Hong Kong country profile

Getting to Know Amazing Hong Kong
Getting to Know Amazing Hong Kong
Getting to Know Amazing Hong Kong
Getting to Know Amazing Hong Kong
Getting to Know Amazing Hong KongHong Kong first became a British Colony sometime between 1839 and 1842 after the first opium war. During World War II, when islands in the Pacific got involved in the war between the U.S. and Japan, Hong Kong became occupied by Japan.

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Getting to Know Amazing Hong Kong

Hong Kong first became a British Colony sometime between 1839 and 1842 after the first opium war.  During World War II, when islands in the Pacific got involved in the war between the U.S. and Japan, Hong Kong became occupied by Japan. The control of the island however was reverted to the British Empire when the war ended and the UK held control of Hong Kong until 1997 where the island colony was turned back over to China. Due to the economic stability of the former-colony, China has since exercised a principle called one country, two systems where Mainland China and Hong Kong have different political systems, which leaves the island with a pretty high degree of autonomy. Hong Kong Basic Law governs the political system of the island but not its military defense and foreign relations.


Hong Kong and Its Geographical Statistics  


Map References:




Rainy and hot from spring through summer then sunny and warm in fall and humid and cool from fall to winter; subtropical monsoon



Lowlands in the North and Hilly to Mountainous terrain with steep slopes elsewhere


Elevation Extremes:

Highest point:

Tai Mo Shan


Lowest point:

South China Sea

Land Use:

Permanent crops:



Arable land:





Natural Resources:

Outstanding deep water harbor and feldspar


Natural Hazards:

Occasional Typhoons



International agreements:

Associate member: Marine Dumping and Ship Pollution


Current Issues:

Water and air pollution due to fast urbanization






Political Geography

Hong Kong is in eastern Asia and is spread out over 263 islands. These islands include Cheng Chau, Lantau, Hong Kong Island, Peng Chau, Tsing Yi Island, and Lamma Island. This former British colony has a total land area of 407 square miles, or 1,054 square kilometers, and 19 square miles, or 50 square kilometers of water. It has a total coastline of 733 kilometers, and its territorial sea measures 3 nautical miles. Since Hong Kong is still considered part of China even if it does has a separate form of governance and policies, it is therefore bordered mostly by Chinese territories, namely the Guangdong Provice and the Special Economic Zone of Shenzhen.


Landscape and Climate

Hong Kong is found just beneath the Tropic of Cancer; however, this does not mean that it follows the usual climate of this area, which is usually dry and hot. Since Hong Kong is situated near a large body of water, it has a humid, sub-tropical clime. This means that summers on the islands of this territory is hot as well as humid. Hong Kong enjoys occasional rain showers and thunderstorms, and warm air often comes blowing in from the southwest. It is during the summer that typhoons and the resultant landslides and floods occur occasionally. Winters in the area are sunny and mild, although it does become cloudier in January and February. Cold fronts sometimes bring cool yet strong winds from the Northern part of this region. The best seasons to visit or stay in Hong Kong are the temperate seasons of spring and fall when it is generally dry and sunny.


Political and Governmental Facts on Hong Kong


Government Type:

Limited Democracy


Country Name:

Long form (conventional)

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region


Short form (conventional)

Hong Kong


Long form (local)

Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu


Short form (local)


Dependency status:

Special Administrative Region of China



The Basic Law – this was approved by China’s National People’s Congress in March of 1990


Administrative Divisions:



Executive Body:

Chief of State, Head of Government and Cabinet


Legislative Body:

Unicameral Legislative Council (60 seats, 30 members elected by popular vote and 30 elected by functional constituencies)


Judicial Body:

Court of Final Appeal, High Court, district courts, magistrate courts and some special courts






Hong Kong is a city-state that still enjoys a high level of autonomy despite its having returned to communist China’s rule. This is due to the Sino-British Joint Declaration that enacts the one country, two systems principle, which gives Hong Kong the freedom to retain their current level of autonomy in most areas except in foreign affairs and military defense. This same declaration also stipulates that the capitalist economic system already in place in the region should be maintained and the freedom and rights of the people living in Hong Kong be guaranteed for at least 50 more years from the year it was turned over to China.

Hong Kong’s legal system works independently from the legal system of Mainland China as well. The city-state still continues to use the legal system established under British rule, which is English Common Law. The court system is made up of many different courts and these include the High Court, Court of Final Appeal, Court of First Instance, and District Court, to name but a few.


Hong Kong’s Economy

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity)

US$350.4 billion (2011 est.)

GDP (Official Exchange rate)

US$242.4 billion (2011 est.)

GDP Real Growth Rate

5% (2011 est.)

Labor Force:

3.703 million (2011 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

3.4% (2011 est.)


expenditures: $46.97 billion
revenues: $55.53 billion (2011 est.)

Public Debt:

10.1% of GDP (2011 est.)




Hong Kong is a city-state that enjoys what is called a free market economy. This is highly reliant on international trade and finance. Hong Kong’s value of goods, re-exports, and services is 4 times that of the GDP. This kind of an economy left Hong Kong vulnerable to the worldwide economic slowdown that started in 2008, although its slow integration to mainland China helped it recover a bit more quickly than those in Europe and the US.

Despite its being associated with mainland China, Hong Kong still trades with its mother country like a separate entity, and China is considered its biggest trading partner. Since Hong Kong does not have much by way of natural resources, raw materials and food have to be imported.

Hong Kong is the premier stock market that Chinese companies use when they want to list abroad. Forty-three percent those that were listed on the HKSE (Hong Kong Stock Exchange) in 2011 are mainland Chinese companies. The HKSE is the seventh largest in the world.  In the past decade, changes in how Hong Kong operated occurred with the manufacturing industry shifting over to the mainland and service industry companies seeing a huge rise in growth.

While the city-state is indeed a good place for investments, it has been noted that it is one of the most expensive countries in the world to be an expatriate in. It ranks eighth in the world’s list of most expensive cities for expats to live in.  It is also interesting to know that despite the high cost of living in Hong Kong, more and more businessmen consider it as the place to be and this is because it ranks second in the ease of doing business index, second only to Singapore.


People and Culture

People from the West actually don’t find it hard to adjust to life in Hong Kong mainly because the city-state has an East-meets-West kind of vibe. This is due mainly to the Chinese heritage of the people mixed with the influences of the colonization by the British Empire. Expect to have modern architecture influenced by the ancient art of feng shui and buildings that do not have floors with the number 4 in it since this number in Cantonese is very close to the word “die.”

Food here is also an eclectic mix of Western fast food joints and traditional Chinese fare like dimsum and hot pot. Entertainment choices also reflect this mix with ancient martial arts being integrated into modern movies. You can also find a lot of cultural institutions here that show the influence of both sides like the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, which offers courses in classical music using instruments from the west and Chinese traditional theater.