beyond martial arts films; locally made gangster films, romantic dramas, and supernatural fantasies became popular. Hong Kong cinema continued to be internationally successful over the following decade with critically acclaimed dramas such as Farewell My Concubine, To Live, and Chungking Express. However, the city's martial-arts-film roots are evident in the roles of the most prolific Hong Kong actors. Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Jet Li, Chow Yun-fat, and Michelle Yeoh frequently play action-oriented roles in foreign films. At the height of the local movie industry in the early 1990s, over 400 films were produced each year; since then, industry momentum shifted to mainland China. The annual number of films produced has declined, to about 60 in 2017.
Leslie Cheung (left) is considered a pioneering Cantopop artist, and Andy Lau has been an icon of Hong Kong music and film for several decades as a member of the Four Heavenly Kings.
Cantopop is a genre of Cantonese popular music which emerged in Hong Kong during the 1970s. Evolving from Shanghai-style shidaiqu, it is also influenced by Cantonese opera and Western pop. Local media featured songs by artists such as Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, and Alan Tam; during the 1980s, exported films and shows exposed Cantopop to a global audience. The genre's popularity peaked in the 1990s, when the Four Heavenly Kings dominated Asian record charts. Despite a general decline since late in the decade, Cantopop remains dominant in Hong Kong; contemporary artists such as Eason Chan, Joey Yung, and Twins are popular in and beyond the territory.
Western classical music has historically had a strong presence in Hong Kong, and remains a large part of local musical education. The publicly funded Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the territory's oldest professional symphony orchestra, frequently host musicians and conductors from overseas. The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, composed of classical Chinese instruments, is the leading Chinese ensemble and plays a significant role in promoting traditional music in the community.
Despite its small area, the territory is home to a variety of sports and recreational facilities. The city has hosted a number of major sporting events, including the 2009 East Asian Games, the 2008 Summer Olympics equestrian events, and the 2007 Premier League Asia Trophy. The territory regularly hosts the Hong Kong Sevens, Hong Kong Marathon, Hong Kong Tennis Classic and Lunar New Year Cup, and hosted the inaugural AFC Asian Cup and the 1995 Dynasty Cup.
Hong Kong represents itself separately from mainland China, with its own sports teams in international competitions. The territory has participated in almost every Summer Olympics since 1952, and has earned three medals. Lee Lai-shan won the territory's first and only Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Hong Kong athletes have won 126 medals at the Paralympic Games and 17 at the Commonwealth Games. No longer part of the Commonwealth of Nations, the city's last appearance in the latter was in 1994.
Dragon boat races originated as a religious ceremony conducted during the annual Tuen Ng Festival. The race was revived as a modern sport as part of the Tourism Board's efforts to promote Hong Kong's image abroad. The first modern competition was organised in 1976, and overseas teams began competing in the first international race in 1993.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club, the territory's largest taxpayer, has a monopoly on gambling and provides over seven percent of government revenue. Three forms of gambling are legal in Hong Kong: lotteries and betting on horse racing and football.
Education in Hong Kong is largely modelled after that of the United Kingdom, particularly the English system. Children are required to attend school from the age of six until completion of secondary education, generally at age 18. At the end of secondary schooling, all students take a public examination and awarded the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education on successful completion. Of residents aged 15 and older, 81.3% completed lower secondary schooling, 66.4% graduated from upper secondary, 31.6% attended a non-degree tertiary program, and 24% earned a bachelor's degree or higher. Mandatory education has contributed to an adult literacy rate of 95.7%. While comparatively lower than that of other developed economies, this rate is due to the influx of refugees from mainland China during the post-war colonial era. Much of the elderly population were not formally educated as a result of war and poverty.
Comprehensive schools fall under three categories: public schools, which are fully government-run; subsidised schools, including government aid-and-grant schools; and private schools, often those run by religious organisations and that base admissions on academic merit. These schools are subject to the curriculum guidelines as provided by the Education Bureau. Private schools subsidised under the Direct Subsidy Scheme and international schools fall outside of this system and may elect to use differing curricula and teach based on other languages.
The government maintains a policy of "mother tongue instruction"; schools use Cantonese as the medium of instruction, with written education in both Chinese and English. Secondary schools emphasise "bi-literacy and tri-lingualism", which has encouraged the proliferation of spoken Mandarin language education.
Hong Kong has ten universities within its territory. The University of Hong Kong was founded as the city's first institute of higher education during the early colonial period in 1911. The Chinese University of Hong Kong was established in 1963 to fill the need for a university that taught using Chinese as its primary language of instruction. Along with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and City University of Hong Kong, these universities are ranked among the best in Asia. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong Baptist University, Lingnan University, Education University of Hong Kong, Open University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong Shue Yan University were all established in subsequent years.
Hong Kong's major English-language newspaper is the South China Morning Post, with The Standard a business-oriented alternative. A variety of Chinese-language newspapers are published daily; the most prominent are Ming Pao, Oriental Daily News, and Apple Daily. Local publications are often politically affiliated, with pro-Beijing or pro-democracy sympathies. The central government has a print-media presence in the territory through the state-owned Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po. Several international publications have regional operations in Hong Kong, including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The New York Times International Edition, USA Today, Yomiuri Shimbun, and The Nikkei.
Three free-to-air television broadcasters operate in the territory; TVB, HKTVE, and Fantastic TV air three analogue and eight digital channels. TVB, Hong Kong's dominant television network, has an 80-percent viewer share. Pay TV services operated by Cable TV Hong Kong and PCCW offer hundreds of additional channels and cater to a variety of audiences. RTHK is the public broadcaster, providing seven radio channels and three television channels. Ten non-domestic broadcasters air programming for the territory's foreign population. Access to media and information over the Internet is not subject to mainland-Chinese regulations, including the Great Firewall.
Andy Lau Tak-wah, BBS, MH, JP (Chinese: 劉德華, born 27 September 1961) is a Hong Kong actor, singer, lyricist and film producer. He has been one of Hong Kong's most commercially successful film actors since the mid-1980s, performing in more than 160 films while maintaining a successful singing career at the same time. In the 1990s, Lau was branded by the media as one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop and was named as "Fourth Tiger" among the Five Tiger Generals of TVB during the 1980sLau was entered into the Guinness World Records for the "Most Awards Won by a Cantopop Male Artist". By April 2000, he had already won an unprecedented total of 292 awards. Lau also holds numerous film acting awards, having won the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actor three times and the Golden Horse Award for Best Leading Actor twice. In 2005, Lau received the "No.1 Box office Actor 1985–2005" award of Hong Kong, yielding a box office total of HK$1,733,275,816 for shooting 108 films in the past 20 years, and in 2007, he received the "Nielsen Box Office Star of Asia" award by the Nielsen Company (ACNielsen). On 25 June 2018, Lau was invited to be a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.British Hong Kong
British Hong Kong denotes the period during which Hong Kong was governed as a colony and British Dependent Territory of the United Kingdom. Excluding the Japanese occupation during the Second World War, Hong Kong was under British rule from 1841 to 1997. The colonial period began with the occupation of Hong Kong Island in 1841 during the First Opium War. The island was ceded by Qing China in the aftermath of the war in 1842 and established as a Crown colony in 1843. The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War and was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. Although Hong Kong Island and Kowloon were ceded in perpetuity, the leased area, which comprised 92 per cent of the territory, was vital to the integrity of Hong Kong that Britain agreed to transfer the entire colony to China upon the expiration of that lease in 1997. The transfer has been considered by many as marking the end of the British Empire.Bruce Lee
Lee Jun-fan (Chinese: 李振藩; November 27, 1940 – July 20, 1973), known professionally as Bruce Lee (Chinese: 李小龍), was a Hong Kong-American actor, director, martial artist, martial arts instructor, and philosopher. He was the founder of the martial art Jeet Kune Do, one of the wushu or kung fu styles. Lee was the son of Cantonese opera star Lee Hoi-chuen. He is considered by commentators, critics, media, and other martial artists to be one of the most influential martial artists and a pop culture icon of the 20th century. He is often credited with helping to change the way Asians were presented in American films.Lee was born in the Chinatown area of San Francisco, California, on November 27, 1940, to parents from Hong Kong, and was raised with his family in Kowloon, Hong Kong. He was introduced to the film industry by his father and appeared in several films as a child actor. Lee moved to the United States at the age of 18 to receive his higher education at the University of Washington in Seattle, and it was during this time that he began teaching martial arts. His Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films elevated the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim, sparking a surge of interest in Chinese martial arts in the West in the 1970s. The direction and tone of his films dramatically changed and influenced martial arts and martial arts films in the US, Hong Kong, and the rest of the world.He is noted for his roles in five feature-length films: Lo Wei's The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972); Golden Harvest's Way of the Dragon (1972), directed and written by Lee; Golden Harvest and Warner Brothers' Enter the Dragon (1973) and The Game of Death (1978), both directed by Robert Clouse. Lee became an iconic figure known throughout the world, particularly among the Chinese, based upon his portrayal of Chinese nationalism in his films and among Asian Americans for defying stereotypes associated with the emasculated Asian male. He trained in the art of Wing Chun and later combined his other influences from various sources into the spirit of his personal martial arts philosophy, which he dubbed Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist).
Lee held dual nationality in Hong Kong and the US. He died in Kowloon Tong on July 20, 1973, at the age of 32.Cantonese
Cantonese is a variety of Chinese spoken in the city of Guangzhou (also known as Canton) and its surrounding area in southeastern China. It is the traditional prestige variety and standard form of Yue Chinese, one of the major subgroups of Chinese.
In mainland China, it is the lingua franca of the province of Guangdong (being the majority language of the Pearl River Delta) and neighbouring areas such as Guangxi. It is the dominant and official language of Hong Kong and Macau. Cantonese is also widely spoken amongst overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia (most notably in Vietnam and Malaysia, as well as in Singapore and Cambodia to a lesser extent) and throughout the Western world.
While the term Cantonese specifically refers to the prestige variety, it is often used in a broader sense for the entire Yue subgroup of Chinese, including related but largely mutually unintelligible languages and dialects such as Taishanese. When Cantonese and the closely related Yuehai dialects are classified together, there are about 80 million total speakers. Cantonese is viewed as a vital and inseparable part of the cultural identity for its native speakers across large swaths of southeastern China, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as in overseas communities.
Although Cantonese shares a lot of vocabulary with Mandarin, the two varieties are mutually unintelligible because of differences in pronunciation, grammar and lexicon. Sentence structure, in particular the placement of verbs, sometimes differs between the two varieties. A notable difference between Cantonese and Mandarin is how the spoken word is written; both can be recorded verbatim, but very few Cantonese speakers are knowledgeable in the full Cantonese written vocabulary, so a non-verbatim formalized written form is adopted, which is more akin to the Mandarin written form. This results in the situation in which a Cantonese and a Mandarin text may look similar but are pronounced differently.Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its head office and main hub located at Hong Kong International Airport. The airline's operations and subsidiaries have scheduled passenger and cargo services to more than 190 destinations in more than 60 countries worldwide including codeshares and joint ventures. Cathay Pacific operates a fleet of wide-body aircraft, consisting of Airbus A330, Airbus A350 and Boeing 777 equipment. Cathay Pacific Cargo operates two models of the Boeing 747. Wholly owned subsidiary airline Cathay Dragon operates to 44 destinations in the Asia-Pacific region from its Hong Kong base. In 2010, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Pacific Cargo, together with Dragonair (rebranded Cathay Dragon), carried nearly 27 million passengers and over 1.8 million tons of cargo and mail.
The airline was founded on 24 September 1946 by Australian Sydney H. de Kantzow and American Roy C. Farrell. The airline made the world's first non-stop transpolar flight flying over the North Pole in July 1998, which was also the maiden flight to arrive at the then new Hong Kong International Airport. The airline celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2006; and as of October 2009, its major shareholders are Swire Pacific and Air China. It is reciprocally one of the major shareholders of Air China. On 6 November 2017, Qatar Airways acquired a 9.6% shareholding of Cathay Pacific, becoming its 3rd largest shareholder.Cathay Pacific is the world's tenth largest airline measured in terms of sales, and fourteenth largest measured in terms of market capitalisation. In 2010, Cathay Pacific became the world's largest international cargo airline, along with main hub Hong Kong International Airport as the world's busiest airport in terms of cargo traffic.It is one of the founding members of the Oneworld alliance. Cathay Pacific's subsidiary Cathay Dragon is an affiliate member of Oneworld.Donnie Yen
Donnie Yen Ji-dan (甄子丹; born 27 July 1963) is a Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film director, producer, action choreographer, and multiple-time world wushu tournament champion.Yen is one of Hong Kong's top action stars. Yen has displayed notable skills in a wide variety of martial arts, being well-versed in Tai Chi, Boxing, Kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do, Hapkido, Taekwondo, Karate, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wing Chun, and Wushu. Seen as one of the most popular film stars in Asia of the early 2000s, Yen is consistently one of the highest paid actors in Asia. Yen earned HK$220 million (US$28.4 million) from four films and six advertisements in 2013.Yen is credited by many for contributing to the popularisation of Wing Chun. He played Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man in the 2008 film Ip Man, which was a box office success. This has led to an increase in the number of people taking up Wing Chun, leading to hundreds of new Wing Chun schools being opened up in mainland China and other parts of Asia. Ip Chun, the eldest son of Ip Man, even mentioned that he is grateful to Yen for making his family's art popular and allowing his father's legacy to be remembered. He has also gained international recognition for playing Chirrut Îmwe in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) and Xiang in xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017).Handover of Hong Kong
The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, commonly known as the handover of Hong Kong (or simply "the Handover", also "the Return" in mainland China and Hong Kong) was the transformation of control over the United Kingdom's then colony of Hong Kong, pursuant to which it ceased to be a British Dependent Territory and became instead a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. The returned territory comprised Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula, which were respectively ceded to Britain in 1842 and 1860, as well as the New Territories, which were leased for 99 years from 1898. The transfer was arranged to coincide with the expiration of this lease on the previous day, 30 June 1997.
This Handover marked the end of British rule in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was Britain's last substantial overseas territory, with a population of approximately 6.5 million in 1997, which represented approximately 97% of the population of the British Dependant Territories as a whole at that time (the next largest, Bermuda, having a 1997 population of approximately 62,000). Consequently, the Handover is regarded by some as the final act of the British Empire, with 1 July 1997 as being the end date of the British Empire.Hong Kong Airlines
Hong Kong Airlines Ltd (Chinese: 香港航空公司) is an airline based in Hong Kong, with its headquarters in the Tung Chung district and its main hub at Hong Kong International Airport. It was established in 2006 as a member of the HNA Group.
Hong Kong Airlines’ network currently covers over 30 cities regionally, including the Gold Coast, Auckland, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guiyang, Bangkok, Bali, Taipei, Seoul, Tokyo, Sapporo and Okinawa, and the newly launched Vancouver and Los Angeles routes in 2017. It also launched San Francisco flights in 2018. The airline has a combined fleet of 43 aircraft. The current passenger fleet has 38 aircraft with an average age of about 5 years as of December 2018.Hong Kong English
Hong Kong English (Chinese: 港式英文) is the dialect of the English language most commonly used in Hong Kong. The dialect is a result of Hong Kong's British overseas territory history and the influence of native Cantonese speakers.
Being a former British colony, Hong Kong predominantly uses British spellings. Pronunciations and words are also predominantly British, although influences from American, Canadian and Australian English do exist as a result of Hollywood movies, TV and Internet culture. In fact, a lot of Hong Kong Chinese families migrated to (in alphabetical order) Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States in the 1990s after Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in mainland China, and when they move back they are less likely to use British English. There is also an influence from the significant non-Chinese demographic (e.g., expats and maids). The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority accepts "all varieties of English" as "[e]xaminers come from many different places." According to article 9 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, "English may also be used as an official language" but the law does not specify which type of English.
Cantonese English, locally referred to as Chinglish, in theory, refers to the accent and characteristics of English spoken by native Hong Kongers and other Cantonese people. Overall, it is primarily spoken by native Hong Kong language (Cantonese) speakers. Therefore, although it is called Hong Kong English, it is not only spoken in Hong Kong. People who come from Macau, Guangzhou, or whose first language is Cantonese speak it.Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport (IATA: HKG, ICAO: VHHH) is the commercial airport serving Hong Kong, built on reclaimed land on the island of Chek Lap Kok. The airport is also colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport (赤鱲角機場).
The airport has been in commercial operation since 1998, replacing Kai Tak Airport. It is an important regional trans-shipment centre, passenger hub and gateway for destinations in Mainland China (with 45 destinations) and the rest of Asia. The airport is the world's busiest cargo gateway and one of the world's busiest passenger airports. It is also home to one of the world's largest passenger terminal buildings (the largest when opened in 1998).
The airport is operated by the Airport Authority Hong Kong 24 hours a day and is the primary hub for Cathay Pacific (the flag carrier of Hong Kong), Cathay Dragon, Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Express Airways and Air Hong Kong (cargo carrier). The airport is one of the hubs of Oneworld alliance, and it is also one of the Asia-Pacific cargo hubs for UPS Airlines. It is a focus city for many airlines, including China Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. Singapore Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and Air India utilise Hong Kong as a stopover point for their flights.
HKIA is an important contributor to Hong Kong's economy, with approximately 65,000 employees. More than 100 airlines operate flights from the airport to over 180 cities across the globe. In 2015, HKIA handled 68.5 million passengers, making it the 8th busiest airport worldwide by passenger traffic. Since 2010, it has also surpassed Memphis International Airport to become the world's busiest airport by cargo traffic.The airport is managed and operated by the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA), which was established on 1 December 1995.Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island (Chinese: 香港島; Cantonese Yale: Hēunggóng dóu) is an island in the southern part of Hong Kong. It has a population of 1,289,500 and its population density is 16,390/km², as of 2008. The island had a population of about 3,000 inhabitants scattered in a dozen fishing villages when it was occupied by the United Kingdom in the First Opium War. In 1842, the island was formally ceded in perpetuity to the UK under the Treaty of Nanking and the City of Victoria was then established on the island by the British Force in honour of Queen Victoria.
The Central area on the island is the historical, political and economic centre of Hong Kong. The northern coast of the island forms the southern shore of the Victoria Harbour, which is largely responsible for the development of Hong Kong due to its deep waters favoured by large trade ships.
The island is home to many of the most famous sights in Hong Kong, such as "The Peak", Ocean Park, many historical sites and various large shopping centres. The mountain ranges across the island are also famous for hiking.
The northern part of Hong Kong Island, together with Kowloon and Tsuen Wan New Town, forms the core urban area of Hong Kong. Their combined area is approximately 88.3 square kilometres (34.1 square miles) and their combined population (that of the northern part of the island and of Kowloon) is approximately 3,156,500, reflecting a population density of 35,700/km² (91,500/sq. mi.).
The island is often referred to locally as "Hong Kong side" or "Island side". This style was formerly applied to many locations (e.g. China-side or even Kowloon Walled City-side) but is now only heard in this form and Kowloon side, suggesting the two sides of the harbour. The form was once more common in Britain than now, such as Surrey-side and is still seen in British placenames like Cheapside, Tyneside, and Teesside, not all of which have an obvious watercourse or boundary with actual sides.Hong Kong Police Force
The Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF; Chinese: 香港警務處) is the largest disciplined service under the Security Bureau of Hong Kong. It is the world's second, and Asia's first, police agency to operate with a modern policing system. It was formed on 1 May 1844 by the British Hong Kong government with a strength of 32 officers. In 1969, Queen Elizabeth II granted the 'Royal' prefix and the HKPF became the Royal Hong Kong Police Force (RHKP), only to be removed in 1997 upon the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to China.Due to the one country, two systems principle, the mainland authorities may not interfere with Hong Kong's local law enforcement affairs. Thus, HKPF is completely independent from the jurisdiction of Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China.
Hong Kong has been ranked consistently in the top ten positions in the Global Competitiveness Report in terms of its reliability of police services. Including the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force and civil servants, the force consists of about 34,000 personnel, which gave Hong Kong the second highest police officer/citizen ratio in the world in 2014. The Marine Region with about 3,000 officers and a fleet of 143 vessels in 2009, was the largest such marine division of any civil police force.Hong Kong dollar
The Hong Kong dollar (Chinese: 港幣; Cantonese Yale: Góng bàih; sign: HK$; code: HKD) is the official currency of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is the governmental currency board and also the de facto central bank for Hong Kong and the Hong Kong dollar.
Under the licence from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, three commercial banks are licensed to issue their own banknotes for general circulation in Hong Kong. The three commercial banks, HSBC, Bank of China and Standard Chartered issue their own designs of banknotes in denominations of HK$20, HK$50, HK$100, HK$500 and HK$1000, with all designs being similar to the other in the same denomination of banknote. However, the HK$10 banknote and all coins are issued by the Government of Hong Kong.
As of April 2016, the Hong Kong dollar is the thirteenth most traded currency in the world. Apart from its use in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong dollar is also used in neighbouring Macau, where the Hong Kong dollar circulates alongside the Macau pataca.Hong Kong national football team
The Hong Kong national football team (Chinese: 香港足球代表隊) represents Hong Kong in international association football competitions such as the FIFA World Cup, AFC Asian Cup and East Asian Football Championship. The team is represented and supervised by the Hong Kong Football Association, the governing body for football in Hong Kong.Jackie Chan
Chan Kong-sang (陳港生; born 7 April 1954), known professionally as Jackie Chan, is a Hong Kong martial artist, actor, film director, producer, stuntman, and singer. He is known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons, and innovative stunts, which he typically performs himself, in the cinematic world. He has trained in wushu or kungfu and hapkido, and has been acting since the 1960s, appearing in over 150 films.
Chan is one of the most recognizable and influential cinematic personalities in the world, gaining a widespread following in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres, and has received stars on the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has been referenced in various pop songs, cartoons, and video games. He is an operatically trained vocalist and is also a Cantopop and Mandopop star, having released a number of albums and sung many of the theme songs for the films in which he has starred. He is also a globally known philanthropist, and has been named as one of the top 10 most charitable celebrities by Forbes magazine. In 2004, film scholar Andrew Willis stated that Chan was "perhaps" the "most recognised star in the world". In 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $350 million, and as of 2016, he was the second-highest paid actor in the world.Legislative Council of Hong Kong
The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or LegCo (Chinese: 香港特別行政區立法會) is the unicameral parliamentary legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
The legislature is a semi-democratically elected body comprising 70 members, 35 of whom are directly elected through five geographical constituencies (GCs) under the proportional representation system with largest remainder method and Hare quota, while the other 35 are indirectly elected through trade-based functional constituencies (FCs) with limited electorates. Under the constitutional reform package passed in 2010, there are five District Council (Second) new functional constituencies nominated by the District Councillors and elected by territory-wide electorates.
The Legislative Council was first established in 1843 under the Charter of the British Colony of Hong Kong as an advisory council to the Governor. The powers and functions of the legislature expanded throughout its history. Today the main functions of the Legislative Council are to enact, amend or repeal laws; examine and approve budgets, taxation and public expenditure; and raise questions on the work of the government. In addition, the Legislative Council is also given the power to endorse the appointment and removal of the judges of the Court of Final Appeal and the Chief Judge of the High Court, as well as the power to impeach the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.Before the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1996, a Provisional Legislative Council (PLC) was unilaterally set up in Shenzhen by the Government of the People's Republic of China as opposed to the 1995 elected colonial legislature. The PLC moved to Hong Kong and replaced the legislature after the Transfer of Sovereignty of 1997, until the next general election in 1998. Since 2000, the terms of the Legislative Council are four years.
Article 68 of the Hong Kong Basic Law states the ultimate aim is the election of all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. This and a similar article dealing with election of the Chief Executive have made universal suffrage for the council and the Chief Executive the dominant issue in Hong Kong politics.Lists of Hong Kong films
This is a list of films produced in Hong Kong ordered by decade and year of release in separate pages. For film set in Hong Kong and produced elsewhere see List of films set in Hong Kong.Stephen Chow
Stephen Chow Sing Chi (Chinese: 周星馳, born 22 June 1962) is a Chinese film director, actor, producer, political adviser of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and martial artist.Triad (organized crime)
A triad is one of many branches of Chinese transnational organized crime syndicates based in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan and in countries with significant Chinese populations, such as the United States, Canada, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand.
The Hong Kong triad is distinct from mainland Chinese criminal organizations. In ancient China, the triad was one of three major secret societies. It established branches in Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Chinese communities overseas. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, all secret societies were destroyed in mainland China in a series of campaigns organized by Mao Zedong. Although organized-crime groups have returned to China after Mao, they are not triad societies. Known as "mainland Chinese criminal organizations", they are of two major types: dark forces (loosely-organized groups) and black societies (more-mature criminal organizations). Two features which distinguish a black society from a dark force are the ability to achieve illegal control over local markets, and receiving police protection. The Hong Kong triad refers to traditional criminal organizations operating in (or originating from) Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and south-east Asian countries and regions, while organized-crime groups in mainland China are known as "mainland Chinese criminal groups".
Y. K. Chu's The Triads as Business (2002) examines the rise of the Hong Kong triad and the role of triad societies in legal, illegal and international markets. Peng Wang's The Chinese Mafia (2017) studies the origin of Chinese secret societies in ancient China, explores the rise of organized crime in post-Mao China, and investigates the ways in which local gangs offer quasi-law enforcement and private protection to local governments, corporations and individuals. Wang's book also explores how local gangs form mutually-beneficial networks with police officers and how the formation of a political-criminal nexus enables local gangs to control illegal markets and sell protection to citizens and businesses.