Situated at the south-eastern tip of China, Hong Kong is a vibrant city and a major gateway to China. This page will give you a brief overview of Hong Kong – from the form of government to the languages used.
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Following British rule from 1842 to 1997, China assumed sovereignty under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle. Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy and enjoys executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication.
Under the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, Hong Kong’s legal framework is based on common law and the independence of the judiciary. The Hong Kong’s constitutional document, the Basic Law, ensures that the city retains its previous capitalist system and way of life for 50 years. The rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong are based on the impartial rule of law and an independent judiciary.
The provides the constitutional framework for the legal system in Hong Kong.
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Hong Kong’s economy is characterised by free trade, low taxation and minimum government intervention. It is the world’s 9th largest trading economy, with the mainland of China as its most significant trading partner. Hong Kong is also a major service economy, with particularly strong links to mainland China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.
- Currency: Hong Kong dollar
- GDP: US$ 272.5 billion (2013)
- GDP per capita: US$ 37,900 (2013)
- Real GDP growth: +2.9% (2013)
- Labour force: 3.87 million (2013)
Hong Kong’s population was approximately 7.15 million in 2012. People of Chinese descent comprise the vast majority of the population, with foreign nationals comprising 8%.
- Population density: 6,620 people per square kilometre
- Crude birth rate: 12.8 per 1,000
- Percentage of population Chinese descent: 92%
- Other significant national groups:
- Indonesia (164,850 total)
- The Philippines (160,850 total)
Chinese and English are the official languages of Hong Kong. English is widely used in the Government and by the legal, professional and business sectors. Trilingual professionals who speak English, Cantonese and Putonghua play a vital role in the numerous enterprises trading in Hong Kong or doing business with mainland China and Taiwan.
- More than half of Hong Kong residents (of all ages) are able to speak more than one language
- Cantonese as usual language: 89.2% of population
- Putonghua speakers: 0.9% of population
- English as usual language: 3.2% of population
At the south-eastern tip of China, Hong Kong covers Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories, including 262 outlying islands. Between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula lies Victoria Harbour, one of the world’s most renowned deep-water harbours.
- Total area: 1,104 square kilometres
- Land developed: less than 25%
- Country parks and nature reserves: 40%
Hong Kong’s climate is sub-tropical, with temperatures dropping below 10 degrees Celsius in winter and exceeding 31 degrees Celsius in summer. It is warm, sunny and dry in autumn, cool and dry in winter, and hot, humid and rainy from spring to summer.
- Average annual rainfall: 1,924.7mm
Hong Kong provides two types of public holidays: statutory and general holidays. Statutory holidays are mandated under the Employment Ordinance and must be provided to all employees. General holidays include every Sunday, all statutory holidays and an additional 5 holidays.
- Working week: Monday to Saturday
- General holidays: 17 (including the 12 statutory holidays)
Detailed official statistics on various social and economic aspects of Hong Kong are available below. You can also free of charge.
Hong Kong is one of the most tax-friendly economies in the world according to the 2014 Paying Taxes study commissioned by the World Bank and the International Financial Corporation which compared the tax rates of 189 economies.
- Hong Kong’s corporate profit tax is capped at 16.5%
- Salaries tax is a maximum of 15%