Hong Kong Facts

Coming to Hong Kong – The Facts

Hong Kong, with a population of about 7.00 million in mid- 2009, is a small but dynamic city which has earned an international reputation as a leading commercial and financial centre as well as a highly efficient entrepot. Hong Kong has also seen a rapid expansion of its services sector in the past two decades, contributing up to 92 per cent of Hong Kong’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in recent years.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region: The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established on July 1, 1997. Under the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, Hong Kong’s previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years and the HKSAR will be run by Hong Kong people. The HKSAR enjoys a high degree of autonomy except for the foreign and defence affairs.
The Basic Law: The Basic Law is a constitutional document for the HKSAR. It enshrines within a legal document the basic policies of the PRC regarding Hong Kong and prescribes the various systems to be practised in the HKSAR. It prescribes the relationship between the
Central Authorities and the HKSAR; the fundamental rights and duties of Hong Kong residents; the political structure of the HKSAR; the economic and social systems of the HKSAR; the conduct of external affairs by the HKSAR as well as the interpretation and amendment of the Basic Law.
The Government: The Chief Executive (CE) is the head of the HKSAR. According to the Basic Law, the CE shall be selected by election or through consultations held in Hong Kong, and be appointed by the Central People’s Government. At present, the Election Committee which is responsible for selecting the CE is composed of 800 members. Most members of the Election Committee are returned by election.
The courts of justice in the HKSAR comprise the Court of Final Appeal, the High Court (which includes the Court of Appeal and the Court of First Instance), the District Court (which includes the Family Court), the Lands Tribunal, the Magistrates’ Courts (which include the Juvenile Courts), the Labour Tribunal, the Small Claims Tribunal, the Obscene Articles Tribunal and the Coroner’s Court.

Public Finance: As at end-March 2010, the Government’s fiscal reserves stood at $ 520.3 billion. Estimated government revenue for 2010-11 amounts to $ 292.0 billion.

About 42 per cent of the revenue comes from direct taxes and 25 per cent from indirect taxes. Other sources of revenue include land premium, investment income and fees and charges.

Estimated public expenditure for 2010-11 amounts to $ 337.8 billion, representing about 19.8% of GDP. This includes government expenditure of $ 317.2 billion and expenditure by the Housing Authority and the Trading Funds of $ 20.6 billion. The major areas of public expenditure in the year are: education (18.9%), social welfare (12.9%) and health (12.0%).
Economy: The success of Hong Kong as a leading trade, finance and business centre stems from a policy of free enterprise and trade, industrious workforce, well-developed infrastructure and excellent telecommunications. Over the past 20 years, the Hong Kong’s GDP has grown by an average annual rate of 3.8 per cent per annum in real terms. In 2009, GDP at current market prices amounted to $ 1,633.5 billion, while per capita GDP has reached $ 233,239.
Trade: The value of total trade (including merchandise imports, domestic exports and re-exports) in 2009 was $ 5,161.4 billion, 11.8 per cent lower than that of 2008. The principal market for Hong Kong’s total exports was the mainland of China which took 51.2 per cent of Hong Kong’s total export value in 2009, followed by the United States of America (11.6%), Japan (4.4%), Germany (3.2%) and the United Kingdom (2.4%). The main suppliers of imports were the mainland of China (46.4%), Japan (8.8%), Taiwan (6.5%), Singapore (6.5%) and the
United States of America (5.3%). 
Housing: One of the key objectives of the Government’s housing policy is to help families and persons in need gain access to adequate and affordable housing. The Government provides housing assistance to eligible families and persons through the public rental housing programme. Our target is to maintain the average waiting time for public rental housing at around three years. The Government also strives to maintain a fair and stable operating environment to facilitate the sustained and healthy development of the private housing market.
As at March 31, 2010, over half of Hong Kong’s families lived in self-owned accommodation. About 30 per cent of the population (2.06 million people) lived in public rental housing.
Health: Hong Kong is, on the whole, a healthy place. The general health indices compare favourably with those in Western countries. The hospitals are among the finest and best equipped in the world. Comprehensive medical facilities and specialist services are available throughout Hong Kong. There is no National Health Service and medical advice and treatment have to be paid for. 

However, government medical services are available to all residents at a nominal charge.
As at end-December 2009, the total number of hospital beds were 35 062, distributed in 38 public and 13 private hospitals as well as 37 nursing homes and 23 Correctional Services Department hospitals. The bedpopulation ratio was 5.0 beds per thousand population. At
the same time, there were 12 424 registered doctors, 6 048 registered Chinese medicine practitioners and 2 786 listed Chinese medicine practitioners in Hong Kong, equivalent to 1.8 registered doctors, 0.9 registered Chinese medicine practitioners and 0.4 listed Chinese
medicine practitioners per thousand population respectively.
Education: In 2009-10 school year, there were 950 kindergartens, 582 primary schools and 523 secondary schools. Enrolment in kindergarten was 140 502, with another 344 748 and 469 466 in primary and secondary schools respectively. The enrolment of the University Grants Committee (UGC) funded programmes offered by the eight UGC-funded institutions in 2009-10 was 74 146 students. 
The Government has introduced a New Academic Structure (NAS) that covers three yeas of junior secondary education, three in senior secondary and four at university. The 3-year senior secondary education under the NAS was implemented in S4 in September 2009 and the 4-year university courses will be implemented in September 2012.

Social Welfare: The Social Welfare Department and nongovernmental organisations (including 171 subvented welfare organisations) provide a full range of welfare services through about 2 800 service units. Services include social security, family and child welfare, medical

social work, group and community work, services for young people, services for the elderly, rehabilitation services for the disabled, and services for offenders. The department operates a 24-hour hotline providing information on social welfare services. Social workers are also available round the clock to provide immediate telephone counselling, support and referral services.
Transportation: Sea: In 2009, 33 160 ocean-going ships and 172 350 river-trade cargo vessels arrived at the port of Hong Kong – one of the busiest container ports in the
world. During the year, about 10.3 million passengers came from the Mainland and Macau on board jetfoils and catamarans to disembark at the China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, the Macau Ferry Terminal in Central or the Tuen Mun Ferry Terminal in Tuen Mun. About 11.6 million
passengers made outbound ferry trips from the three terminals.

Road: In 2009, there are 2 050 kilometres of roads with a total number of 584 070 licensed vehicles and government vehicles, a density of 285 vehicles per kilometre. Three cross-harbour tunnels link Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. As at December 2009, some 5 786 franchised buses and more than 3.81 million daily passenger journeys were recorded during the year. There were large fleets of minibuses and taxis, and 164 tram cars.

Railways: The railway system in Hong Kong is operated and managed by the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Corporation Limited. It consists of Kwun Tong Line (Tiu Keng Leng – Yau Ma Tei), Tsuen Wan Line (Tsuen Wan –Central), Island Line (Chai Wan – Sheung Wan), Tung
Chung Line (Hong Kong – Tung Chung), Tseung Kwan O Line (Po Lam/LOHAS Park – North Point), East Rail Line (Hung Hom – Lo Wu/Lok Ma Chau), West Rail Line (Tuen Mun – Hung Hom), Ma On Shan Line (Wu Kai Sha – TaiWai) and Disneyland Resort Line (Sunny Bay –
Disneyland Resort). There are over 80 stations along the 174.7 kilometre route. The MTR also operates a 35.2 km Airport Express Line. The above lines carry an average of about 3.7 million passengers per weekday.

The MTR operates the Light Rail Transit system with feeder bus routes in the northwest New Territories, embracing the new towns of Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai. About 393 000 passengers travel daily on the Light Rail system.
Air: Hong Kong International Airport is among the busiest in the world. There are more than 96 airlines providing about 5 700 scheduled passenger and freight flights each week. In 2009, it handled over 46.2 million international passengers and 3.35 million tonnes of air cargo.

Telecommunications: As at March 2010, the fully digitalised telephone systems serve nearly 4.2 million telephone exchange lines. The mobile telephone systems serve over 12.48 million subscribers (as of January 2010), a penetration rate of about 178 subscribers per 100 inhabitants, which is one of the highest in the world. With 4.16 million subscribers, the third generation (3G) mobile service continues to grow, enabling consumers to enjoy high-speed mobile multi-media services. Other than basic voice services, data services are becoming popular among consumers. As at January 2010, local mobile data usage recorded a remarkable surge to 731 Terabytes (i.e. 730 749 Gigabytes), or an average of 138.5 Mbytes per 2.5G/3G mobile user. This represents 5.0 times and 19.9 times the mobile data usage over the same period in 2009 and 2008 respectively. 
The local broadband Internet service market has also been growing rapidly in recent years by having more than 2.07 million of subscribers as at February 2010. The household broadband penetration rate has reached almost 82%. With nearly 1.2 million subscribers as at December 2009, Hong Kong has also become the most advanced IP television service market in
the world. Hong Kong has also developed into a leading wireless city with 9 060 hotspots (as of May 2010) covering over 4 800 locations which enable the public to access the Internet via Wi-Fi. 

Banks: Hong Kong is an international banking centre. As at the end of May 2010, there were 146 licensed banks, 24 restricted licence banks and 27 deposit-taking companies in Hong Kong, together with 70 local representative offices of overseas banking institutions. These institutions come from 33 countries and include 70 out of the world’s largest 100 banks. 

Together they operated a comprehensive network of 1 388 local branches, excluding their principal place of business in Hong Kong.

Exchange Rate: Since October 1983, Hong Kong has been adopting the linked exchange rate system under which the Hong Kong dollar is linked to the US dollar at the fixed rate of HK$ 7.80 to US$ 1.

Taxation: Under the territorial source concept of taxation, only income arising in or derived from Hong Kong is chargeable to tax. Profits from any trade, business or profession carried on in Hong Kong are chargeable to profits tax. For the year of assessment 2009-10, the profits

tax rate for corporations is 16.5 per cent and that for other businesses is 15 per cent. Income from employment is charged with salaries tax which is calculated at progressive rates after deducting various deductions and allowances. 

Salaries tax is however limited to the standard rate of 15 per cent on the net income before deduction of allowances. Property tax is charged on the owner of any properties in Hong Kong at the standard rate of 15 per cent on the annual rent receivable less a deduction of 20

per cent for repairs and outgoings.

Mass Media: Hong Kong has one of the highest newspaper readerships in Asia. It is also one of the world’s largest centres for Chinese-language publications. There were a total of 697 publications registered as at May 2010, 47 of which were newspapers including 22 Chineselanguage dailies and 13 English dailies. There were 650 periodicals covering a wide variety of subjects from public affairs/politics to technical matters and entertainment.

Hong Kong’s television viewers can access to over 370 domestic and non-domestic television programme service channels broadcast by local licensees. These include 15 free-to-air channels provided by two domestic free television programme service licensees, about 320

pay TV channels provided by three domestic pay television programme service licensees, and about 50 non-domestic television programme service channels. 

The three radio stations in Hong Kong have 13 channels in Chinese and English and broadcast more than 2 000 hours of programmes a week.

Courtesy: Information Service Department, Hong Kong