The World Factbook (1990)/Hong Kong

The World Factbook (1990)
United States Central Intelligence Agency
Hong Kong

pages 136–138

Hong Kong
(colony of the UK)

World Factbook (1990) Hong Kong.jpg

 See regional map VIII


Total area: 1,040 km²; land area: 990 km²

Comparative area: slightly less than six times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundary: 30 km with China

Coastline: 733 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Exclusive fishing zone: 3 nm
Territorial sea: 3 nm

Disputes: scheduled to become a Special Administrative Region of China in 1997

Climate: tropical monsoon; cool and humid in winter, hot and rainy from spring through summer, warm and sunny in fall

Terrain: hilly to mountainous with steep slopes; lowlands in north

Natural resources: outstanding deepwater harbor, feldspar

Land use: 7% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 1% meadows and pastures; 12% forest and woodland; 79% other; includes 3% irrigated

Environment: more than 200 islands; occasional typhoons


Population: 5,759,990 (July 1990), growth rate 1.0% (1990)

Birth rate: 13 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 2 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 6 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 76 years male, 82 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 1.4 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: adjective—Hong Kong

Ethnic divisions: 98% Chinese, 2% other

Religion: 90% eclectic mixture of local religions, 10% Christian

Language: Chinese (Cantonese), English

Literacy: 75%

Labor force: 2,640,000; 35.8% manufacturing; 22.7% wholesale and retail trade, restaurants and hotel, 17.1% services, 7.5% construction, 8.4% transport and communications, 6.1% financing, insurance, and real estate (1986)

Organized labor: 15% of labor force (1986)


Long-form name: none; abbreviated HK

Type: colony of the UK; scheduled to revert to China in 1997

Capital: Victoria

Administrative divisions: none (colony of the UK)

Independence: none (colony of the UK); the UK signed an agreement with China on 19 December 1984 to return Hong Kong to China on 1 July 1997; in the joint declaration, China promises to respect Hong Kong's existing social and economic systems and lifestyle for 50 years after transition

Constitution: unwritten; partly statutes, partly common law and practice

Legal system: based on English common law

National holiday: Liberation Day, 29 August (1945)

Executive branch: British monarch, governor, chief secretary of the Executive Council

Legislative branch: Legislative Council

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952);

Head of Government—Governor Sir David Clive WILSON (since 9 April 1987); Chief Secretary Sir David Robert FORD (since NA February 1987)

Political parties: none

Suffrage: limited to about 71,000 professionals of electoral college and functional constituencies

Elections: Legislative Council—indirect elections last held 26 September 1985 (next to be held in September 1991); seats—(58 total; 26 elected, 32 appointed)

Communists: 5,000 (est.) cadres affiliated with Communist Party of China

Other political or pressure groups: Federation of Trade Unions (Communist controlled), Hong Kong and Kowloon Trade Union Council (Nationalist Chinese dominated), Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Chinese General Chamber of Commerce (Communist controlled), Federation of Hong Kong Industries, Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, and several small pro-democracy groups.

Member of: ADB, ESCAP (associate member), GATT, IMO, INTERPOL, Multifiber Arrangement, WMO

Diplomatic representation: as a British colony, the interests of Hong Kong in the US are represented by the UK; US—Consul General Donald M. ANDERSON; Consulate General at 26 Garden Road, Hong Kong (mailing address is Box 30, Hong Kong, or FPO San Francisco 96659-0002); telephone [852](5) 239011

Flag: blue with the flag of the UK in the upper hoist-side quadrant with the Hong Kong coat of arms on a white disk centered on the outer half of the flag; the coat of arms contains a shield (bearing two junks below a crown) held by a lion (representing the UK) and a dragon (representing China) with another lion above the shield and a banner bearing the words HONG KONG below the shield


Overview: Hong Kong has a free-market economy and is autonomous in financial affairs. Natural resources are limited and food and raw materials must be imported. Manufacturing is the backbone of the economy, accounting for more than 20% of GDP, employing 36% of the labor force, and exporting about 90% of output. Real GDP growth averaged a remakarble 8% in 1987-88, then slowed to a respectable 3% in 1989. Unemployment, which has been declining since the mid-1980s, is now less than 2%. A shortage of labor continues to put upward pressure on prices and the cost of living. Short-term prospects remain solid so long as major trading partners continue to be prosperous. The crackdown in China in 1989 casts a long shadow over the longer term economic outlook.

GDP: $57 billion, per capita $10,000; real growth rate 3% (1989)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.5% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 1.6% (1988)

Budget: $6.9 billion (FY89)

Exports: $63.2 billion (f.o.b., 1988), including reexports of $22.9 billion; commodities—clothing, textile yarn and fabric, footwear, electrical appliances, watches and clocks, toys; partners—US 31%, China 14%, FRG 8%, UK 6%, Japan 5%

Imports: $63.9 billion (c.i.f., 1988); commodities—foodstuffs, transport equipment, raw materials, semimanufactures, petroleum; partners—China 31%, Japan 20%, Taiwan 9%, US 8%

External debt: $9.6 billion (December 1988)

Industrial production: growth rate 7.0% (1988)

Electricity: 7,800,000 kW capacity; 23,000 million kWh produced, 4,030 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: textiles, clothing, tourism, electronics, plastics, toys, watches, clocks

Agriculture: minor role in the economy; rice, vegetables, dairy products; less than 20% self-sufficient; shortages of rice, wheat, water

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-87), $141.2 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $899.8 million

Currency: Hong Kong dollar (plural—dollars); 1 Hong Kong dollar (HK$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Hong Kong dollars (HK$) per US$—7.800 (March 1989), 7.810 (1988), 7.760 (1987), 7.795 (1986), 7.811 (1985); note—linked to the US dollar at the rate of about 7.8 HK$ per 1 US$ since 1985

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Railroads: 35 km 1.435-meter standard gauge, government owned

Highways: 1,100 km total; 794 km paved, 306 km gravel, crushed stone, or earth

Ports: Hong Kong

Merchant marine: 134 ships (1,000 GRT or over), totaling 4,391,102 GRT/7,430,337 DWT; includes 1 passenger, 1 short-sea passenger, 11 cargo, 1 refrigerated cargo, 13 container, 2 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 10 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 chemical tanker, 9 combination ore/oil, 7 liquefied gas, 69 bulk; note—a flag of convenience registry; ships registered in Hong Kong fly the UK flag and an estimated 500 Hong Kong-owned ships are registered elsewhere

Civil air: 16 major transport aircraft

Airports: 2 total; 2 usable; 2 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; none with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: modern facilities provide excellent domestic and international services; 2,300,000 telephones; microwave transmission links and extensive optical fiber transmission network; stations—6 AM, 6 FM, 4 TV; 1 British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) relay station and 1 British Forces Broadcasting Service relay station; 2,500,000 radio receivers; 1,312,000 TV sets (1,224,000 color TV sets); satellite earth stations—1 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT and 2 Indian Ocean INTELSAT; coaxial cable to Guangzhou, China; links to 5 international submarine cables providing access to ASEAN member nations, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Middle East, and Western Europe

Defense Forces

Branches: Headquarters of British Forces, Gurkha Brigade, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force, Royal Hong Kong Police Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 1,703,890; 1,320,914 fit for military service; 46,440 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 0.5% of GDP, or $300 million (1989 est.); this represents one-fourth of the total cost of defending the colony, the remainder being paid by the UK

Note: defense is the responsibility of the UK