Hong Kong (香港), alternatively known by its initials H.K., is one of the two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China, the other being Macau. It is situated on China's south coast and, enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is known for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour. With a land mass of 1,104 km2 (426 sq mi) and a population of seven million people, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Hong Kong's population is 93.6% ethnic Chinese and 6.4% from other groups.Hong Kong's Cantonese-speaking majority originate mainly from the neighbouring Canton (now Guangdong) province from which many of them fled to escape wars and Communist rule in China from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after the First Opium War (1839–42). The Hong Kong Island was first ceded to the UK in perpetuity, followed by Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and then the New Territories was put under lease in 1898. It was occupied by Japan during the Pacific War (1941–45), after which the British resumed control until 1997, when China resumed sovereignty. The region espoused minimum government intervention under the ethos of positive non-interventionism during the colonial era. The time period greatly influenced the current culture of Hong Kong, often described as "East meets West" and the educational system, which used to loosely follow the system in Englanduntil reforms implemented in 2009.
Under the principle of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong has a different political system from mainland China. Hong Kong's independent judiciary functions under the common lawframework. Hong Kong Basic Law, its constitutional document, which stipulates that Hong Kong shall have a "high degree of autonomy" in all matters except foreign relations and military defence, governs its political system. Although it has a burgeoning multi-party system, a small-circle electorate controls half of its legislature. The head of the government, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, is chosen by an Election Committee of 400 to 1,200 members, a situation that will be in effect during the first 20 years of Chinese rule.
Hong Kong is a world city. It is one of the Alpha+ cities and it usually be considered as the fifth most important city in the world, after New York City, London, Paris and Tokyo. Also, a Time Magazine article in 2008 coined the phrase "Nylonkong", which referred to New York City, London and Hong Kong, that these three cities form a global network that facilitates the global 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, and the currency, Hong Kong dollar, is the eighth most traded currency in the world. The lack of space caused demand for denser constructions, which developed the city to a centre for modern architecture and the world's most vertical city. Hong Kong has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. The dense space also led to a highly developed transportation network with the public transport travelling rate exceeding 90 percent the highest in the world.Hong Kong has numerous high international rankings in various aspects. For instance, its economic freedom, financial and economic competitiveness, quality of life, corruption perception, Human Development Index are all ranked highly. According to estimates from both UN and WHO, Hong Kong had the longest life expectancy of any region in the world in 2012. Hong Kong also has the highest average IQ score in 81 countries around the world.
The name "Hong Kong" is an approximate phonetic rendering of the pronunciation of the spoken Cantonese or Hakka name 香港, meaning "fragrant harbour". Before 1842, the name referred to a small inlet—now Aberdeen Harbour or 香港仔 hoenggong zai "Little Hong Kong"—between Aberdeen Island and the south side of Hong Kong Island, which was one of the first points of contact between British sailors and local fishermen.
The reference to fragrance may refer to the harbour waters sweetened by the fresh water estuarine influx of the Pearl River, or to the incense from factories lining the coast to the north of Kowloon, which was stored around Aberdeen Harbour for export before the development of Victoria Harbour. In 1842, the Treaty of Nanking was signed, and the name Hong Kong was first recorded on official documents to encompass the entirety of the island.
The name was often written as the single word Hongkong until the government adopted the current form in 1926. Nevertheless, some century-old organisations still use the single-word form, such as the Hongkong Post, Hongkong Electric and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.
The Mandarin pronunciation of the name 香港 is represented in pinyin as Xiānggǎng. Unlike place names in Mainland China, which are now mostly romanised into English using (Mandarin-based) pinyin spelling, the official English name in this case remains the traditional Hong Kong.
The full official name is "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China", this being the official convention employed on the Chinese text of the Hong Kong regional emblem, the text of the Hong Kong Basic Law, and the Hong Kong Government website, although "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" and "Hong Kong" are also accepted. (Chinese versions of the territory's names can be found in the lower box to the right.)
Hong Kong has many nicknames, but the most famous is "Pearl of the orient" (Cantonese: Dong Fong Chi Chu). It was named according to the shiny city lights from both sides of Victoria Harbour and the high rise buildings. In addition, Hong Kong is also named as "Golden Egg", "The World's most vertical City", "The orient Manhattan", "The paradise of shopping", "Food paradise" and "City of life".