Hong Kong, described as a 'barren rock' over 150 years ago, has become a world-class financial, trading and business centre and, indeed, a great world city.
Hong Kong has no natural resources, except one of the finest deep-water ports in the world. A hardworking, adaptable and well-educated workforce of about 3.5 million, coupled with entrepreneurial flair, is the bedrock of Hong Kong's productivity and creativity.
Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China on July 1, 1997, after a century and a half of British administration. Under Hong Kong's constitutional document, the Basic Law, the existing economic, legal and social system will be maintained for 50 years. The SAR enjoys a high degree of autonomy except in defence and foreign affairs.
Situated at the southeastern tip of China, Hong Kong is ideally positioned at the centre of rapidly developing East Asia. With a total area of 1 102 square kilometres, it covers Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon peninsula just opposite, and the New Territories - the more rural section of Hong Kong, which also includes 235 outlying islands.
Map of Hongkong
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Hong Kong's population was about 6.816 million at the end of 2002. The population density is 6 300 people per square kilometre. Hong Kong has a large foreign population of about 529 870. The top three nationalities come from the Philippines (142 640), Indonesia (85 240) and the USA (32 340).
Chinese and English are the official languages. English is widely used in the Government, the legal system and by the professional and business sectors. There is no shortage of well-educated competent bilingual or even trilingual professionals who speak English, Cantonese and Putonghua. These are vital staff for any enterprise trading in Hong Kong or doing business with the Mainland and Taiwan.
Hong Kong's climate is sub-tropical, tending towards the temperate for nearly half the year. Temperatures can drop below 10 degrees Celsius in winter and exceed 31 degrees Celsius in summer. About 90 per cent of the rainfall occurs between March and September.