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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
regional border: China 30 km
733 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
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)
Geography - note:
more than 200 islands
People Hong Kong
6,855,125 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.2% (male 510,702; female 465,145)
15-64 years: 73.3% (male 2,461,914; female 2,560,382)
65 years and over: 12.5% (male 394,697; female 462,285) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 39.4 years
male: 39.3 years
female: 39.6 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.65% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
7.23 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
5.98 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
5.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.09 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 2.97 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 3.16 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 81.39 years
male: 78.72 years
female: 84.3 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
0.91 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2,600 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (2001 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: 94%
male: 97.1%
female: 90.5% (2003 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:
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 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 HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003)
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 Henry TANG (since 2 August 2003), and Secretary of Justice Elsie LEUNG (since 1 July 1997)
elections: TUNG Chee-hwa was elected to a second term in March 2002 by an 800-member election committee dominated by pro-Beijing forces; the next election is scheduled to be held in 2007
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 10 September 2000 (next to be held in September 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:
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 [MA Lik, chairman]; Democratic Party [YEUNG Sum, chairman]; Frontier Party [Emily LAU Wai-hing, chairwoman]; Hong Kong Progressive Alliance [Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen]; Liberal Party [James TIEN Pei-chun, chairman]; New Century Forum [MA Fung-kwok, 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) [CHENG Yiu-tong, executive councilor]; 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, ICC, ICFTU, IHO, IMO (associate), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, ISO (correspondent), WCL, WCO, 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 James KEITH
consulate(s) general: 26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
mailing address: PSC 461, Box 1, FPO AP 96521-0006
telephone: [852] 2523-9011
FAX: [852] 2524-0860
Flag description:
red with a stylized, white, five-petal bauhinia flower in the center
Economy Hong Kong
Economy - overview:
Hong Kong has a free market economy highly dependent on international trade. Natural resources are limited, and food and raw materials must be imported. 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. Hong Kong has been further integrating its economy with China because China's growing openness to the world economy has increased competitive pressure on Hong Kong's service industries, and Hong Kong's re-export business from China is a major driver of growth. Per capita GDP compares with the level in the four big economies of Western Europe. GDP growth averaged a strong 5% in 1989-1997, but Hong Kong suffered two recessions in the past 6 years because of the Asian financial crisis in 1998 and the global downturn of 2001-2002. The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak also battered Hong Kong's economy, but a boom in tourism from the mainland because of China's easing of travel restrictions, a return of consumer confidence, and a solid rise in exports resulted in the resumption of strong growth in late 2003.
purchasing power parity - $212.2 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.9% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $28,700 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.1%
industry: 12.9%
services: 87.1% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
-2.6% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
3.48 million (2002 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
wholesale and retail trade, restaurants, and hotels 43.5%, financing, insurance, and real estate 19.5%, community and social services 17.8%, manufacturing 8.2%, transport and communications 7.8%, construction 2.9% (Note: above data exclude public sector) (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate:
7.9% (2003)
revenues: $22.8 billion
expenditures: $30.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $5 billion (FY02/03)
textiles, clothing, tourism, banking, shipping, electronics, plastics, toys, watches, clocks
Industrial production growth rate:
2.7% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
30.48 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
37.12 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
1.581 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
10.36 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
257,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
680.9 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
680.9 million cu m (2001 est.)
Agriculture - products:
fresh vegetables, poultry, fish, pork
$225.9 billion f.o.b., including reexports (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
electrical machinery and appliances, textiles, apparel, footwear, watches and clocks, toys, plastics, precious stones
Exports - partners:
China 39.3%, US 21.4%, Japan 5.4% (2002)
$230.3 billion (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
electrical machinery and appliances, textiles, foodstuffs, transport equipment, raw materials, semimanufactures, petroleum, plastics; a large share is reexported
Imports - partners:
China 44.2%, Japan 11.3%, Taiwan 7.2%, US 5.7%, South Korea 4.7%, Singapore 4.7% (2002)
Debt - external:
$61.2 billion (2003 est.)
Hong Kong dollar (HKD)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Hong Kong dollars per US dollar - 7.79 (2003), 7.8 (2002), 7.8 (2001), 7.79 (2000), 7.76 (1999)
Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March
Communications Hong Kong
Telephones - main lines in use:
3,831,800 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
6,395,700 (2002)
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 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 hosts:
398,151 (2002)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
17 (2000)
Internet users:
2,918,800 (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 (1999 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Hong Kong
Merchant marine:
total: 663 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 20,478,042 GRT/34,554,455 DWT
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk 364, cargo 78, chemical tanker 23, combination bulk 2, combination ore/oil 3, container 97, liquefied gas 20, multi-functional large load carrier 1, petroleum tanker 60, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 4, short-sea/passenger 1, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 4
registered in other countries: 569 (2003 est.)
foreign-owned: Australia 2, Belgium 1, British Virgin Islands 1, China 178, Cyprus 1, Denmark 3, France 2, Germany 14, Greece 4, India 9, Indonesia 2, Japan 22, South Korea 2, Malaysia 3, Monaco 9, Norway 16, Panama 4, Philippines 17, Singapore 22, Taiwan 3, Thailand 1, United Kingdom 22, United States 1
4 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 4
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)
914 to 1523 m: 1
2 (2003 est.)
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 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,878,574 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 1,404,705 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 41,821 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
NA% (FY02)
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of China
Transnational Issues Hong Kong
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 a conduit for money laundering; rising indigenous use of synthetic drugs, especially among young people