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Flag of Hong Kong
Map of 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 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.
Geography Hong Kong
Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China
Geographic coordinates:
22 15 N, 114 10 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
total: 1,092 sq km
water: 50 sq km
land: 1,042 sq km
Area - comparative:
six times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
total: 30 km
border countries: China 30 km
733 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 3 NM
tropical 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 harbor, feldspar
Land use:
arable land: 5.05%
other: 93.94% (1998 est.)
permanent crops: 1.01%
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), Ship Pollution (associate member)
Geography - note:
more than 200 islands
People Hong Kong
7,303,334 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 17.5% (male 679,311; female 599,811)
15-64 years: 71.6% (male 2,587,509; female 2,641,418)
65 years and over: 10.9% (male 364,864; female 430,421) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.26% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
10.92 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
6.11 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
7.76 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
5.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.8 years
female: 82.69 years (2002 est.)
male: 77.1 years
Total fertility rate:
1.3 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.06% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2,500 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (1999 est.)
noun: Chinese
adjective: Chinese
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: 92.2%
male: 96%
female: 88.2% (1996 est.)
Government Hong Kong
Country name:
conventional long form: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
conventional short form: Hong Kong
local short form: Xianggang
local long form: Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu
abbreviation: HK
Dependency status:
special administrative region of China
Government type:
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 100,000 members of functional constituencies and an 800-member election committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organizations, and central government bodies
Executive branch:
chief of state: President of China JIANG Zemin (since 27 March 1993)
head of government: Chief Executive TUNG Chee-hwa (since 1 July 1997)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of three ex-officio members and 10 appointed members; ex-officio members are: Chief Secretary Donald TSANG Yam-kuen (since 1 May 2001), Financial Secretary Antony LEUNG (since 1 May 2001), and Secretary of Justice Elsie LEUNG (since 1 July 1997)
elections: NA
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Council or LEGCO (60 seats; 30 indirectly elected by functional constituencies, 24 elected by popular vote, and 6 elected by an 800-member election committee; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 10 September 2000 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Democratic Party 12, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong 10, Liberal Party 7, Frontier Party 5, Hong Kong Progressive Alliance 4, New Century Forum 2, Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood 1, independents 19
Judicial branch:
The Court of Final Appeal in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Political parties and leaders:
Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood [Frederick FUNG Kin-kee, chairman]; Citizens Party [Alex CHAN Kai-chung]; Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong [Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, chairman]; Democratic Party [Martin LEE Chu-ming, chairman]; Frontier Party [Emily LAU Wai-hing, chairwoman]; Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood [leader NA]; Hong Kong Progressive Alliance [Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen]; Liberal Party [James TIEN Pei-chun, chairman]; New Century Forum [NQ Ching-fai, chairman]
note: political blocs include: pro-democracy - Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, Citizens Party, Democratic Party, Frontier Party; pro-Beijing - Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Progressive Alliance, Liberal Party, New Century Forum
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Chinese General Chamber of Commerce (pro-China); Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong; Confederation of Trade Unions (pro-democracy) [LAU Chin-shek, president; LEE Cheuk-yan, general secretary]; Federation of Hong Kong Industries; Federation of Trade Unions (pro-China) [LEE Chark-tim, president]; Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China [Szeto WAH, chairman]; Hong Kong and Kowloon Trade Union Council (pro-Taiwan); Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce; Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union [CHEUNG Man-kwong, president]; Liberal Democratic Federation [HU Fa-kuang, chairman]
International organization participation:
APEC, AsDB, BIS, CCC, ESCAP (associate), ICC, ICFTU, IHO, IMO (associate), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, ISO (correspondent), WCL, WMO, WToO (associate), WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (special administrative region of China)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Consul General Michael KLOSSON
consulate(s) general: 26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
mailing address: PSC 464, Box 30, FPO AP 96522-0002
telephone: [852] 2523-9011
FAX: [852] 2845-1598
Flag description:
red with a stylized, white, five-petal bauhinia flower in the center
Economy Hong Kong
Economy - overview:
Hong Kong has a bustling free market economy highly dependent on international trade. Natural resources are limited, and food and raw materials must be imported. Indeed, imports and exports, including reexports, 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. Per capita GDP compares with the level in the four big economies of Western Europe. GDP growth averaged a strong 5% in 1989-97. The widespread Asian economic difficulties in 1998 hit this trade-dependent economy quite hard, with GDP down 5%. The economy, with growth of 10% in 2000, recovered rapidly from the Asian financial crisis. The recent global downturn has badly hurt Hong Kong's exports and GDP growth is estimated to be 0% in 2001. Private sector analysts project 2002 GDP growth to be 1.8%.
purchasing power parity - $180 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
0% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $25,000 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0%
industry: 14%
services: 86% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-1.6% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
3.44 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
wholesale and retail trade, restaurants, and hotels 31%, financing, insurance, and real estate 13%, community and social services 11%, manufacturing 7%, transport and communications 6%, construction 2%, other 30% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
5.2% (2001 est.)
revenues: $22.9 billion
expenditures: $24.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $465 million (FY00/01)
textiles, clothing, tourism, banking, shipping, electronics, plastics, toys, watches, clocks
Industrial production growth rate:
-9% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
29.449 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
35.402 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
1.181 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
9.195 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
fresh vegetables; poultry, fish, pork
$191 billion f.o.b., including reexports (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
clothing, textiles, footwear, electrical appliances, watches and clocks, toys, plastics, precious stones
Exports - partners:
China 34%, US 23%, Japan 6%, Germany 4%, UK 4%, Taiwan 3%, Singapore 2% (2000)
$203 billion (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, transport equipment, raw materials, semimanufactures, petroleum, plastics, machinery, electrical equipment; a large share is reexported
Imports - partners:
China 43%, Japan 12%, Taiwan 8%, US 7%, South Korea 5%, Singapore 3% (2000)
Debt - external:
$58.8 billion (2001 est.)
Hong Kong dollar (HKD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Hong Kong dollars per US dollar - 7.798 (January 2002), 7.7994 (2001), 7.7918 (2000), 7.7589 (1999), 7.7462 (1998), 7.7425 (1997); note - the Hong Kong dollar is linked to the US dollar at a rate of about 7.8 Hong Kong dollars per US dollar
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Hong Kong
Telephones - main lines in use:
3.839 million (1999)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
3.7 million (December 1999)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern facilities provide excellent domestic and international services
domestic: microwave radio relay links and extensive fiber-optic network
international: 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 7, FM 13, shortwave 0 (1998)
4.45 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
4 (plus two repeaters) (1997)
1.84 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
17 (2000)
Internet users:
4.35 million (2002)
Transportation Hong Kong
total: 34 km
standard gauge: 34 km 1.435-m gauge (electrified and double-tracked)
note: connects to China railway system at Hong Kong-China border (2001)
total: 1,831 km
paved: 1,831 km
unpaved: 0 km (1997)
Ports and harbors:
Hong Kong
Merchant marine:
total: 433 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 13,539,257 GRT/22,682,757 DWT
ships by type: barge carrier 1, bulk 264, cargo 38, chemical tanker 10, combination bulk 2, container 73, liquefied gas 8, multi-functional large-load carrier 1, petroleum tanker 32, refrigerated cargo 1, short-sea passenger 1, vehicle carrier 2
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Belgium 5, Belize 1, British Virgin Islands 1, China 115, Denmark 2, Germany 19, Greece 2, India 8, Japan 8, Liberia 1, Malaysia 7, Norway 1, Panama 2, Philippines 5, Singapore 7, South Korea 2, Taiwan 1, United Kingdom 27, Virgin Islands (UK) 1 (2002 est.)
3 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2002)
2 (2002)
Military Hong Kong
Military branches:
no regular indigenous military forces; Hong Kong garrison of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) including 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 manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 2,028,208 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,523,378 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 47,139 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of China
Transnational Issues Hong Kong
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
strenuous law enforcement efforts, but faces serious challenges in controlling transit of heroin and methamphetamine to regional and world markets; modern banking system provides a conduit for money laundering; rising indigenous use of synthetic drugs, especially among young people

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003