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  Introduction Back To Top

Occupied by the UK in 1841, Hong Kong was formally ceded by China the following year; various adjacent lands were added later in the 19th century. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and the UK on 19 December 1984, Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. In this agreement, China promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system would not be imposed on Hong Kong and that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.

  Geography Back To Top

Land boundaries:
total: 30 km
regional border: China 30 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Marine Dumping (associate member), Ship Pollution (associate member)

subtropical monsoon; cool and humid in winter, hot and rainy from spring through summer, warm and sunny in fall

Map references:
Southeast Asia

Geographic coordinates:
22 15 N, 114 10 E

Natural resources:
outstanding deepwater harbor, feldspar

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Tai Mo Shan 958 m

hilly to mountainous with steep slopes; lowlands in north

Geography - note:
more than 200 islands

total: 1,092 sq km
land: 1,042 sq km
water: 50 sq km

Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China

733 km

Area - comparative:
six times the size of Washington, DC

Irrigated land:
20 sq km (1998 est.)

Environment - current issues:
air and water pollution from rapid urbanization

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 3 nm

Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons

Land use:
arable land: 5.05%
permanent crops: 1.01%
other: 93.94% (2001)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.87 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2,600 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 81.77 years
male: 79.07 years
female: 84.69 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 93.5%
male: 96.9%
female: 89.6% (2002)

Net migration rate:
4.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Chinese 95%, Filipino 1.6%, Indonesian 1.3%, other 2.1% (2006 census)

Median age:
total: 41.7 years
male: 41.4 years
female: 42 years (2008 est.)

7,018,636 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.9% of GDP (2006)

Population growth rate:
0.532% (2008 est.)

Chinese (Cantonese) 89.2% (official), other Chinese dialects 6.4%, English 3.2% (official), other 1.2% (2001 census)

Death rate:
6.6 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 2.93 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.11 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 13 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 12.6% (male 463,300/female 422,945)
15-64 years: 74.4% (male 2,535,246/female 2,684,495)
65 years and over: 13% (male 425,500/female 487,150) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
7.37 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

eclectic mixture of local religions 90%, Christian 10%

noun: Chinese/Hong Konger
adjective: Chinese/Hong Kong

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Consul General Joseph A. DONOVAN, Jr.
consulate(s) general: 26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
mailing address: PSC 461, Box 1, FPO AP 96521-0006
telephone: [852] 2523-9011
FAX: [852] 2845-1598

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

direct election - 18 years of age for a number of non-executive positions; universal for permanent residents living in the territory of Hong Kong for the past seven years; indirect election - limited to about 220,000 members of functional constituencies and an 800-member election committee drawn from broad regional groupings, central government bodies, and municipal organizations

Government type:
limited democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Chinese General Chamber of Commerce (pro-China); Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong; Confederation of Trade Unions or CTU (pro-democracy) [LAU Chin-shek, president; LEE Cheuk-yan, general secretary]; Federation of Hong Kong Industries; Federation of Trade Unions or FTU (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]; Neighborhood and Workers' Service Center or NWSC (pro-democracy); The Alliance [Bernard CHAN, executive committee member]

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (special administrative region of China); Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Washington and two other cities carries out normal liaison and communication with the US Government and other US entities

Dependency status:
special administrative region of China

International organization participation:
ADB, APEC, BIS, ICC, IHO, IMF, IMO (associate), IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITUC, UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WMO, WTO

Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislative Council or LEGCO (60 seats; 30 seats indirectly elected by functional constituencies, 30 elected by popular vote; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 7 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - pro-democracy 57%; pro-Beijing 40%, independent 3%; seats by parties - (pro-Beijing 35) DAB 13, Liberal Party 7, FTU 1, others 14; (pro-democracy 23) Democratic Party 8, Civic Party 5, CTU 3, League of Social Democrats 3, ADPL 2, The Frontier 1, NWSC 1; others 11; independents and non-voting LEGCO president 2

Legal system:
based on English common law

Flag description:
red with a stylized, white, five-petal bauhinia flower in the center

none (special administrative region of China)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
conventional short form: Hong Kong
local long form: Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu
local short form: Xianggang
abbreviation: HK

Political parties and leaders:
Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood or ADPL [Frederick FUNG Kin-kee]; Citizens Party [Alex CHAN Kai-chung]; Civic Party [KUAN Hsin-chi]; Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong or DAB [TAM Yiu Cheng]; Democratic Party [Albert HO]; The Frontier [Emily LAU Wai-hing]; League of Social Democrats [Raymond WONG]; Liberal Party [Miriam LAU Kin-yee]
note: political blocs include: pro-democracy - ADPL, Civic Party; Democratic Party, The Frontier, League of Social Democrats; pro-Beijing - DAB, Liberal Party, The Alliance (a group of five generally pro-government and pro-business Legco members from functional constituencies); there is no political party ordinance, so there are no registered political parties; politically active groups register as societies or companies

Basic Law, approved in March 1990 by China's National People's Congress, is Hong Kong's "mini-constitution"

Executive branch:
chief of state: President of China HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003)
head of government: Chief Executive Donald TSANG (since 24 June 2005)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of 15 official members and 16 non-official members
elections: chief executive elected for five-year term by 800-member electoral committee; last held on 25 March 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: Donald TSANG elected chief executive receiving 84.1% of the vote of the election committee; Alan LEONG received 15.9%

Administrative divisions:
none (special administrative region of China)

Judicial branch:
Court of Final Appeal in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
China 48.7%, US 13.7%, Japan 4.5% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
38.02 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
5.75% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
10.96 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$22.44 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$78.84 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
3.5% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
22,420 bbl/day (2006)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$45,300 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
20.6% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$259.7 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$318.2 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$223.8 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
53.3 (2007)

Exchange rates:
Hong Kong dollars (HKD) per US dollar - 7.8 (2008 est.), 7.802 (2007), 7.7678 (2006), 7.7773 (2005), 7.788 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
2.8% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$51.25 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
3.67 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
China 46.3%, Japan 10%, Taiwan 7.1%, Singapore 6.8%, US 4.9%, South Korea 4.2% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0%
industry: 7.9%
services: 92% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
314,700 bbl/day (2006)

$362.8 billion f.o.b., including reexports (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
2.69 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Hong Kong dollar (HKD)

Economy - overview:
Hong Kong has a free market economy highly dependent on international trade and finance, which has left it heavily exposed to the global economic slowdown that began in 2008. The total value of goods and services trade, including the sizable share of reexports, was equivalent to 400% of GDP in 2006. The territory has become increasingly integrated with mainland China over the past few years through trade, tourism, and financial links. The mainland has long been Hong Kong's largest trading partner, accounting for nearly 49% of Hong Kong's exports trade by value in 2007. As a result of China's easing of travel restrictions, the number of mainland tourists to the territory has surged from 4.5 million in 2001 to 15.5 million in 2007, when they outnumbered visitors from all other countries combined. Hong Kong has also established itself as the premier stock market for Chinese firms seeking to list abroad. Bolstered by several successful initial public offerings in early 2007, by September 2007 mainland companies accounted for one-third of the firms listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and more than half of the Exchange's market capitalization. During the past decade, as Hong Kong's manufacturing industry moved to the mainland, its service industry has grown rapidly and now accounts for 92% of the territory's GDP. Hong Kong's natural resources are limited, and food and raw materials must be imported. GDP growth averaged a strong 5% from 1989 to 2007, but the global financial crisis pushed the economy into a sharp slowdown in the second half of 2008, putting the territory on the brink of its third recession in the past decade. Hong Kong continues to link its currency closely to the US dollar, maintaining an arrangement established in 1983.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
raw materials and semi-manufactures, consumer goods, capital goods, foodstuffs, fuel (most is re-exported)

textiles, clothing, tourism, banking, shipping, electronics, plastics, toys, watches, clocks

Electricity - exports:
4.035 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
6.75% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$578.1 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
36.61 billion kWh (2007 est.)

$389.8 billion (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
manufacturing 6.5%, construction 2.1%, wholesale and retail trade, restaurants, and hotels 43.3%, financing, insurance, and real estate 20.7%, transport and communications 7.8%, community and social services 19.5%
note: above data exclude public sector (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$161.4 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
293,100 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.079 trillion (2008 est.)

Public debt:
14.5% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$1.235 trillion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$2.97 trillion (2007 est.)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
electrical machinery and appliances, textiles, apparel, footwear, watches and clocks, toys, plastics, precious stones, printed material

Economic aid - recipient:
$6.95 million (2004)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
2.69 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $36.62 billion
expenditures: $38.89 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 April - 31 March

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
3.961 million (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
3.875 million (2007)

1.84 million (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 5, FM 9, shortwave 0 (2004)

4.45 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
10.55 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
55 (2 TV networks, each broadcasting on 2 channels) (2007)

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; multiple international submarine cables provide connections to Asia, US, Australia, the Middle East, and Western Europe; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Pacific Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean); coaxial cable to Guangzhou, China

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
17 (2000)

Internet hosts:
817,766 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Hong Kong

5 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 1,114
by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 525, cargo 142, carrier 3, chemical tanker 68, combination ore/oil 2, container 205, liquefied gas 22, passenger 6, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 114, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 9, vehicle carrier 7
foreign-owned: 703 (Belgium 3, Canada 44, China 324, Denmark 24, France 1, Germany 6, Greece 22, Indonesia 7, Iran 15, Japan 111, South Korea 3, Norway 40, Philippines 1, Portugal 1, Russia 2, Singapore 18, Syria 1, Taiwan 11, UAE 1, UK 39, US 29)
registered in other countries: 357 (Bahamas 30, Bermuda 4, Cambodia 8, China 12, Cyprus 2, Georgia 2, Honduras 1, India 1, Jamaica 1, Kiribati 4, Liberia 44, Malaysia 14, Malta 1, Marshall Islands 4, Mexico 1, Netherlands Antilles 2, Norway 20, Panama 130, Philippines 1, Portugal 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6, Seychelles 1, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 47, Tuvalu 7, UK 2, Vietnam 1, unknown 8) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)

total: 2,009 km
paved: 2,009 km (2007)

2 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,772,820
females age 16-49: 1,941,448 (2008 est.)

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of China

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,438,165
females age 16-49: 1,561,252 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
no regular indigenous military forces; Hong Kong garrison of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) includes elements of the PLA Ground Forces, PLA Navy, and PLA Air Force; these forces are under the direct leadership of the Central Military Commission in Beijing and under administrative control of the adjacent Guangzhou Military Region (2007)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 42,173
female: 38,753 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:

Illicit drugs:
despite strenuous law enforcement efforts, faces difficult challenges in controlling transit of heroin and methamphetamine to regional and world markets; modern banking system provides conduit for money laundering; rising indigenous use of synthetic drugs, especially among young people

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