HONG KONG

Introduction

Info Hong Kong


introduction

Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港; literally: "Fragrant Harbour or Incense Harbour"), officially Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the southern coast of China at the Pearl River Estuary of the South China Sea. It has a total land and sea area of 2,754 km2 and shares its northern border with the Guangdong Province of Mainland China. With 7.2 million residents of variousnationalities, Hong Kong is theworld's fourth most densely populated sovereign state or territory.

After the First Opium War (1839–42), Hong Kong became a British colonywith the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island, followed by the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and a 99-year lease of the New Territories from 1898. Hong Kong was later occupied by Japan during the Second World War until British control resumed in 1945. In the early 1980s, negotiations between the United Kingdom and China resulted in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which paved way for the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997, when it became a Special Administrative Region with a high degree of autonomy.

Under the principle of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong maintains its own executive, legislative and judiciary powers, including an independent legal system, public security force, monetary system, customs policy, and immigration policy while theState Council of China is responsible for military defense and foreign affairs. In addition, Hong Kong develops relations directly with foreign states and international organisations in a broad range ofappropriate fields.

Hong Kong is one of the world's most significant financial centres, having the highest Financial Development Index score and ranked as the world's most competitive economy in the World Competitiveness Yearbook. It is also the world'smost visited city. Its service sector dominated economy is characterised by free trade and low taxation, and has consistently been listed as the freest market economy in the world. While Hong Kong ranks within the top 10 in GDP (PPP) per capita, it also suffers from the most severe income inequalityamong developed economies and has the world's most unaffordable housing. As the world's 44th-largest economy (in purchasing power parity), the Hong Kong dollar is the 13th most traded currency globally.

Hong Kong is known for its skyline and deep natural harbour. The territory has the second largest number of high-rises than any other urban agglomeration in the world. It has a highly developed public transportationnetwork covering 90% of the population, the widest in the world. Air pollution and political issues remain serious and concerning problems. Looseemissions standards have resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates.However, combining with other factors, Hong Kong people enjoy the longest life expectancy counted as a state, and top the world in a study of national IQ estimate.


info

POPULATION :  7,234,800
FOUNDED : • British possession 26 January 1841
• Treaty of Nanking 29 August 1842
• Convention of Peking 18 October 1860
• Second Convention of Peking 1 July 1898
• Japanese occupation 25 December 1941
to 15 August 1945
• Transfer of sovereignty
from the United Kingdom
1 July 1997
TIME ZONE :  (UTC+8)
LANGUAGE : Cantonese 90.8% (official), English 2.8% (official), Putonghua (Mandarin) 0.9%, other Chinese dialects 4.4%, other 1.1%
RELIGION : eclectic mixture of local religions 90%, Christian 10%
AREA :• Total 1,104 km2 /426 sq mi
• Water (%) 4.58 (50 km2; 19 sq mi)
ELEVATION :
COORDINATES :
SEX RATIO : Male: 46.78
 Female: 53.22
ETHNIC : 93.6% Chinese
6.4% others
AREA CODE :
POSTAL CODE :
DIALING CODE :  +852
WEBSITE :


Tourism

Hong Kong  is a place with multiple personalities; the population is mainly Cantonese Chinese but British influence is quite visible. It is a unique destination that has absorbed people and cultural influences from places as diverse as Vietnam and Vancouver and proudly proclaims itself to be Asia's World City.

Hong Kong has been a major destination for both tourists and business people from around the world for at least a century, and today it is also a major tourism destination for China's increasingly affluent mainland population. It is also an important air hub with connections to many of the world's cities.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China is much more than a harbour city. The traveller weary of its crowded streets may be tempted to describe it as Hong Kongcrete. Yet, this territory with its cloudy mountains and rocky islands is mostly a rural landscape. Much of the countryside is classified as Country Park and, although 7 million people are never far away, it is possible to find pockets of wilderness that will reward the more intrepid tourist.

Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with at least one season to match your comfort zone. Boasting one of the world's best airports, it is the ideal stopover for those who wish to travel deeper into Asia.

While part of the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong operates as a Special Administrative Region with a high degree of autonomy, and so for most visitors it is effectively a different country. Visa requirements, laws, currency, culture and language are different from the rest of China. Since the handover from the British in 1997, Hong Kong has operated under a "One Country, Two Systems" principle, maintaining most laws and government structures from colonial times. Hong Kong enjoys many Western-style freedoms unheard of on the Chinese mainland, and many locals are proud of it. The ideals of a free and open society are firmly rooted here.


Climate

Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate. Summers are usually hot, lasting from June to September, with temperatures usually exceeding 30°C, while night-time summer temperatures do not drop below 25°C . The area, with most of southern China, is affected by typhoons. Typhoons usually occur between June and September, though some typhoons may affect Hong Kong as late as October. These can bring a halt to local business for a day or less.

Winters in Hong Kong are generally very mild, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C, although dropping further sometimes, especially in the countryside. Christmas in Hong Kong is considered warm compared to many Western countries. Chinese New Year is notorious for cold wet weather, because winter in Hong Kong tends to start out mild and dry and then turn cooler and wetter later.

Spring starts in Hong Kong from March to May and autumn starts from September to November with an average temperature of around 20 to 25°C. Autumn is considered a more comfortable season as spring tends to be more humid and rainy.

Although most buildings in Hong Kong have air-conditioning to cope with the summer weather, winter heating is something of a novelty. During the coldest days, most locals simply wear more layers, even indoors. In a restaurant, for example, it is not unusual to see customers eating with jackets and scarves on. Furthermore, some larger Chinese restaurants keep the air-conditioning on during winter, though the temperature in air conditioned shopping malls stays the same regardless of season or weather outside.

 ClimateJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
 
Daily highs (°C)18.618.921.425.028.430.231.431.130.127.824.120.2
Nightly lows (°C)14.515.017.220.824.126.226.826.625.823.719.815.9
Precipitation (mm)24.754.482.2174.7304.7456.1376.5432.2327.6100.937.626.8


Geography

Hong 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, theKowloon 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 the179th 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. Low altitude vegetation in Hong Kong is dominated by secondary rainforests, as the primary forest was mostly cleared during the Second World War, and higher altitudes are dominated by grasslands. 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. On 18 September 2011, UNESCO listed the Hong Kong National Geopark as part of its Global Geoparks Network. Hong Kong Geopark is made up of eight Geo-Areas distributed across the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and Northeast New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region.

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.


Economy

As one of the world's leading international financial centres, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterised by low taxation and free trade. The currency, Hong Kong dollar, is the eighth most traded currency in the world as of 2010. Hong Kong was once described by Milton Friedman as the world's greatest experiment in laissez-faire capitalism, but has since instituted a regime of regulations including aminimum wage. It maintains a highly developed capitalist economy, ranked the freest in the world by the Index of Economic Freedom every year since 1995. It is an important centre for international finance and trade, with one of the greatest concentrations of corporate headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region, and is known as one of theFour Asian Tigers for its high growth rates and rapid development from the 1960s to the 1990s. Between 1961 and 1997 Hong Kong'sgross domestic product grew 180 times while per-capita GDP increased 87 times over.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the seventh largest in the world and has a market capitalisation of US$2.3 trillion as of December 2009. In that year, Hong Kong raised 22 percent of worldwide initial public offering (IPO) capital, making it the largest centre of IPOs in the world and the easiest place to raise capital. The Hong Kong dollar has been pegged to the US dollar since 1983.

The Hong Kong Government has traditionally played a mostly passive role in the economy, with little by way of industrial policy and almost no import or export controls. Market forces and the private sector were allowed to determine practical development. Under the official policy of "positive non-interventionism", Hong Kong is often cited as an example of laissez-faire capitalism. Following the Second World War, Hong Kong industrialised rapidly as a manufacturing centre driven by exports, and then underwent a rapid transition to a service-based economy in the 1980s. Since then, it has grown to become a leading centre for management, financial, IT, business consultation and professional services.

Hong Kong matured to become a financial centre in the 1990s, but was greatly affected by the Asian financial crisis in 1998, and again in 2003 by the SARS outbreak. A revival of external and domestic demand has led to a strong recovery, as cost decreases strengthened the competitiveness of Hong Kong exports and a long deflationary period ended. Government intervention, initiated by the later colonial governments and continued since 1997, has steadily increased, with the introduction of export credit guarantees, a compulsory pension scheme, a minimum wage, anti-discrimination laws, and a state mortgage backer.

The territory has little arable land and few natural resources, so it imports most of its food and raw materials. Imports account for more than 90% of Hong Kong's food supply, including nearly all of the meat and rice available there. Agricultural activity—relatively unimportant to Hong Kong's economy and contributing just 0.1% of its GDP—primarily consists of growing premium food and flower varieties. Hong Kong is the world's eleventh largest trading entity, with the total value of imports and exports exceeding its gross domestic product. It is the world's largest re-export centre. Much of Hong Kong's exports consist of re-exports, which are products made outside of the territory, especially in mainland China, and distributed via Hong Kong. Its physical location has allowed the city to establish a transportation and logistics infrastructure that includes the world's second busiest container port and the world's busiest airport for international cargo. Even before the transfer of sovereignty, Hong Kong had established extensive trade and investment ties with the mainland, which now enable it to serve as a point of entry for investment flowing into the mainland. At the end of 2007, there were 3.46 million people employed full-time, with the unemployment rate averaging 4.1% for the fourth straight year of decline. Hong Kong's economy is dominated by the service sector, which accounts for over 90% of its GDP, while industry constitutes 9%. Inflation was at 2.5% in 2007. Hong Kong's largest export markets are mainland China, the United States, and Japan.

As of 2010 Hong Kong is the eighth most expensive city for expatriates, falling from fifth position in the previous year.  Hong Kong is ranked fourth in terms of the highest percentage of millionaire households, behind Switzerland, Qatar, and Singapore with 8.5 percent of all households owning at least one million US dollars. Hong Kong is also ranked second in the world by the most billionaires per capita (one per 132,075 people), behind Monaco. In 2011, Hong Kong was ranked second in the Ease of Doing Business Index, behind Singapore.

Hong Kong is ranked No. 1 in the world in the Crony Capitalism Index by the Economist.

In 2014, Hong Kong was the eleventh most popular destination for international tourists among countries and territories worldwide, with a total of 27.8 million visitors contributing a total of US$38,376 million in international tourism receipts. Hong Kong is also the most popular city for tourists, nearly two times of its nearest competitor Macau.


Subdivisions

Hong Kong consists of three regions: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories. The regions are subdivided into 18 geographic districts, each represented by a district council which advises the government on local matters such as public facilities, community programmes, cultural activities, and environmental improvements.

There are a total of 541 district council seats, 412 of which are elected; the rest are appointed by the Chief Executive and 27 ex officio chairmen of rural committees. The Home Affairs Department communicates government policies and plans to the public through the district offices. Hong Kong has a unitary system of government; no local government has existed since the two municipal councils were abolished in 2000. As such there is no formal definition for its cities and towns.

Hong Kong Island 

(香港島) (Central,East Coast,South Coast)

The site of the original British settlement and the main focus of most tourists. Most of Hong Kong's highest skyscrapers and the financial centre can be found here. Overall, Hong Kong Island is more modern and wealthy and considerably less dirty than the other areas of Hong Kong. The Peak is the tallest point on the island, with the best views and highest real estate values in the world.

Kowloon (九龍)

The peninsula to the north of Hong Kong Island, with great views of the island. It offers a chaotic mix of malls, street markets, and residential tenements. It has a great view of Hong Kong Island. With over 2.1 million people living in an area of less than 47 square kilometres, Kowloon is one of the most densely populated places in the world. Kowloon includes Tsim Sha Tsui (尖沙咀), the location of many budget hotels and Mong Kok (旺角), a shopping district.

New Territories (新界)

Named by British officials when leased from the Chinese government in 1898, the New Territories contain a curious mix of small farms, villages, industrial installations, mountainous country parks and towns that have populations the size of some cities.

Lantau Island (大嶼山)

A large island west of Hong Kong Island. You will not find many idyllic villages, but once you get over the stray dogs and the ramshackle buildings you will find beautiful mountains and beaches. The airport, Disneyland, and the Ngong Ping cable car are located here.

Outlying Islands (離島)

Well-known weekend destinations for the locals, the Outlying Islands are most of the islands surrounding Hong Kong Island. Highlights include Lamma (南丫島), well known for its seafood and Cheung Chau (長洲), a small island that used to be a pirates' den, but now attracts seafood aficionados, windsurfers and sunbathing day trippers.


Internet, Communication

 

Post

Postal services are efficient and of high quality. Post offices are ubiquitous and coin-operated stamp vending machines provide service when the post offices are closed. You can also buy stamps in sets of 10 from many convenience stores such as 7-Eleven or Circle K (OK). Postal rates are viewable online .


Internet access

Unlike in Mainland China, the Internet access is not filtered in Hong Kong. All web sites are accessible in Hong Kong.


Internet cafes

Internet cafes are rare as most people have smartphones and wifi-enabled devices. When available, internet cafes charge HK$20-30 per hour.


Mobile data

Many operators offer temporary 3G plans for as little as HK$78 per week. Obtaining a sim card is quick and hassle free - just go to a mobile phone shop, and buy a card. No registration is needed.


WiFi

Free wifi is available at most hotels, shopping malls, coffee shops, the airport, certain MTR stations, government buildings, and public libraries.

You can also pay for access at commercial hotspots managed by PCCW and Y5ZONE. The cost is approximately HK$70 per week.


Telephone

Hong Kong's country-code is 852 (different from mainland China (86) and Macau (853)). Local phone numbers (mobile and landlines) are typically 8 digits; no area codes are used. All numbers that begin with 5, 6, 8, or 9 are mobile numbers, while numbers beginning with 2 or 3 are fixed line numbers. For calls from Hong Kong, the standard IDD prefix is 001, so you would dial 001-(country code)-(area code)-(telephone number). Note that calls to Macau or mainland China require international dialling. For the operator, dial 1000. For police, fire or ambulance services dial 999.


Mobile phones

Hong Kong has a world class communications infrastructure. Mobile phone usage is cheap.

Hong Kong has many mobile operators. The best choices for tourists are Three,SmarTone and CSL. All three operators offer prepaid SIM cards in micro, nano, and standard sizes. Recharging your credit can be done online with a credit card (both Three and one2free will accept credit cards from anywhere, though Three imposes a two-day delay on any online credit card recharge while one2free is instant) or by purchasing vouchers from retail stores, resellers, convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and supermarkets. Unlimited data plans cost around HK$28 per day. Some operators, such as One2Free, offer unlimited 3G access for a week for $78. LTE is also available from some carriers. China Mobile offers a HKD $80 card that includes 5 days of 4G access, though their network type is not accessible to all phones.

Mobile phone numbers have eight digits and begin with 5, 6, or 9. Note that the telephone system is separate from Mainland China, and using Chinese SIM card would incur roaming charges. China Mobile does offer its mainland prepaid customers a reduced rate option for Hong Kong; a fixed fee of 2.9RMB daily or 9 RMB weekly will reduce per-minute and per-SMS rates to mainland levels and incoming calls and SMS become free. Data, however, is separately charged at 30RMB daily for unlimited use.

Samsung Galaxy Note or Nexus phones can be rented from counters A03 or B12 in the Arrivals Hall of Hong Kong International Airport for HK$68 per day, which includes all local and international calls, 3G internet access, and a built-in city guide.

Note that all mobile phone companies charge for BOTH incoming and outgoing calls (similar to USA, but different from most European countries, Japan, Taiwan, or South Korea). Coverage is excellent, except in remote mountainous areas. Almost all operators provide a good signal, even when underground in such places as the MTR system, on board trains and in cross-harbour and other road tunnels.

Coverage is decent across all Hong Kong operators, comparison of the coverage and speeds of the networks can be found on Hong Kong Coverage maps created by OpenSignal. In general Hong Kong has advanced mobile infrastructure with the second fastest LTE in the world.

For those traveling to the mainland, it is possible to buy dual-number SIMs that assign numbers on both sides of the border as well as discounted pricing on mainland use. These are also good to have if you need reliable uncensored internet on the mainland; due to the way roaming works, they are not blocked as a regular VPN would be during "sensitive" periods. China Unicom works on all phones, while China Mobile requires that your phone or internet device support the network technologies it uses on the mainland for 3G/4G access (TD-LTE and/or TD-SCDMA).


Landline phones

Landline phones for local calls are charged on a monthly basis with unlimited access, but be careful that hotels may charge you per call.

Payphones are available at the airport, shopping malls, government buildings, and MTR stations and cost HK$1 for a local call for 5 minutes. If you don't have a mobile phone and need to make a short local call, most restaurants, supermarkets, and shops will allow you to use their phone if you ask nicely.

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