Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is an autonomous territory in China, south of the mainland Chinese province of Guangdong and east of the former Portuguese colony and fellow Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macao. With around 7.2 million Hong Konger’s of various nationalities in a territory of 1,104 km2, Hong Kong is the world's fourth most densely populated country or territory.
Hong Kong used to be a British colony with the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island from the Qing Empire after the First Opium War (1839–1842). The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and acquired a 99-year lease of the New Territories from 1898. Hong Kong was later occupied by Japan during the Second World War until British control resumed in 1945. The Sino-British Joint Declaration signed between the United Kingdom and China in 1984 paved way for the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997, when it became a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China with a high degree of autonomy.
Under the principle of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong maintains a separate political and economic system from China. Except in military defence and foreign affairs, Hong Kong maintains its independent executive, legislative and judiciary powers. In addition, Hong Kong develops relations directly with foreign states and international organisations in a broad range of "appropriate fields". Hong Kong involves in international organizations, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the World Trade Organization (WOR), actively and independently.
Hong Kong is one of the world's most significant financial centres, with the highest Financial Development Index score and consistently ranks as the world's most competitive and freest economic entity. Known to be "Asia's World City", Hong Kong is the world's most popular international traveller destination, and the home of the world's most frequently travelled citizens. As the world's 8th largest trading entity, its legal tender, Hong Kong dollar, is the world's 13th most traded currency. Hong Kong's tertiary sector dominated economy is characterised by competitive simple taxation and supported by its independent judiciary system. Even with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it suffers from severe income inequality.
Nicknamed "Pearl of the Orient", Hong Kong has a harbour named Victoria Harbour, and it features the most skyscrapers in the world. It has a very high Human Development Index ranking and the world's longest life expectancy. Over 90% of the population makes use of well-developed public transportation. Seasonal air pollution with origins from neighbouring industrial areas of Mainland China, which adopts loose emissions standards, has resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates in winter.
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