Hong Kong

Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China, Asia

Founded: Inhabited since prehistoric times, though the earliest modern people lived there by the 2nd millennium B. C. Modern Hong Kong dates back to the British presence, formalized in 1898.
Location: Southeastern China, in eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China's Guangdong Province
Flag: Red field with a white Hong Kong orchid featuring red stars on each of its five petals.
Motto: "A Future of Excellence and Prosperity for All"
Flower: The Hong Kong orchid, Bauhinia blakeana.
Time Zone: Eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT plus eight hours)
Ethnic Composition: Chinese, 98%; non-Chinese Asian (mostly Japanese, Indian, Pakistani, Singaporean), 1%; non-Asian (mostly from UK, Canada, Australia, US, New Zealand), 1%
Elevation: Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island rises to 550 m (1,810 ft); Tai Mo Shan on Lantau Island reaches 957 m (3,140 ft)
Latitude and Longitude: 22°15′N, 114°10′E
Coastline: 733 km (458 mi)
Climate: Subtropical, with monsoons between May and August; cool and humid in winter, hot and rainy from spring through summer, warm and sunny in fall.
Annual Mean Temperature: 22.2°C (72°F); 15°C (59°F) in February; 27.8°C (82°F) in July
Seasonal Average Precipitation: 2,220 mm (88 in)
Government: Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, with a chief executive appointed by Beijing and a legislature combining elected and appointed officials
Weights and Measures: Metric
Monetary Units: Hong Kong dollar (HK$), with an exchange rate of HK$7.8 to US$1 (December 1999)
Telephone Area Codes: 852

2. Getting There


Due to Hong Kong's high population density and limited area, there are legal restrictions on the number of vehicles allowed in the city. Even so, about half a million motor vehicles drive Hong Kong's 1,740 kilometers (1,081 miles) of roads. The highway system centers on the NTCR, which rings the city center. A network of bridges and tunnels provides rail and road connections among the various parts of Hong Kong that are separated by water; one of these is the Tsing Ma Bridge, which is among the longest suspension bridges in the world and links Kowloon with Lantau.

Bus and Railroad Service

After the repatriation of Hong Kong in 1997, train service was inaugurated between Kowloon and the cities of Beijing and Shanghai. The Beijing-Kowloon train stops en route at seven intermediate stations. The Shanghai-Kowloon train runs every other day and requires 29 hours each way.

Hong Kong Population Profile

Population: 6,097,000
Area: 1,092 sq km (420 sq mi)
Description: Special Administrative Region (SAR) by the Chinese government, including harbor, Kowloon Peninsula, New Territories, Stonecutters Island, Lantau Island, Hong Kong Island, and more than 230 smaller islands
Ethnic composition: 98% Chinese; 1% non-Chinese Asian (Japanese, Indian, Pakistani, Singaporean); 1% non-Asian (mostly from UK, Canada, Australia, US, New Zealand)
World population rank1: 35
Percentage of national population2: 0.5%
Average yearly growth rate: 3%
Nicknames: The Fragrant Harbor


  1. The Hong Kong metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of China's total population living in the Hong Kong metropolitan area.


Air access to the city was improved in 1998 when the Hong Kong International Airport began operating on Chek Lap Kok Island and replaced the old airport at Kai Tak. The new airport is connected to the urban areas of Hong Kong by means of a high-speed rail link; travelers going into Hong Kong can make the 23-minute trip downtown by means of the Airport Express train, from which transfers can be made to shuttle buses and Mass Transit Railway (MTR) trains. The MTR itself can be reached by a shuttle bus from the airport, and a number of shuttles connect the airport directly to destinations throughout the city.


Access to Hong Kong, the "fragrant harbor," is readily available by sea for both passenger and freight traffic. A ferry service runs from Tuen Mun to Chek Lap Kok Ferry Pier, from which a shuttle accesses the airport.

3. Getting Around

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

Most of the populace uses public transportation, the cheapest and most efficient means of getting around in crowded Hong Kong. Buses are the most readily available and the most used form of public transport and incorporate a minibus service as well. A rapid transit system, the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), connects the main districts of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon with areas as far away as Tsuen Wan in the New Territories. The Kowloon Canton Railway (KCR) runs between Kowloon and Lo Wu, on the border of Hong Kong and mainland China. In the New Territories, the Light Rail Transit (LRT) connects Tuen Mun with Yuen Long. On Hong Kong Island, there is a funicular that connects the Central District with Victoria Peak, and a tram that runs along the island's northern side. Numerous ferry and hovercraft ply the waters among Hong Kong's numerous islands and link them with Kowloon and the New Territories.


Access to various parts of the city is convenient and relatively inexpensive by both train and bus. Travel within the region is also easily accomplished by means of the train systems and the local buses, and water travel on the different ferries is also cheap and widely used. Sightseers can experience something of traditional Chinese culture in places like the Kam Tin Walled Village (Kut Hing Wei) in the New Territories, the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, or the scenic beauty of the outer islands. Soon both Hong Kong natives and travelers will be able to visit Hong Kong Disneyland, scheduled to open on Penny's Bay in 2005.

22. For Further Study


A collection of information about various careers and advice on job descriptions and careers and career and job opportunities necessary to explore and choose from a complete range of job and career possibilities. Includes information to help students make wise careers choices and lists descriptions of different job profiles.

CIA World Factbook (Hong Kong). [Online] Available http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/hk.html (accessed December 9, 1999).

Daily information bulletin for weather, news and major speeches by government officials. [Online] Available http://www.info.gov.hk/isd/news/ (accessed December 9, 1999).

Hong Kong government. [Online] Available http://www.info.gov.hk/hkfacts/facts_e.htm (accessed December 9, 1999).

Hong Kong government. [Online] Available http://www.info.gov.hk/orgindex.htm (accessed December 9, 1999).

Hong Kong government Works Bureau and the Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau. [Online] Available http://www.wpelb.gov.hk/ (accessed December 9, 1999).

Hong Kong Travel Association. [Online] Available www.hkta.org(accessed De 1999).

Official website of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [Online] Available government.http://info.gov.hk/ (accessed December 9, 1999).

PBS: Hong Kong: Lives in Transition. [Online] Available http://www.pbs.org/pov/hongkong/ (accessed December 9, 1999).

Government Offices

Central Government Offices
Lower Albert Road
Hong Kong

Office of the Ombudsman
31/F Gateway Tower 1
25 Canton Road
Tsimshatsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Hong Kong Tourist Association
548 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10036
(212) 947-5008

Hong Kong Tourist Association
35/F Jardine House
1 Connaught Place
Central Hong Kong


Government Publications Centre
G/F, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices
66 Queensway, Hong Kong

Publications Unit, Census and
Statistics Department
19/F, Wanchai Tower, 12 Harbour Road
Wan Chai, Hong Kong


Cameron, Nigel. An Illustrated History of Hong Kong. Oxford, 1991.

Chan, Ming K., ed. The Challenge of Hong Kong's Reintegration with China. (Hsiang-kang hui kuei Chung-kuo chih t'iao chan / Ch'en Mingch'iu pien chu.) Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1997.

Cheng, Joseph Y. S., and Sonny S. H. Lo. From Colony to SAR : Hong Kong's Challenges Ahead. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1995.

Dimbleby, Jonathan. The Last Governor: Chris Patten & the Handover of Hong Kong. London: Little, Brown, 1997.

Elegant, Robert. Hong Kong. Time-Life, 1977.

Fosh, Patricia, ed., et al. Hong Kong Management and Labour: Continuity and Change. New York: Routledge, 1999.

Hsiung, James C., ed. Hong Kong the Super Paradox : Life After Return to China. New York, N.Y.: St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Leung, Beatrice, and Joseph Cheng. Hong Kong SAR: In Pursuit of Domestic and International Order. Sha Tin, N.T., Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1997.

Lo, C. P. Hong Kong. NY: Belhaven Press, 1992.

McGurn, William. Perfidious Albion: The Abandonment of Hong Kong, 1997. Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1992.

Morris, Jan. Hong Kong. Random, 1988, 1989.

Patten, Christopher. East and West: China, Power, and the Future of Asia. Random House/Times Books, 1998.

Pang-kwong, Li, ed. Political Order and Power Transition in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1997.

Rafferty, Kevin. City on the Rocks: Hong Kong's Uncertain Future. Viking, 1990.

Rioni, S. G., ed. Politics and Economics of Hong Kong. Commack, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers, 1997.

Scott, Ian, ed. Institutional Change and the Political Transition in Hong Kong. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

Segal, Gerald. The Fate of Hong Kong. New York: St. Martin's, 1993.

So, Alvin Y. Hong Kong's Embattled Democracy : a Societal Analysis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

Warner, John. Fragrant Harbour: Early Photographs of Hong Kong. Hippocrene, 3rd ed., 1980.

Welsh, Frank. A Borrowed Place: The History of Hong Kong. Kodansha, 1993.