Hong Kong
(special administrative region of China)
[Country Flag of Hong Kong]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Hong Kong]

Hong Kong


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Current issues: Pursuant to the agreement signed by China and the UK on 19 December 1984, Hong Kong became a special administrative region of China on 1 July 1997. Under the terms of this agreement, China has promised that Hong Kong shall enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs.


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Location: 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
land: 1,042 sq km
water: 50 sq km

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

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

Coastline: 733 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 3 nm

Climate: tropical 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: 6%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 1%
forests and woodland: 22%
other: 70% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 20 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: occasional typhoons

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

Environment—international agreements:
party to: NA
signed, but not ratified: NA

Geography—note: more than 200 islands


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Population: 6,706,965 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 18% (male 637,808; female 591,900)
15-64 years: 71% (male 2,360,878; female 2,425,291)
65 years and over: 11% (male 312,033; female 379,055) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.24% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 12.85 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 5.87 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 15.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 5.24 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.81 years
male: 76.07 years
female: 81.74 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.36 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Chinese
adjective: Chinese

Ethnic groups: Chinese 95%, other 5%

Religions: eclectic mixture of local religions 90%, Christian 10%

Languages: Chinese (Cantonese), English

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 92.2%
male: 96%
female: 88.2% (1996 est.)


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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

Data code: HK

Dependency status: special administrative region of China

Government type: NA

National capital: Victoria

Administrative divisions: none (special administrative region of China)

Independence: none (special administrative region of China)

National holiday: National Day, 1-2 October
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; 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 Commission drawn from broad regional groupings and other central government bodies

Executive branch:
chief of state: President of China JIANG Zemin (since 27 March 1993)
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 Anson CHAN (since 29 November 1993), Financial Secretary Donald TSANG (since NA 1995), and Secretary of Justice Elsie LEUNG (since NA 1997)
elections: NA

Legislative branch: a provisional legislature replaced the unicameral Legislative Council or LEGCO (60 seats; 30 indirectly elected by functional constituencies, 20 elected by popular vote, and 10 elected by election committee; members served four-year terms) on 1 July 1997
elections: indirect and direct elections for the Legislative Council were last held on 17 September 1995; elections for the first Special Administrative Region Legislative Council are scheduled to be held in May 1998
election results: the following are results of the 1995 election of the Legislative Council - percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—Democratic Party 21, Liberal Party 10, Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong 6, other parties and independents 23

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party, Martin LEE, chairman; Liberal Party, Allen LEE, chairman; Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, TSANG Yuk-shing, chairman; Hong Kong Democratic Foundation, Dr. Patrick SHIU Kin-ying, chairman; The Frontier, Emily LAN Wai-hang, chairwoman

Political pressure groups and leaders: Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL), Frederick FUNG Kin Kee, chairman; Liberal Democratic Federation, HU Fa-kuang, chairman; Federation of Trade Unions (pro-China), LEE Chark-tim, president; Hong Kong and Kowloon Trade Union Council (pro-Taiwan); Confederation of Trade Unions (pro-democracy), LEE Cheuk-yan, chairman; Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce; Chinese General Chamber of Commerce (pro-China); Federation of Hong Kong Industries; Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong; Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, CHEUNG Man-kwong, president; Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, Szeto WAH, chairman

International organization participation: APEC, AsDB, BIS (pending member), CCC, ESCAP (associate), ICFTU, IMO (associate), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, ISO (correspondent), WCL, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (special administrative region of China)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Consul General Richard A. BOUCHER
consulate(s) general: 26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
mailing address: PSC 464, Box 30, FPO AP 96522-0002
telephone: [852] 2523-9011
FAX: [852] 2845-1598

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


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Economy—overview: Hong Kong has a bustling free market economy highly dependent on international trade. Natural resources are limited, and food and raw materials must be imported. Indeed, imports and exports, including reexports, each exceed GDP in dollar value. Real GDP growth averaged a remarkable 8% in 1987-88, slowed to 3.0% in 1989-90, and picked up to 4.2% in 1991, 5.0% in 1992, 5.2% in 1993, 5.5% in 1994, 4.8% in 1995, 4.7% in 1996, and an estimated 5.5% in 1997. A shortage of labor continues to put upward pressure on prices and the cost of living. Even before Hong Kong reverted to Chinese administration on 1 July 1997 it had extensive trade and investment ties with China.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$175.2 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 5.5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$26,800 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 0.1%
industry: 16.1%
services: 83.8% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 5.1% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 3.183 million (1997)
by occupation: wholesale and retail trade, restaurants, and hotels 32.4%, social services 9.9%, manufacturing 9.9%, financing, insurance, and real estate 13.0%, transport and communications 5.7%, construction 2.6%, other 26.5% (June 1997)

Unemployment rate: 3.1% (1996 est.)

revenues: $19 billion
expenditures: $14.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $289 million (FY95/96 est.)

Industries: textiles, clothing, tourism, electronics, plastics, toys, watches, clocks

Industrial production growth rate: -3.2% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 11.3 million kW (1996)

Electricity—production: 28 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 3,968 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: fresh vegetables; poultry

total value: $180.7 billion (including reexports; f.o.b., 1996)
commodities: clothing, textiles, yarn and fabric, footwear, electrical appliances, watches and clocks, toys
partners: China 34%, US 21%, Japan 7%, Germany 4%, UK 3% (1996)

total value: $198.6 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
commodities: foodstuffs, transport equipment, raw materials, semimanufactures, petroleum; a large share is reexported
partners: China 37%, Japan 14%, Taiwan 8%, US 8%, Singapore 5% (1996)

Debt—external: none (1996)

Economic aid: $NA

Currency: 1 Hong Kong dollar (HK$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Hong Kong dollars (HK$) per US$—7.74 (1997), 7.730 (1996), 7.800 (1995), 7.800 (1994), 7.800 (1993), 7.741 (1992); note—linked to the US dollar at the rate of about 7.8 HK$ per 1 US$

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March


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Telephones: 4.37 million (1997 est.)

Telephone system: modern facilities provide excellent domestic and international services
domestic: microwave radio relay links and extensive fiber-optic network
international: 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 6, FM 6, shortwave 0

Radios: 3 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 4 (British Broadcasting Corporation repeater 1; British Forces Broadcasting Service repeater 1)

Televisions: 1.75 million (1992 est.)


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total: 34 km
standard gauge: 34 km 1.435-m gauge (1996 est.)
note: also has 43 km of metro with 38 stations

total: 1,760 km
paved: 1,760 km
unpaved: 0 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Hong Kong

Merchant marine:
total: 182 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,644,279 GRT/9,287,704 DWT
ships by type: bulk 104, cargo 23, combination bulk 2, container 42, liquefied gas tanker 1, multifunction large load carrier 2, oil tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1, short-sea passenger 1, vehicle carrier 3
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships from 13 countries among which are UK 26, South Africa 9, China 9, Japan 8, Bermuda 3, Germany 3, Israel 2, Canada 2, Belgium 1, and Norway 1; Hong Kong owns an additional 459 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 17,179,262 DWT that operate under the registries of The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Liberia, Malta, Panama, Philippines, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, and Vanuatu (1997 est.)

Airports: 3 (1998)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 3
over 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (1998)

Heliports: 1 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has a low-profile presence in Hong Kong

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 1,908,604 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 1,442,870 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 45,276 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Military—note: defense is the responsibility of China

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none

Illicit drugs: a hub for Southeast Asian heroin trade; transshipment and money-laundering center; increasing indigenous amphetamine abuse