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Regional Website: United Kingdom

Welcome to HK

Hong Kong, described as a 'barren rock' over 150 years ago, is now heralded as the world's freest economy and a leading financial, trading and business centre. Despite its small population and geography, it is the world's tenth largest trading economy.

In 1997, after 150 years of British administration, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Hong Kong enjoys a high level of autonomy from the Chinese mainland. Commercial, political and personal freedoms are protected by Hong Kong's constitution.

Hong Kong Fast Facts

orange World's 11th largest economy and 3rd in Asia, after Japan and China
orange Familiar, and enforceable, legal system
orange Free trade and free market (consistently voted the world's freest economy)
orange Corruption free society; strong IPR protection
orange Low tax rate - 16% salaries tax, 17.5% profits tax
orange Second largest stock market in Asia, 9th largest in the world
orange Highly educated workforce
orange Next to the Pearl River Delta region of China - one of the world's fastest-growing manufacturing regions
orange Asia's most popular location for overseas business
orange Population: 6.81 million
orange GDP per capita: US$23,300
orange External trade:
Total exports: US$223 billion
Domestic exports: US$15.6 billion
Re-exports: US$207.8 billion
Imports: US$231.5 billion
orange Visitor arrivals: 15.5 million
orange World's busiest international cargo airport - 2.64 million tonnes of cargo
orange World's busiest container port - 20.4 million TEUs
* 2003 economic data

Hong Kong - at a glance

Political and legal systems
Under the 'One Country, Two Systems' concept negotiated between China and the UK, Hong Kong controls all aspects of its governance, except foreign affairs and defence matters. Hong Kong's legal system largely follows the British system.

Hong Kong covers just 1,100 sq km and is divided into four main areas D Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, the New Territories and the Outlying Islands.

Kowloon and the New Territories are on a peninsula of the Chinese mainland and share a 20 km boundary. Hong Kong Island is situated across the harbour and is home to the city's main business district and international hotels. The Outlying Islands refer to any of Hong Kong's other 234 islands.

Some 6.8 million people live in Hong Kong. 95 per cent are Hong Kong Chinese, five per cent are non-Chinese.

Chinese (Cantonese) and English are Hong Kong's official languages. English is widely spoken among the business community. Putonghua (Mandarin), the official language in the Chinese mainland, is increasingly popular.

Hong Kong's climate is subtropical and seasonal. Temperatures can drop below 10 C in winter and exceed 30 C in summer. About 90 per cent of the rainfall occurs between April and September.

Hong Kong has a world-leading infrastructure network. Its airport, consistently recognised as one of the best in the world, has flights to some 100 overseas destinations and more than 40 mainland cities. Its container port and air cargo operations are the world's busiest. The public transport network efficiently transports some four million people a day to their workplaces. More than 25,000 vehicles cross between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland each day.

Time zone
GMT +8

International dialling code

Hong Kong - your partner for success in Asia

World's freest economy
orange Free flow of capital, free trade, free market
orange No foreign investment restrictions
orange No foreign exchange controls
orange Entrepreneurial culture D 98 per cent of businesses are SMEs

International business centre
orange Level playing field for local and international companies
orange Familiar and transparent legal system
orange World's busiest sea and air cargo centre
orange Free media (print, television and internet)

Business platform for China
orange Unrivalled experience of doing business in China
orange Free trade agreement (Cepa) gives preferential access to China from Hong Kong
orange Next to one of the world's fastest growing manufacturing regions - the Pearl River Delta
orange Largest external investor in China - 44 per cent of China's total

World class infrastructure
orange Increased rail, road, sea and air links with China
orange Extra container terminal to cater to growing demand
orange Express air cargo terminal and logistics centre to be built at airport
orange 95% broadband coverage - and growing

Low tax system
orange I17.5 per cent profits tax
orange 16 per cent maximum salaries tax
orange No VAT, sales tax or capital gains tax
orange No withholding tax on dividends and interest

Economic performance
orange 6% projected GDP growth for 2004
orange Trade exports up 11.7 per cent in 2003
orange Per capita GDP of US$23,300
orange Stable currency linked to US$

A vibrant and safe city
orange Convenient, compact and cosmopolitan city
orange 40 per cent of Hong Kong is country park
orange World-class events and facilities for sports and arts
orange Thousands of restaurants to suit all occasions