Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR)
General informationEnglish name:Hong KongChinese name:香港Chinese pinyin: XianggangArea: 1104 square kmPopulation: 7,055,071 (2010)Official language(s): Chinese, EnglishSpoken languages:Cantonese,EnglishGDP (nominal): US$223.764 billion (2008)GDP Per capita: US$31,849Currency: Hong Kong dollar (HKD)Time zone: HKT (UTC+8)Coordinates: 22°9'-22°37'N 113°52'-114°30'EJanuary Average Temperature: 15°C (59°F)July Average Temperature: 29°C (84.2°F)Average Elevation: 32 metersAnnual Rainfall: 2,383 mmAnnual Sunshine: 1,843 hoursPhone Area Code: 852Electricity: 220V / 50Hz UK plugLying at the southeastern tip of China, Hong Kong (Chinese:香港, English meaning:fragrant harbor) Special Administrative Region (SAR) adjoins the province of Guangdong (Canton) and is just south of the Tropic of Cancer. The total land area of Hong Kong is 1,078 square kilometers, comprising Hong Kong Island (77.5 square kilometres); Kowloon (45.5 square kilometres); and the New Territories, including 235 outlying islands (955 square kilometres). Today Hong Kong has become a great international trading post, a powerful manufacturing base, and one of the world's largest financial centres. 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 of Hong KongHong Kong is located on China's south coast, 60 km (37 mi) east of Macau on the opposite side of the Pearl River Delta. It is surrounded by the South China Sea on the east, south, and west, and borders the Guangdong city of Shenzhen to the north over the Shenzhen River. The territory's 1,104 km2 (426 sq mi) area consists of Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories, and over 200 offshore islands, of which the largest is Lantau Island. Of the total area, 1,054 km2 (407 sq mi) is land and 50 km2 (19 sq mi) is inland water. Hong Kong claims territorial waters to a distance of 3 nautical miles (5.6 km). Its land area makes Hong Kong the 179th largest inhabited territory in the world. As much of Hong Kong's terrain is hilly to mountainous with steep slopes, less than 25% of the territory's landmass is developed, and about 40% of the remaining land area is reserved as country parks and nature reserves. Most of the territory's urban development exists on Kowloon peninsula, along the northern edge of Hong Kong Island, and in scattered settlements throughout the New Territories. The highest elevation in the territory is at Tai Mo Shan, 957 metres (3,140 ft) above sea level. Hong Kong's long and irregular coast provides it with many bays, rivers and beaches. Despite Hong Kong's reputation of being intensely urbanised, the territory has tried to promote a green environment, and recent growing public concern has prompted the severe restriction of further land reclamation from Victoria Harbour. Awareness of the environment is growing as Hong Kong suffers from increasing pollution compounded by its geography and tall buildings. Approximately 80% of the city's smog originates from other parts of the Pearl River Delta.
Climate of Hong KongSituated just south of the Tropic of Cancer, Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa). Summer is hot and humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms, and warm air coming from the southwest. Summer is when typhoons are most likely, sometimes resulting in flooding or landslides. Winter weather usually starts sunny and becomes cloudier towards February, with the occasional cold front bringing strong, cooling winds from the north. The most temperate seasons are spring, which can be changeable, and autumn, which is generally sunny and dry. Hong Kong averages 1,948 hours of sunshine per year, while the highest and lowest ever recorded temperatures at the Hong Kong Observatory are 36.1 °C (97.0 °F) and 0.0 °C (32.0 °F), respectively.
Economy of Hong KongHong Kong has a free market economy highly dependent on international trade and finance - the value of goods and services trade, including the sizable share of re-exports, is about four times GDP. Hong Kong's open economy left it exposed to the global economic slowdown, but its increasing integration with China helped it recover from the downturn more quickly than many observers anticipated. Hong Kong over the past few years has become increasingly integrated with China through trade, tourism, and financial links. The Hong Kong government is promoting the Special Administrative Region (SAR) as the site for Chinese Renminbi (RMB) internationalization. Hong Kong residents are allowed to establish RMB-denominated savings accounts; RMB-denominated corporate and Chinese government bonds have been issued in Hong Kong; and RMB trade settlement is allowed. The government is pursuing efforts to introduce additional use of RMB in Hong Kong financial markets. The mainland has long been Hong Kong's largest trading partner, accounting for about half of Hong Kong's exports by value. 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 17.7 million in 2009, outnumbering visitors from all other countries combined. Hong Kong has also established itself as the premier stock market for Chinese firms seeking to list abroad. About 40% of the firms listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are now mainland Chinese companies. These firms account for 60% of the Exchange's market capitalization and over 70% of turnover. During the past decade, as Hong Kong's manufacturing industry moved to the mainland, its service industry has grown rapidly and in 2009 accounted for more than 90% 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 4% from 1989 to 2008. Hong Kong's GDP fell in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, but a recovery began in third quarter 2009. Hong Kong continues to link its currency closely to the US dollar, maintaining an arrangement established in 1983.
History of Hong KongThe bustling city of Hong Kong was just a collection of fishing villages when claimed by Britain in 1842 following the First Opium War with China. This failed attempt by the Ching Dynasty to stop the British trading in opium led to Hong Kong being ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Nanking that year. The Kowloon Peninsula was handed over in 1860 and a 99-year lease on the New Territories, comprising the area north of Kowloon up to the Shenzhen River plus 235 outlying islands, was granted in 1898.Under the unique principle of 'One Country, Two Systems', Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997 as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. This arrangement allows Hong Kong to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, retaining its capitalist system, independent judiciary and rule of law, free trade and freedom of speech.Hong Kong's magnificent harbour has been the key to its development as a trading port and entrepôt for China, progressing through an industrial era to become a leading financial and services centre in Asia. The unique blend of eastern and western influences, matched by diverse attractions and stunning countryside, has also made Hong Kong Asia's prime tourist destination.
Administrative divisionsDistrict Population (2006_est.) Area (km²)Hong Kong Island (香港島) 1,268,112 79.68Central and Western (中西區) 250,064 12.44Wan Chai (灣仔區) 155,196 9.83Eastern (東區) 587,690 18.56Southern (南區) 275,162 38.85Kowloon (九龍) 2,019,533 46.93Yau Tsim Mong (油尖旺區) 280,548 6.99Sham Shui Po (深水埗區) 365,540 9.35Kowloon City (九龍城區) 362,501 10.02Wong Tai Sin (黃大仙區) 423,521 9.30Kwun Tong (觀塘區) 587,423 11.27New Territories (新界) 3,573,635 953.48Kwai Tsing (葵青區) 523,300 23.34 Tsuen Wan (荃灣區) 288,728 61.71 Tuen Mun (屯門區) 502,035 82.89 Yuen Long (元朗區) 534,192 138.46 North (北區) 280,730 136.61 Tai Po (大埔區) 293,542 136.15 Sha Tin (沙田區) 607,544 68.71 Sai Kung (西貢區) 406,442 129.65 Islands (離島區) 137,122 175.12
Places of Interests and Tourist Attractions of Hong Kong
Hong Kong IslandEvery visitor to Hong Kong Island makes the trip to Victoria Peak, which has one of the most spectacular views in the world. It is also a good way to orient yourself to Hong Kong's sometimes confusing geography. Another major tourist attraction is Aberdeen, on the southern side of Hong Kong Island, where 6000 people live or work on junks anchored in the harbour. Sampan tours of the Aberdeen Harbour are definitely worth the expense. The other major draw is the floating restaurants.The most popular beach is Repulse Bay, also on the southern side of the island, but it gets extremely crowded on weekends. Stanley, with its laid-back atmosphere, is another good spot for escaping Hong Kong's hustle and bustle.City attractions include the Central Market, which visitors will have no trouble finding, the old Man Mo Temple, and the Zoological & Botanic Gardens.
Victoria PeakVictoria Peak is also called "Tai Ping Shan". It is the highest point in Hong Kong at 554 meters where toursits can enjoy a spectacular view of the entire Hong Kong Island, the harbor, and Kowloon, It is one of the best views in the world. The Peak itself offers delightful walks amid mountain greenery. The modern, three-storey Peak Galleria, which is beyond the Peak Tramway, houses shops and restaurants and recreational facilities. Next to the Peak Galleria, there is a newly established seven-story Peak Tower, which is designed as a viewing point, as well as an entertainment and educational center.
Repulse BayLocated on the south side of Hong Kong Island and which surrounded by up-market residential apartments is Repulse Bay Beach. This place is the most beautiful and most popular beach in Hong Kong. Here, visitors can stay in one of the finest resort suites of the East the Repulse Bay Hotel. The beach is busy all the time, offering all kinds of services - food, drinks, beach tent rental, chair rental, and lifesaving classes. The most popular attractions on the beach are two huge statues of deities - "Kwun Yum" and "Tin Hau", both are protectors of the fishermen. Many also like to walk to Deep Water Bay and Aberdeen along the waterfront of the beach.
Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical GardensThe Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens were established in 1864 and are constructed in formal Victorian features, comprising a wrought-iron bandstand and an unusual greenhouse. The Zoo was added in 1975 and contains many exotic species of birds. There is a popular spot in the early morning for devotees of "Tai Chi Chuan" who practice their exercises in the gardens. The former French Mission Building is a 150-year-old Victorian-style building, which is located nearby the gardens. There is also a good view of the Government House - the residence of Hong Kong's Governor.
KowloonTsim Sha Tsui, at the tip of the Kowloon Peninsula, is the territory's tourist ghetto. It consists of one square kilometer of shops, restaurants, pubs, and camera stores. However, Kowloon is also home to the Hong Kong Cultural Center, the Space Museum, the famous Peninsula Hotel, and the Museum of History. The Promenade, in East Tsim Sha Tsui, is a great place for a stroll and has wonderful views of the Victoria Harbor, particularly at night. The liveliest night market in the territory is on Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei.
Ocean ParkThe Ocean park, also known as the best park in Southeast Asia, is built on a mountainside. The park is Southeast Asia's largest entertainment and leisure complex, and its outdoor escalator system is the second longest in the world. Visitors can choose to either escalator or cable car up to the headland.The upper part, named Nanlangshan Park, has the Wave Cove, a man-made, power-operated marine game recreation center on the mountain top.The lower part, called Wong Chuk Hang Garden, has a parrot garden and the Garden Theater, with parrots and other animals as performers. The features of Ocean Park include spectacular shows by dolphins, killer whales, and high-drivers; a shark aquarium; a glass-sided wave cove of seals and fairy penguins; a huge aviary; a butterfly house; and funfair rides, including the Dragon rollercoaster and the Dinosaur Discovery Trail. Next to Ocean Park is Middle Kingdom, which is a living history of Chinese culture, you can learn Chinese 13 dynasties and some 5,000 years of history when taking trip there. Adjacent to Ocean Park is Water World, which is a fun place, you can enjoy a variety of facilities there, such as giant water slides, driving platforms and a winding river, etc.
New TerritoriesAlthough a third of Hong Kong's population lives in new towns constructed in the New Territories, the area has some scenic escapes, including the Sai Kung Peninsula in the east, which is an unspoilt playground for hikers, campers, swimmers, and boaters. Bird-watchers head to the Mai Po Marsh; cyclists and walkers head to Plover Cove Reservoir; hiking enthusiasts set out on the 100-kilometer-long MacLehose Trail, which spans the New Territories from Tuen Mun in the west to Pak Tam Chung in the east. Shui Tau, a walled village on the outskirts of Kam Tin, is one of several small communities in the area famous for its carved roofs and traditional style Chinese houses.
Hong Kong DisneylandHong Kong Disneyland (Chinese: 香港迪士尼樂園) is the first theme park inside the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and is owned and managed by the Hong Kong International Theme Parks.Hong Kong Disneyland, the fifth Magic Kingdom-style theme park, is located on reclaimed land in Penny's Bay, Lantau Island. After years of negotiations and construction, the park opened to visitors on 12 September 2005. The park consists of four themed lands similar to other Disneyland parks: Main Street, U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland and Tomorrowland. The theme park's cast members use English and Chinese, including Cantonese and Mandarin dialects, to communicate verbally. Guide maps are printed in traditional and simplified Chinese as well as English, French, and Japanese.
Past coverage about: Hong Kong SAR 香港 South China Hong Kong map China map
- Taiwan in brief 13-11-2010
- Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region 13-11-2010
- Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region 12-11-2010
- Provinces of China: Hainan - China's southernmost island province in South China Sea 06-11-2010
- Provinces of China: Guangdong - the most prosperous province of China 06-11-2010