5. Brief Hong Kong Overview
Some Facts about Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a popular tourist destination in southeastern Asia, with a mixture of Eastern andWestern cultural influences. It has four main areas: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the NewTerritories and a group of smaller islands. The words Hong Kong mean “Fragrant Harbor,” sonamed because of its deep-water harbor, which has contributed to Hong Kong’s success as acenter for international trade and finance.
Geography. At a little more than 420 square miles, Hong Kong is about six times the size of Washington, D.C. It lies between mainland China and the South China Sea. It is comprised of more than 200islands, with terrain that varies from steep mountains to flat lowlands.
Climate. Hong Kong is subject to typhoons and has yearly monsoons, with rainy, hot weather beginningin spring and lasting through the summer. The winters are humid, mild and cool.
Life Expectancy. The average life expectancy in Hong Kong is just more than 81 years, which ranks it the sixthhighest in the world. For comparison, the United States is ranked 50th, with a life expectancy of78 years.
People. The population of Hong Kong numbers more than 7 million people, with 95 percent of thepopulation of Chinese descent and a small percentage of Filipino or Indonesian descent.
Language. The official languages of Hong Kong include English and the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. ReligionTen percent of the population of Hong Kong is Christian, while the remaining 90 percentpractice Buddhism, Taoism or other local religions.
History. After defeating China in the Opium Wars, The United Kingdom was given control over HongKong in 1842. Under British control, Hong Kong grew into an important trade, banking andfinance center for all of Asia. The Chinese government regained control over Hong Kong in1997, awarding Hong Kong status as a Special Administrative Region.
Government. The government of Hong Kong is based on English Common Law and is a limited democracy. While the People’s Republic of China maintains control over its foreign and defense policies, Hong Kong is allowed freedom of governance in its financial and social affairs.
Economy. Hong Kong maintains a free market economy and serves as a conduit for many of mainlandChina’s financial interactions with the rest of the world. Hong Kong has a large service economyspecializing in international business, banking, trade and tourism.
Exports. Hong Kong has few natural resources to export. Its main exports are electronic goods, watchesand clocks and textiles, such as clothing and footwear.