Before I start to dig deeper and bring you the best of what Hong Kong has to offer, I think it’s appropriate to share some of the most essential pieces of information that I’ve discovered about the territory in my past few months here.
1. The name Hong Kong is a phonetic rendering of a Cantonese name meaning “fragrant harbour”.
2. With a population of 7 million people but land area of only 1,108 km, Hong Kong is the 4th most densely populated territory in the world.
3. In 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The territory was a colony of the United Kingdom from 1842 until 1997, when it was handed back to the Chinese government.
4. All land in Hong Kong is owned by the government, and leased to private users for periods of 50 years (before the 1997 handover, lease terms were 75, 99, or 999 years). New real estate is being reclaimed from the harbor for commercial development.
5. The average work week is 47 hours.
6. Hong Kong has no sales tax and offers extremely low corporate and income tax, making it a favorable location for businesses to operate. The government is able to maintain income through its real estate leases.
7. Hong Kong is the world’s eleventh largest trading entity, with many of the exports consisting of products made outside of the territory and distributed from Hong Kong.
8. Hong Kong is home to a highly developed network of transport – buses, ferries, railways, a tramway system and rapid transit system. Over 90% of all daily travels in the city are on public transport – the highest in the world.
9. As of 2006, there are 114 countries that maintain consulates in Hong Kong, more than any other city in the world.
10. Architect Tao Ho designed Hong Kong’s flag as part of a post-colonial contest. He used juxtaposition of red and white on the flag to symbolises the “one country two systems” political principle applied to the region. The stylised rendering of the Bauhinia blakeana flower, a flower discovered in Hong Kong, is meant to serve as a harmonising symbol for this dichotomy.