Hong Kong (香港; "Fragrant Harbour"), officially known as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the southern coast of China at the Pearl River Estuary and the South China Sea. Hong Kong is known for its skyline and deep natural harbour. It has an area of 1,104 km2 (426 sq mi) and shares its northern border with the Canton Province of Mainland China. Home to around 7,200,000 Hongkongers and other nationalities, Hong Kong is one of the world's most densely populated regions.
After the First Opium War (1839–42), Hong Kong became a British colony with the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island, followed by Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. After it was occupied by Japan in the Second World War (1941–45), the British resumed control until 30 June 1997. As a result of negotiations between China and Britain, Hong Kong was transferred to the People's Republic of China under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. The territory became China's first provincial-level special administrative region with a high degree of autonomy on 1 July 1997 under the principle of one country, two systems.
In the late 1970s, Hong Kong became a major entrepôt in Asia-Pacific. The territory has developed into a major global trade hub and financial centre, and is regarded as a world city. The 45th-largest economy in the world,Hong Kong ranks top ten in GDP (PPP) per capita. Hong Kong is one of the three most important financial centres alongside New York and London. The territory has a high Human Development Index and is ranked highly in the Global Competitiveness Report. It has been named the freest market economy by the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom. The service economy, characterised by low taxation and free trade, has been regarded as one of the world's most laissez-faire economic policies, and the currency, the Hong Kong dollar, is the 13th most traded currency in the world. The territory has the most severe income inequality among advanced economies. Hong Kong is a member of APEC, ADB, IMF, BIS, WTO, FIFA, and International Olympic Committee, as Hong Kong Basic Law authorizes the territory to develop relations with foreign states on its own in appropriate fields, including the economic, trade, financial and monetary, shipping, communications, tourism, cultural and sports fields.
Limited land created a dense infrastructure and the territory became a centre of modern architecture, and one of the world's most vertical cities. Hong Kong has a highly developed public transportation network covering 90 per cent of the population, the highest in the world, and relies on mass transit by road or rail. Air pollution remains a serious problem. Loose emissions standards have resulted in a high level ofatmospheric particulates. Nevertheless, Hongkongers enjoy the world's longest or second longest life expectancies.
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