Hong Kong – Geography
A very large part of the population lives on the island of Hong Kong (or Victoria, 80 km2) and in Kowloon (47 km2) on the mainland. The two areas are among the most densely populated in the world. In addition, the New Territories (975 km2, also on the mainland) as well as 235 sparsely populated or uninhabited islands. The urban area itself is made up of Kowloon and the north side of the island, but new cities have sprung up in the New Territories, which now accommodate a quarter of the population. The south side of Hong Kong has beaches, and some traditional fishing villages where residents live on houseboats can still be found.
The climate is tropical, but the winters are relatively cool due to northeast winds from mainland China. Frost can occur on the highest mountain peaks. The summers are hot and rainy with seasons for typhoons from July to September. The terrain is mountainous and was originally forested; now only 10% of the area is forest, but up to half of the territory is designated as nature reserves. Agriculture, especially poultry and pig farming, as well as horticulture and fish ponds, cover only 7%, and the food supply to the large population, like the water supply, is based on imports from China.
The population is predominantly Chinese, who immigrated through the 1900’s. The white minority, especially Britons and other immigrants from the Commonwealth, make up only 2%. Population growth has been fluctuating, marked by waves of immigration, while the birth rate is at the country level. In 1995, 40% of the population was born outside Hong Kong. In connection with the transition to Chinese rule, there has been a lot of emigration.
The business community is completely dominated by service industries with the financial sector, shipping and trade (re-exports to and from China) as key sectors. With almost 22 million. tourists per year (2004), of which a sharply increasing number of affluent Chinese from the People’s Republic, now over half of the tourists, tourism has become increasingly important.
The industry is concentrated on consumables such as clothing, electronics, watches and plastic products. Among other things. produced about a quarter of the world’s radios in Hong Kong. The limited heavy industry sector is engaged in shipbuilding and repair, aircraft manufacturing and steel rolling. All raw materials are imported and 90% of industrial production is exported. Since the 1980’s, the opening of free zones on the Chinese mainland has meant that many companies have relocated here. Employment of Hong Kong-funded companies in China is now several times greater than in the remaining Hong Kong industry.
One of the assets of modern Hong Kong is the first-class infrastructure. There are road tunnels under the harbor, and the harbor’s container terminal is among the busiest in the world. From Kowloon there is a railway to Guangzhou (Canton). The city’s new airport was inaugurated in 1998 on the island of Lantau 30 km west of the city districts; in 2005, it had more than DKK 40 million. traveler. A newly built express metro connects the airport with the city center.
Hong Kong – language
Until 1997, English and from 1974 also Chinese were the official languages in Hong Kong, and both languages are guaranteed both in the British-Chinese agreement of 1984 and in The Basic Law of 1990 continued official status after Hong Kong’s incorporation into China until 1997. Until then, English has been the dominant language at higher levels of government, in law and banking, international trade and tourism, while Chinese, in practice Cantonese, is the mother tongue of most and the common language of almost everyone in the colony; it is written as in mainland China, however, traditional, non-simplified characters are used. Bilingualism and trilingualism are widespread. Since 1984, there has been a growing interest in learning standard Chinese, but Cantonese still dominates in everyday life.
Hong Kong – Economy
Hong Kong is one of Asia’s richest societies. As one of Asia’s “four little tigers”, it experienced significant industrial growth after World War II, but in recent years, some industry has moved to production zones in southern China, and over 85% of the economy now comes from the service sector. Since World War II, Hong Kong has pursued a liberal policy that has sought minimal public intervention in the economy, and the area is considered to have the world’s most unregulated economy. Public expenditure accounts for less than 20% of GDP, which includes has resulted in a very low tax burden. Thus, only approximately 25% of the population tax. Hong Kong is also a duty-free area, and only a few goods, such as spirits, tobacco and cars, are subject to taxes.
The combination of this non-interference policy and Hong Kong’s important strategic location has led many foreign companies to establish themselves in the former crown colony, which has also developed into one of the world’s financial centers. The importance of the financial sector is illustrated by the fact that it employs almost 20% of the workforce.
Since 1983, the currency, the Hong Kong dollar, has been pegged to the dollar at a rate of 7.8 to 1. As Hong Kong does not have a central bank (the money is issued by three commercial banks and since 1994 also by the Bank of China), the exchange rate is guaranteed by the government. this purpose has one of the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves. Hong Kong has no restrictions on the mobility of capital across borders, which, compared to the fixed exchange rate against the dollar, in principle means that Hong Kong’s monetary policy is determined by the United States.
Economic policy supports Hong Kong’s lifeline, foreign trade, which in 2005 accounted for as much as 334% of the country’s GDP. The large share is partly due to the fact that Hong Kong is without raw materials and therefore completely dependent on imports from other countries, and partly because Hong Kong, in step with China’s gradual opening, has developed into a center for trade between the West and China. A large part of Hong Kong’s foreign trade thus takes the form of re-exports to/from China.
Uncertainty regarding developments in the country after China’s takeover of Hong Kong on 1 July 1997 led to a transition to emigration and the relocation of a number of foreign companies. However, the legislation relating to the transfer has made it possible to continue the current economic policy; the area has the status of Special Administrative Region, has far-reaching autonomy and is financially independent of the government in Beijing. It has thus been agreed that the private capitalist system should be maintained for 50 years, that the Hong Kong dollar will continue to be the currency of the region, and that Hong Kong will remain a duty-free area and maintain its position in international organizations under the name Hong Kong China.
In the period after the transfer, Hong Kong was hit by a series of crises, which, however, are not attributed to the transition itself. In connection with the Asian crisis in 1997, property values fell by approximately 50%, and GDP fell 5% in 1998. Growth soon resumed, but was halted by the global downturn in 2001. The outbreak of SARS in 2003 also set limits, but from the same year relaxed travel rules led to a large influx of tourists from the rest of China; GDP growth was approximately 7% in 2005. A deflationary period of almost six years ended in 2004. Since the Asian crisis, unemployment has been approximately 5%.
Hong Kong’s largest trading partners are China, the United States and Japan (2005). Denmark’s exports to Hong Kong in 2005 amounted to DKK 4.1 billion. DKK, while imports from there amounted to 3.0 billion. The sale of mink fur is by far the most important Danish export product. Imports mainly consist of clothing, IT and office equipment.