HONG KONG

MARCH 25, 2009 BY RANG WHAM
   Introduction    Hong Kong Top of Page
Background:
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    Hong Kong Top of Page
Location:
Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China
Geographic coordinates:
22 15 N, 114 10 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
Area:
total: 1,092 sq km
land: 1,042 sq km
water: 50 sq km
Area - comparative:
six times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
total: 30 km
regional border: China 30 km
Coastline:
733 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 3 nm
Climate:
subtropical monsoon; cool and humid in winter, hot and rainy from spring through summer, warm and sunny in fall
Terrain:
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%
permanent crops: 1.01%
other: 93.94% (2001)
Irrigated land:
20 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
occasional typhoons
Environment - current issues:
air and water pollution from rapid urbanization
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Marine Dumping (associate member), Ship Pollution (associate member)
Geography - note:
more than 200 islands
   People    Hong Kong Top of Page
Population:
7,055,071 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 12.2% (male 450,833/female 411,997)
15-64 years: 74.6% (male 2,551,256/female 2,713,532)
65 years and over: 13.1% (male 434,090/female 493,363) (2009 est.)
Median age:
total: 42.3 years
male: 41.9 years
female: 42.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.504% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:
7.37 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
6.6 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
4.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 2.92 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 81.86 years
male: 79.16 years
female: 84.79 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.02 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
2,600 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Chinese/Hong Konger
adjective: Chinese/Hong Kong
Ethnic groups:
Chinese 95%, Filipino 1.6%, Indonesian 1.3%, other 2.1% (2006 census)
Religions:
eclectic mixture of local religions 90%, Christian 10%
Languages:
Chinese (Cantonese) 89.2% (official), other Chinese dialects 6.4%, English 3.2% (official), other 1.2% (2001 census)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 93.5%
male: 96.9%
female: 89.6% (2002)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 13 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
3.9% of GDP (2006)
   Government    Hong Kong Top of Page
Country name:
conventional long form: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
conventional short form: Hong Kong
local long form: Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu
local short form: Xianggang
abbreviation: HK
Dependency status:
special administrative region of China
Government type:
limited democracy
Administrative divisions:
none (special administrative region of China)
Independence:
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
Constitution:
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
Suffrage:
direct election - 18 years of age for half the legislature and a majority of seats in 18 district councils; 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
Executive branch:
chief of state: President of China HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003)
head of government: Chief Executive Donald TSANG Yam-kuen (since 24 June 2005)
cabinet: Executive Council or ExCo consists of 15 official members and 14 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 Kah-kit received 15.9%
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
Judicial branch:
Court of Final Appeal in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Political parties and leaders:
Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood or ADPL [Frederick FUNG Kin-kee]; Civic Party [KUAN Hsin-chi]; Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong or DAB [TAM Yiu Cheng]; Democratic Party [Albert HO Chun-yan]; League of Social Democrats [Raymond WONG Yuk-man]; Liberal Party [Miriam LAU Kin-yee]
note: political blocs include: pro-democracy - ADPL, Civic Party; Democratic Party, League of Social Democrats; pro-Beijing - DAB, Liberal Party, The Professional Forum (an informal group of three generally pro-government and pro-business LegCo members from functional constituencies and one independent elected from a geographic constituency); there is no political party ordinance, so there are no registered political parties; politically active groups register as societies or companies
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 [LEUNG Yiu-chung, LegCo member] (pro-democracy); Civic Act-up [Cyd HO Sau-lan, LegCo member] (pro-democracy)
International organization participation:
ADB, APEC, BIS, ICC, IHO, IMF, IMO (associate), IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITUC, UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (special administrative region of China); Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Washington, New York, and San Francisco carries out normal liaison and communication with the US Government and other US entities
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Consul General Joseph R. 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
Flag description:
red with a stylized, white, five-petal bauhinia flower in the center
   Economy    Hong Kong Top of Page
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 404% of GDP in 2007. 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 2008. 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 16.9 million in 2008, 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. More than one-third of the firms listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are now mainland Chinese companies, and they account for 60% 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 more than 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 caused a sharp slowdown in the second half of 2008, pushing the territory into recession. Hong Kong continues to link its currency closely to the US dollar, maintaining an arrangement established in 1983.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$318.2 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$223.8 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.8% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$45,300 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 0%
industry: 7.9%
services: 92% (2008 est.)
Labor force:
3.67 million (2008 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
manufacturing 6.1%, construction 1.9%, wholesale and retail trade, restaurants, and hotels 42.9%, financing, insurance, and real estate 21.4%, transport and communications 7.9%, community and social services 19.7%
note: above data exclude public sector (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate:
4.1% (December 2008 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
53.3 (2007)
Investment (gross fixed):
20.6% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $36.62 billion
expenditures: $38.89 billion (2008 est.)
Public debt:
14.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.1% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
0.5% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
5% (31 December 2008)
Stock of money:
$63.03 billion (31 December 2008)
Stock of quasi money:
$352.4 billion (31 December 2008)
Stock of domestic credit:
$272.4 billion (31 December 2008)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$1.32 trillion (31 December 2008)
Agriculture - products:
fresh vegetables; poultry, pork; fish
Industries:
textiles, clothing, tourism, banking, shipping, electronics, plastics, toys, watches, clocks
Industrial production growth rate:
0% (2008 est.)
Electricity - production:
38.4 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
44.6 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - exports:
3.7 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports:
11 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2008)
Oil - consumption:
315,400 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports:
19,480 bbl/day (2008)
Oil - imports:
334,900 bbl/day (2008)
Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2008)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - consumption:
3.08 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2008)
Natural gas - imports:
3.08 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
$22.44 billion (2008 est.)
Exports:
$362.1 billion f.o.b., including reexports (2008)
Exports - commodities:
electrical machinery and appliances, textiles, apparel, footwear, watches and clocks, toys, plastics, precious stones, printed material
Exports - partners:
China 48.7%, US 13.7%, Japan 4.5% (2007)
Imports:
$387.9 billion (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
raw materials and semi-manufactures, consumer goods, capital goods, foodstuffs, fuel (most is re-exported)
Imports - partners:
China 46.3%, Japan 10%, Taiwan 7.1%, Singapore 6.8%, US 4.9%, South Korea 4.2% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$165.9 billion (31 December 2008)
Debt - external:
$78.84 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$1.235 trillion (2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.079 trillion (2008 est.)
Exchange rates:
Hong Kong dollars (HKD) per US dollar - 7.751 (2008), 7.802 (2007), 7.7678 (2006), 7.7773 (2005), 7.788 (2004)
   Communications    Hong Kong Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
3.875 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
10.55 million (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
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 6, FM 10, shortwave 0 (2008)
Television broadcast stations:
2 (2 TV networks, each broadcasting on 2 channels) (2008)
Internet country code:
.hk
Internet hosts:
817,766 (2008)
Internet users:
3.961 million (2007)
   Transportation    Hong Kong Top of Page
Airports:
2 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Heliports:
5 (2007)
Roadways:
total: 2,009 km
paved: 2,009 km (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)
Ports and terminals:
Hong Kong
   Military    Hong Kong Top of Page
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 (2009)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,772,820
females age 16-49: 1,941,448 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,421,406
females age 16-49: 1,543,443 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 42,330
female: 38,797 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures:
NA
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of China
   Transnational Issues    Hong Kong Top of Page
Disputes - international:
none
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

This page was last updated on 19 March 2009


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