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Hong Kong at a Glance

Situated at the south-eastern tip of China, Hong Kong is a vibrant city and a major gateway to China. This page will give you a brief overview of Hong Kong – from the form of government to the languages used.

Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Following British rule from 1842 to 1997, China assumed sovereignty under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle. Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy and enjoys executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication.

Legal System
Under the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, Hong Kong’s legal framework is based on common law and the independence of the judiciary. The Hong Kong’s constitutional document, the Basic Law, ensures that the city retains its previous capitalist system and way of life for 50 years. The rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong are based on the impartial rule of law and an independent judiciary.

The Basic Law provides the constitutional framework for the legal system in Hong Kong.

Learn more about Hong Kong’s legal system here.

Learn more about Hong Kong as a dispute resolution centre here.

Hong Kong's economy is characterised by free trade, low taxation and minimum government intervention. It is the world's 8th largest trading economy, with the mainland of China as its most significant trading partner. Hong Kong is also a major service economy, with particularly strong links to mainland China and the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.

Hong Kong’s population was approximately 7.34 million in 2016. People of Chinese descent comprise the vast majority of the population, with foreign nationals comprising 8%.

Chinese and English are the official languages of Hong Kong. English is widely used in the Government and by the legal, professional and business sectors. Trilingual professionals who speak English, Cantonese and Putonghua play a vital role in the numerous enterprises trading in Hong Kong or doing business with mainland China and Taiwan.

At the south-eastern tip of China, Hong Kong covers Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories, including 262 outlying islands. Between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula lies Victoria Harbour, one of the world's most renowned deep-water harbours.

Hong Kong's climate is sub-tropical, with temperatures dropping below 10 degrees Celsius in winter and exceeding 31 degrees Celsius in summer. It is warm, sunny and dry in autumn, cool and dry in winter, and hot, humid and rainy from spring to summer.

Public Holidays
Hong Kong provides two types of public holidays: statutory and general holidays. Statutory holidays are mandated under the Employment Ordinance and must be provided to all employees. General holidays include every Sunday, all statutory holidays and an additional 5 holidays.

Hong Kong Statistics
Detailed official statistics on various social and economic aspects of Hong Kong are available below. You can also download statistical publications free of charge.

Tax Rates
Hong Kong is one of the most tax-friendly economies in the world according to the 2014 Paying Taxes study commissioned by the World Bank and the International Financial Corporation which compared the tax rates of 189 economies.

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