Hong Kong

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 15, 2011
Flag of Hong Kong
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Hong Kong
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Map of Hong Kong
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Photos of Hong Kong
 
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OF HONG KONG
 

Introduction

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Occupied by the UK in 1841, Hong Kong was formally ceded by China the following year; various adjacent lands were added later in the 19th century. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and the UK on 19 December 1984, Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. In this agreement, China promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system would not be imposed on Hong Kong and that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.
 
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Geography

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Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China
 
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22 15 N, 114 10 E
 
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total: 1,104 sq km
country comparison to the world: 184
land: 1,054 sq km
water: 50 sq km
 
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six times the size of Washington, DC
 
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total: 30 km
regional border: China 30 km
 
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733 km
 
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territorial sea: 3 nm
 
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subtropical monsoon; cool and humid in winter, hot and rainy from spring through summer, warm and sunny in fall
 
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hilly to mountainous with steep slopes; lowlands in north
 
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lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Tai Mo Shan 958 m
 
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outstanding deepwater harbor, feldspar
 
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arable land: 5.05%
permanent crops: 1.01%
other: 93.94% (2001)
 
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NA; note - included in the total for China (2008)
 
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occasional typhoons
 
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air and water pollution from rapid urbanization
 
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party to: Marine Dumping (associate member), Ship Pollution (associate member)
 
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composed of more than 200 islands
 
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People and Society

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noun: Chinese/Hong Konger
adjective: Chinese/Hong Kong
 
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Chinese 95%, Filipino 1.6%, Indonesian 1.3%, other 2.1% (2006 census)
 
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Cantonese (official) 90.8%, English (official) 2.8%, Putonghua (Mandarin) 0.9%, other Chinese dialects 4.4%, other 1.1% (2006 census)
 
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eclectic mixture of local religions 90%, Christian 10%
 
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7,122,508 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
 
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0-14 years: 11.6% (male 431,728/female 394,898)
15-64 years: 74.8% (male 2,573,929/female 2,757,095)
65 years and over: 13.5% (male 452,278/female 512,580) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 43.4 years
male: 42.8 years
female: 43.8 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.448% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
 
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7.49 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 220
 
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7.07 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
 
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4.06 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
 
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urban population: 100% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 0.9% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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at birth: 1.075 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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total: 2.9 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 218
male: 3.08 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 82.04 years
country comparison to the world: 8
male: 79.32 years
female: 84.97 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.07 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 222
 
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0.1% (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
 
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2,600 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
 
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fewer than 200 (2003 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
 
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4.5% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 80
 
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definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 93.5%
male: 96.9%
female: 89.6% (2002)
 
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total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2009)
 
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total: 12.6%
country comparison to the world: 88
male: 15.1%
female: 10.3% (2009)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
conventional short form: Hong Kong
official long form: Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu
official short form: Xianggang
abbreviation: HK
 
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special administrative region of China
 
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limited democracy
 
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none (special administrative region of China)
 
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none (special administrative region of China)
 
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National Day (Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China), 1 October (1949); note - 1 July 1997 is celebrated as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day
 
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Basic Law, approved March 1990 by China's National People's Congress, is Hong Kong's charter
 
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mixed legal system of common law based on the English model and Chinese customary law (in matters of family and land tenure)
 
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direct election - 18 years of age for half the legislature and a majority of seats in 18 district councils; universal for permanent residents living in the territory of Hong Kong for the past seven years
indirect election - limited to about 220,000 members of functional constituencies for the other half of the legislature and an 800-member election committee for the chief executive drawn from broad sectoral groupings, central government bodies, and municipal organizations
 
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chief of state: President of China HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003)
head of government: Chief Executive Donald TSANG Yam-kuen (since 24 June 2005)
cabinet: Executive Council or ExCo consists of 15 official members and 14 non-official members
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: chief executive elected for five-year term by 800-member electoral committee; election last held on 25 March 2007 (next to be held in March 2012)
note: the LegCo voted in June 2010 to expand the electoral committee to 1,200 seats for the next election
election results: Donald TSANG elected chief executive receiving 84.1% of the vote of the election committee; Alan LEONG Kah-kit received 15.9%
 
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unicameral Legislative Council or LegCo (60 seats; 30 members indirectly elected by functional constituencies, 30 elected by popular vote; members serve four-year terms)
note: the LegCo voted in June 2010 to expand to 70 seats for the next election; the measure was approved by the National People's Congress Standing Committee in August 2010; the 10 new seats will be elected by popular vote
elections: last held on 7 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - pro-democracy 57%; pro-Beijing 40%, independent 3%; seats by parties - (pro-Beijing 35) DAB 13, Liberal Party 7, FTU 1, others 14; (pro-democracy 23) Democratic Party 8, Civic Party 5, CTU 3, League of Social Democrats 3, ADPL 2, The Frontier 1, NWSC 1; others 11; independents and non-voting LegCo president 2
 
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Court of Final Appeal, High Court (Court of Appeal and the Court of the First Instance), district courts, magistrates' courts, and other special courts
 
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parties: Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood or ADPL [LIU Sung Lee]; Civic Party [Audrey EU Yuet-mee]; Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong or DAB [TAM Yiu Cheng]; Democratic Party [Albert HO Chun-yan]; League of Social Democrats [Raymond WONG Yuk-man]; Liberal Party [Miriam LAU Kin-yee]; The Frontier (disbanded)
others: Confederation of Trade Unions or CTU; Federation of Trade Unions or FTU; Neighborhood and Workers Service Center or NWSC
note: political blocs include: pro-democracy - ADPL, Civic Party, Democratic Party, League of Social Democrats; pro-Beijing - DAB, Liberal Party, The Professional Forum (an informal group of three generally pro-government and pro-business LegCo members from functional constituencies and one independent elected from a geographic constituency), and Economic Synergy; there is no political party ordinance, so there are no registered political parties; politically active groups register as societies or companies
 
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Chinese General Chamber of Commerce (pro-China); Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong; Confederation of Trade Unions or CTU (pro-democracy) [LEE Cheuk-yan, general secretary]; Federation of Hong Kong Industries; Federation of Trade Unions or FTU (pro-China) [CHENG Yiu-tong, executive councilor]; Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China [LEE Cheuk-yan, chairman]; Hong Kong and Kowloon Trade Union Council (pro-Taiwan); Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce; Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union [FUNG Wai-wah, president]; Neighborhood and Workers' Service Center or NWSC [LEUNG Yiu-chung, LegCo member] (pro-democracy); Civic Act-up [Cyd HO Sau-lan, LegCo member] (pro-democracy)
 
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ADB, APEC, BIS, FATF, ICC, IHO, IMF, IMO (associate), Interpol (subbureau), IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITUC, UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCO, WTO
 
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none (special administrative region of China); Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office carries out normal liaison and communication with the US Government and other US entities
representative: Donald TONG
office: 1520 18th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] 202 331-8947
FAX: [1] 202 331-0318
NKETO offices: New York, San Francisco
 
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chief of mission: Consul General Stephen M. YOUNG
consulate(s) general: 26 Garden Road, Hong Kong
mailing address: PSC 461, Box 1, FPO AP 96521-0006
telephone: [852] 2523-9011
FAX: [852] 2845-1598
 
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red with a stylized, white, five-petal Bauhinia flower in the center; each petal contains a small, red, five-pointed star in its middle; the red color is the same as that on the Chinese flag and represents the motherland; the fragrant Bauhinia - developed in Hong Kong the late 19th century - has come to symbolize the region; the five stars echo those on the flag of China
 
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orchid tree flower
 
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note: as a Special Administrative Region of China, "Yiyonggjun Jinxingqu" is official (see China)
 
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Economy

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Hong Kong has a free market economy highly dependent on international trade and finance - the value of goods and services trade, including the sizable share of re-exports, is about four times GDP. Hong Kong's open economy left it exposed to the global economic slowdown, but its increasing integration with China, through trade, tourism, and financial links, helped it recover more quickly than many observers anticipated. The Hong Kong government is promoting the Special Administrative Region (SAR) as the site for Chinese renminbi (RMB) internationalization. Hong Kong residents are allowed to establish RMB-denominated savings accounts; RMB-denominated corporate and Chinese government bonds have been issued in Hong Kong; and RMB trade settlement is allowed. The territory far exceeded the RMB conversion quota set by Beijing for trade settlements in 2010 due to the growth of earnings from exports to the mainland. RMB deposits grew to roughly 4.6% of total system deposits in Hong Kong by the end of 2010, an increase of over 392% since the beginning of the year. The government is pursuing efforts to introduce additional use of RMB in Hong Kong financial markets and is seeking to expand the RMB quota for 2011. The mainland has long been Hong Kong's largest trading partner, accounting for about half of Hong Kong's exports by value. Hong Kong's natural resources are limited, and food and raw materials must be imported. As a result of China's easing of travel restrictions, the number of mainland tourists to the territory has surged from 4.5 million in 2001 to 22.5 million in 2010, outnumbering visitors from all other countries combined. Hong Kong has also established itself as the premier stock market for Chinese firms seeking to list abroad. In 2010 mainland Chinese companies constituted about 19% of the firms listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and accounted for 62% of the Exchange's market capitalization. During the past decade, as Hong Kong's manufacturing industry moved to the mainland, its service industry has grown rapidly and in 2009 accounted for more than 90% of the territory's GDP. GDP growth averaged a strong 3.8% from 1989 to 2010. Hong Kong's GDP fell in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, but a recovery began in third quarter 2009, and the economy grew nearly 6.8% in 2010. The Hong Kong government adopted several temporary fiscal policy support measures in response to the crisis that it may discontinue if strong growth is sustained. Credit expansion and tight housing supply conditions caused Hong Kong property prices to rise rapidly in 2010, and some lower income segments of the population are increasingly unable to afford adequate housing. Hong Kong continues to link its currency closely to the US dollar, maintaining an arrangement established in 1983.
 
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$325.8 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
$305 billion (2009 est.)
$313.3 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$225 billion (2010 est.)
 
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6.8% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
-2.7% (2009 est.)
2.3% (2008 est.)
 
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$45,900 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
$43,200 (2009 est.)
$44,600 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 0%
industry: 7.4%
services: 92.5% (2010 est.)
 
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3.676 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93
 
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manufacturing: 4.7%
construction: 2.2%
wholesale and retail trade, restaurants, and hotels: 41.7%
financing, insurance, and real estate: 12%
transport and communications: 6.3%
community and social services: 17%
note: above data exclude public sector (2010 est.)
 
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4.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
5.2% (2009 est.)
 
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NA%
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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53.3 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 15
 
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21.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
 
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revenues: $45.4 billion
expenditures: $38.94 billion (2010 est.)
 
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20.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
 
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2.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
 
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17.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
37.6% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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2.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
0.6% (2009 est.)
 
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0.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
0.5% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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5% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
5% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$82.18 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
$75.45 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$914.9 billion (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 18
$846.5 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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$445.8 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
$351 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$2.711 trillion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 6
$2.292 trillion (31 December 2009)
$1.329 trillion (31 December 2008 est.)
 
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fresh vegetables; poultry, pork; fish
 
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textiles, clothing, tourism, banking, shipping, electronics, plastics, toys, watches, clocks
 
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3.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
 
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38.23 billion kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
 
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42.64 billion kWh (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
 
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2.23 billion kWh (2010 est.)
 
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12.26 billion kWh (2010 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
 
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333,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
 
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22,670 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
 
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428,200 bbl/day (2010)
country comparison to the world: 29
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
 
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 142
 
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4.02 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
 
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0 cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
 
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4.02 billion cu m (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
 
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$14.8 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
$17.96 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$394 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
$321.8 billion (2009)
 
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electrical machinery and appliances, textiles, apparel, footwear, watches and clocks, toys, plastics, precious stones, printed material
 
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China 52.7%, US 11%, Japan 4.2% (2010 est.)
 
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$437 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
$348.7 billion (2009 est.)
 
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raw materials and semi-manufactures, consumer goods, capital goods, foodstuffs, fuel (most is reexported)
 
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China 45.1%, Japan 9.6%, Taiwan 7.6%, Singapore 4.8%, US 4.7% (2010)
 
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$268.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
$255.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$903.2 billion (30 June 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
$750.8 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
 
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$1.098 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
$936.4 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$948.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
$832.1 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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Hong Kong dollars (HKD) per US dollar -
7.78 (2010)
7.75 (2009)
7.751 (2008)
7.802 (2007)
7.7678 (2006)
 
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Communications

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4.345 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 37
 
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13.416 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 54
 
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general assessment: modern facilities provide excellent domestic and international services
domestic: microwave radio relay links and extensive fiber-optic network
international: country code - 852; multiple international submarine cables provide connections to Asia, US, Australia, the Middle East, and Western Europe; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Pacific Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean); coaxial cable to Guangzhou, China
 
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2 commercial terrestrial television networks each with multiple stations; multi-channel satellite and cable TV systems are available; 3 radio networks, one of which is government-funded, operate about 15 radio stations (2010)
 
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.hk
 
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817,701 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 45
 
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4.873 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 47
 
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Transportation

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2 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 210
 
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total: 2
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2010)
 
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9 (2010)
 
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total: 2,067 km
country comparison to the world: 172
paved: 2,067 km (2010)
 
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total: 1,429
country comparison to the world: 5
by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 629, cargo 177, carrier 11, chemical tanker 134, container 274, liquefied gas 37, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 9, petroleum tanker 139, roll on/roll off 5, vehicle carrier 8
foreign-owned: 855 (Belgium 16, Bermuda 12, Canada 70, China 432, Cyprus 3, Denmark 41, France 3, Germany 10, Greece 22, Indonesia 8, Iran 1, Japan 84, Libya 1, Norway 49, Russia 1, Singapore 13, South Korea 3, Taiwan 26, UAE 2, UK 27, US 31)
note: this country allows large numbers of ships owned by foreign entities to be registered in its national shipping registry and to fly its flag; these ships operate under the laws of the flag state
registered in other countries: 297 (Bahamas 2, Bermuda 5, Cambodia 11, China 15, Cyprus 2, Georgia 4, Honduras 1, India 1, Kiribati 1, Liberia 47, Malaysia 8, Malta 2, Marshall Islands 3, former Netherlands Antilles 1, NZ 1, Panama 125, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4, Seychelles 1, Sierra Leone 4, Singapore 38, Thailand 1, Tuvalu 1, UK 8, unknown 11) (2010)
 
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Hong Kong
 
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Military

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no regular indigenous military forces; Hong Kong garrison of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) includes elements of the PLA Ground Forces, PLA Navy, and PLA Air Force; these forces are under the direct leadership of the Central Military Commission in Beijing and under administrative control of the adjacent Guangzhou Military Region (2009)
 
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males age 16-49: 1,704,090
females age 16-49: 1,873,175 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 1,387,213
females age 16-49: 1,505,875 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 39,579
female: 36,554 (2010 est.)
 
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NA
 
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defense is the responsibility of China
 
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Transnational Issues

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none
 
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despite strenuous law enforcement efforts, faces difficult challenges in controlling transit of heroin and methamphetamine to regional and world markets; modern banking system provides conduit for money laundering; rising indigenous use of synthetic drugs, especially among young people
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