EtymologyThe name of the territory, first as "He-Ong-Kong" in 1780, originally referred to a small inlet located between and the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. was an initial point of contact between British sailors and local fishermen. Although the source of the romanised name is unknown, it is generally believed to be an early phonetic rendering of the pronunciation ''hēung góng'', or . The name translates as "fragrant harbour" or "incense harbour".. "Fragrant" may refer to the sweet taste of the harbour's freshwater influx from the Pearl River or to the odour from incense factories lining the coast of northern . The incense was stored near Aberdeen Harbour for export before was developed. (the second colonial governor) offered an alternative origin; Davis said that the name derived from "Hoong-keang" ("red torrent"), reflecting the colour of soil over which a waterfall on the island flowed. The simplified name ''Hong Kong'' was frequently used by 1810. The name was also commonly written as the single word ''Hongkong'' until 1926, when the government officially adopted the two-word name. Some corporations founded during the early colonial era still keep this name, including , , and (HSBC)..
Prehistory and Imperial ChinaEarliest known human traces in what is now Hong Kong are dated by some to 35,000 and 39,000 years ago during the period. The claim is based on an archaeological investigation in , in 2003. The archaeological works revealed s from deposits that were dated using optical . During the period, about 6,000 years ago, the region had been widely occupied by humans.. Neolithic to Hong Kong settlers were semi-coastal people. Early inhabitants are believed to be in the Middle Neolithic period and later the people. As hinted by the archaeological works in Sha Ha, Sai Kung, rice cultivation had been introduced since period.. Bronze Age Hong Kong was featured with coarse pottery, hard pottery, quartz and stone jewelry, as well as small bronze implements. The incorporated the Hong Kong area into China for the first time in 214 BCE, after . The region was consolidated under the kingdom (a predecessor state of Vietnam) after the Qin collapse. and recaptured by China after the . During the in the 13th century, the court was briefly located in modern-day (the site) before its final defeat in the 1279 .. By the end of the , seven large families had settled in the region and owned most of the land. Settlers from nearby provinces migrated to Kowloon throughout the . The earliest European visitor was explorer , who arrived in 1513. Portuguese merchants established a trading post called in Hong Kong waters and began regular trade with southern China. Although the traders were expelled after in the 1520s, Portuguese-Chinese trade relations were . Portugal acquired a permanent lease for in 1557. After the , maritime trade was banned under the ' policies. From 1661 to 1683, the population of most of the area forming present day Hong Kong was cleared under the , turning the region into a wasteland.Hong Kong Museum of History: "The Hong Kong Story" Exhibition Materials
British colonyIn 1839, the rejected proposals to legalise and tax opium and ordered imperial commissioner to eradicate the opium trade. The commissioner destroyed opium stockpiles and halted all foreign trade, triggering a British military response and the First Opium War. The Qing surrendered early in the war and ceded Hong Kong Island in the . British forces began controlling Hong Kong shortly after the signing of the convention, from 26 January 1841. However, both countries were dissatisfied and did not ratify the agreement. After more than a year of further hostilities, Hong Kong Island was formally ceded to the in the 1842 . Administrative infrastructure was quickly built by early 1842, but piracy, disease, and hostile Qing policies initially prevented the government from attracting commerce. Conditions on the island improved during the in the 1850s, when many Chinese refugees, including wealthy merchants, fled mainland turbulence and settled in the colony. Further tensions between the British and Qing over the opium trade escalated into the Second Opium War. The Qing were again defeated and forced to give up and in the . By the end of this war, Hong Kong had evolved from a transient colonial outpost into a major . Rapid economic improvement during the 1850s attracted foreign investment, as potential stakeholders became more confident in Hong Kong's future. The colony was further expanded in 1898 when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories. The was established in 1911 as the territory's first institution of higher education. began operation in 1924, and the colony avoided a prolonged economic downturn after the 1925–26 .. At the start of the in 1937, Governor declared Hong Kong a neutral zone to safeguard its status as a free port. The colonial government prepared for a possible attack, evacuating all British women and children in 1940. The , the same morning as its . Hong Kong was for almost four years before Britain resumed control on 30 August 1945. Its population rebounded quickly after the war, as skilled Chinese migrants fled from the and more refugees crossed the border when the took control of mainland China in 1949.. Hong Kong became the first of the economies to industrialise during the 1950s. With a rapidly increasing population, the colonial government began reforms to improve infrastructure and public services. The , , and were all established during the post-war decades to provide safer housing, integrity in the civil service, and more reliable transportation. Although the territory's competitiveness in manufacturing gradually declined because of rising labour and property costs, it transitioned to a service-based economy. By the early 1990s, Hong Kong had established itself as a global financial centre and shipping hub.
Chinese special administrative regionThe colony faced an uncertain future as the end of the New Territories lease approached, and raised the question of Hong Kong's status with in 1979. Diplomatic negotiations with China resulted in the 1984 , in which the United Kingdom agreed to transfer the colony in 1997 and China would guarantee Hong Kong's economic and political systems for 50 years after the transfer.. The impending transfer triggered a as residents feared an erosion of civil rights, the rule of law, and quality of life. Over half a million people left the territory during the peak migration period, from 1987 to 1996. The Legislative Council became a for the first time in 1995 and extensively expanded its functions and organisations throughout the last years of the colonial rule. Hong Kong was transferred to China on 1 July 1997, after 156 years of British rule. Immediately after the transfer, Hong Kong was severely affected by several crises. The government was forced to use substantial to maintain the Hong Kong dollar's currency peg during the , and the recovery from this was muted by an outbreak and a housing surplus. This was followed by the , during which the territory experienced its most serious economic downturn. Political debates after the transfer of sovereignty have centred around the region's and the 's adherence to the "one country, two systems" principle. After reversal of the last colonial era Legislative Council following the handover, the regional government unsuccessfully attempted to enact pursuant to . The central government decision to implement before allowing triggered a series of which became known as the Umbrella Revolution. Discrepancies in the electoral registry and disqualification of elected legislators after the and enforcement of national law in the raised further concerns about the region's autonomy. In June 2019, in response to a permitting extradition of fugitives to , while protesters argued that criminals might be extradited to mainland China. The protests are the largest in Hong Kong history, with organisers claiming to have attracted more than three million Hong Kong residents.
Government and politicsHong Kong is a , with executive, legislative, and judicial powers from the . The Sino-British Joint Declaration provided for economic and administrative continuity through the transfer of sovereignty, resulting in an governing system largely inherited from the territory's history as a British colony. Under these terms and the "one country, two systems" principle, the is the regional constitution. The regional government is composed of three branches: * ''Executive:'' The is responsible for enforcing regional law, can force reconsideration of legislation, and appoints members and . Acting with the Executive Council, the can propose new bills, issue , and has authority to the legislature. In or public danger, the Chief Executive-in-Council is further empowered to enact any regulation necessary to restore public order. * ''Legislature:'' The unicameral enacts regional law, approves budgets, and has the power to a sitting chief executive. * '':'' The and lower courts interpret laws and overturn those inconsistent with the Basic Law.. Judges are appointed by the chief executive on the advice of a recommendation commission. The chief executive is the and serves for a maximum of two five-year terms. The (led by the ) appoints the chief executive after nomination by the , which is composed of 1,200 business, community, and government leaders. The Legislative Council has 70 members, each serving a four-year term. Thirty-five are directly elected from , and thirty-five represent (FC). Thirty FC councillors are selected from limited electorates representing sectors of the economy or special interest groups, and the remaining five members are nominated from sitting members and selected in region-wide s. All popularly elected members are chosen by . The 30 limited electorate functional constituencies fill their seats using or voting. Twenty-two political parties had representatives elected to the Legislative Council in the . These parties have aligned themselves into three ideological groups: the (the current government), the , and . The Chinese Communist Party does not have an official political presence in Hong Kong, and its members do not run in local elections. Hong Kong is represented in the by 36 deputies chosen through an electoral college and 203 delegates in the appointed by the central government. does not generally apply in the region, and Hong Kong is treated as a separate jurisdiction. Its judicial system is based on , continuing the legal tradition established during British rule. Local courts may refer to precedents set in and overseas jurisprudence. However, applies to cases investigated by the . Interpretative and amending power over the Basic Law and jurisdiction over acts of state lie with the central authority, making regional courts ultimately subordinate to the mainland's system. Decisions made by the override any territorial judicial process. Furthermore, in circumstances where the Standing Committee declares a state of emergency in Hong Kong, the State Council may enforce national law in the region. Article 18. The territory's jurisdictional independence is most apparent in its and taxation policies. The issues which differ from those of the mainland or Macau, and the region maintains a with the rest of the country. All travellers between Hong Kong and China and Macau must pass through border controls, regardless of nationality. Mainland Chinese citizens do not have and are subject to immigration controls. Public finances are handled separately from the national government; taxes levied in Hong Kong do not fund the central authority. The of the is responsible for the region's defence. Although the is of the armed forces, the regional government may request assistance from the garrison. Hong Kong residents are not required to perform military service, and current law has no provision for local enlistment, so its defence is composed entirely of non-Hongkongers. The central government and handle diplomatic matters, but Hong Kong retains the ability to maintain separate economic and cultural . The territory actively participates in the , the forum, the , and many agencies. The regional government maintains in and other nations. The imposition of by the in June 2020 resulted in the suspension of bilateral extradition treaties by the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, and Ireland. The United States ended its preferential economic and trade treatment of Hong Kong in July 2020 because it was no longer able to distinguish Hong Kong as a separate entity from the People's Republic of China.
Administrative divisionsThe territory is divided into 18 districts, each represented by a . These advise the government on local issues such as public facility provisioning, community programme maintenance, cultural promotion, and environmental policy. There are a total of 479 district council seats, 452 of which are directly elected. chairmen, representing outlying villages and towns, fill the 27 non-elected seats.
Political reforms and sociopolitical issuesHong Kong is governed by a that is not fully of the population. Legislative Council members elected by functional constituencies composed of professional and special interest groups are accountable to these narrow corporate electorates and not the general public. This electoral arrangement has guaranteed a pro-establishment majority in the legislature since the transfer of sovereignty. Similarly, the chief executive is selected by establishment politicians and corporate members of the Election Committee rather than directly elected.. Although for the chief executive and all Legislative Council elections are defined goals of Basic Law and 68, the legislature is only partially directly elected, and the executive continues to be nominated by an unrepresentative body. The government has been repeatedly petitioned to introduce direct elections for these positions. Ethnic minorities (except those of European ancestry) have marginal representation in government and often experience discrimination in housing, education, and employment. Employment vacancies and public service appointments frequently have language requirements which minority job seekers do not meet, and language education resources remain inadequate for Chinese learners. , predominantly women from the Philippines and Indonesia, have little protection under regional law. Although they live and work in Hong Kong, these workers are not treated as ordinary residents and are ineligible for right of abode in the territory. is an issue. Hongkonger and foreign women and girls are forced into in brothels, homes, and businesses in the city. The Joint Declaration guarantees the for 50 years after the transfer of sovereignty. It does not specify how Hong Kong will be governed after 2047, and the central government's role in determining the territory's future system of government is the subject of political debate and speculation. Hong Kong's political and judicial systems may be integrated with China's at that time, or the territory may continue to be administered separately. However, during a period of large-scale protests in 2020, the passed the controversial . The law criminalises acts that were previously considered protected speech under Hong Kong law and establishes the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the CPG in the HKSAR, an investigative office under Central People's Government authority immune from HKSAR jurisdiction. The United Kingdom considers the law to be a serious violation of the Joint Declaration. In October 2020, Hong Kong police arrested seven pro- politicians over tussles with pro-Beijing politicians during the Legislative Council in May. They were charged with contempt and interfering with members of the council, while none of the pro-Beijing lawmakers were detained.
GeographyHong Kong is on China's southern coast, east of Macau, on the east side of the mouth of the . It is surrounded by the on all sides except the north, which neighbours the city of along the . The territory's area (2754.97 km2 if the maritime area is included) consists of , the , the , Lantau Island, and over 200 other islands. Of the total area, is land and is water. The territory's highest point is , above sea level. Urban development is concentrated on the Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong Island, and in throughout the New Territories. Much of this is built on ; (6% of the total land or about 25% of developed space in the territory) is reclaimed from the sea.. Undeveloped terrain is hilly to mountainous, with very little flat land, and consists mostly of grassland, woodland, shrubland, or farmland. About 40% of the remaining land area is and nature reserves. The territory has a diverse ecosystem; over 3,000 species of s occur in the region (300 of which are native to Hong Kong), and thousands of insect, avian, and marine species.
ClimateHong Kong has a ( ''Cwa''), characteristic of southern China, despite being located south of the . Summer is hot and humid, with occasional showers and thunderstorms and warm air from the southwest. s occur most often then, sometimes resulting in floods or landslides. Winters are mild and usually sunny at the beginning, becoming cloudy towards February; an occasional cold front brings strong, cooling winds from the north. Autumn is the sunniest season, whilst spring is generally cloudy. When there is snowfall, which is extremely rare, it is usually at high elevations. Hong Kong averages 1,709 hours of sunshine per year. Historic temperature extremes at the are on 22 August 2017 and on 18 January 1893. The highest and lowest recorded temperatures in all of Hong Kong are at on 22 August 2017, and at Tai Mo Shan .
ArchitectureHong Kong has the world's , with 482 towers taller than , and the third-largest number of high-rise buildings in the world. The lack of available space restricted development to high-density residential s and commercial complexes packed closely together on buildable land. s are uncommon and generally only found in outlying areas. The and are the and are among the tallest in the Asia-Pacific region. Other distinctive buildings lining the Hong Kong Island skyline include the , the -topped triangular , the circular , and the sharp-edged .. Demand for new construction has contributed to frequent demolition of older buildings, freeing space for modern high-rises. However, many examples of European and are still found throughout the territory. Older government buildings are examples of colonial architecture. The 1846 , the former residence of the commanding British military officer, is the oldest Western-style building in Hong Kong. Some (including the and the ) retain their original function, and others have been ; the was redeveloped into a commercial and retail complex,. and (built in 1875 as a ) houses the . The , dedicated to the sea goddess (originally built in 1012 and rebuilt in 1266), is the territory's oldest existing structure. The has architectural examples of several imperial Chinese dynasties, including the (Hong Kong's only remaining pagoda). ', mixed-use tenement buildings constructed during the colonial era, blended southern Chinese architectural styles with European influences. These were especially prolific during the immediate post-war period, when many were rapidly built to house large numbers of Chinese migrants. Examples include , the in , and the in . Mass-produced , built since the 1960s, are mainly constructed in .
DemographicsThe estimated Hong Kong's population at 7,482,500 in mid-2019. The overwhelming majority (92%) is , most of whom are , , , and other s. The remaining 8% are non-ethnic Chinese minorities, primarily , , and . However, most Filipinos and Indonesians in Hong Kong are short-term workers. According to a 2016 thematic report by the Hong Kong government, after excluding foreign domestic helpers, the real number of non-Chinese ethnic minorities in the city was 263,593, or 3.6% of Hong Kong's population. About half the population have , a legacy of colonial rule; 3.4 million residents have status, and 260,000 British citizens live in the territory. The vast majority also hold , automatically granted to all ethnic Chinese residents at the transfer of sovereignty. Headline population density of about 6,800 people/km2 does not reflect true densities since only 6.9% of land is residential; the residential average population density calculates closer to a highly cramped 100,000/km2. The predominant language is , a originating in Guangdong. It is spoken by 94.6% of the population, 88.9% as a first language and 5.7% as a second language. Slightly over half the population (53.2%) speaks English, the other official language; 4.3% are native speakers, and 48.9% speak English as a second language. , mixing English and Cantonese in informal conversation, is common among the bilingual population. Post-handover governments have promoted , which is currently about as prevalent as English; 48.6% of the population speak Mandarin, with 1.9% native speakers and 46.7% as a second language. are used in writing, rather than the used on the mainland. Among the religious population, the traditional "" of China, , , and , have the most adherents (20%), followed by (12%) and (4%).. Followers of other religions, including , , and , generally originate from regions where their religion predominates. Life expectancy in Hong Kong was 82.38 years for males and 88.17 years for females in 2022, the highest in the world. , , , , and accidents are the territory's five leading causes of death.. The is funded by general-tax revenue, and treatment is highly subsidised; on average, 95% of healthcare costs are covered by the government. Income inequality has risen since the transfer of sovereignty, as the region's ageing population has gradually added to the number of nonworking people. Although median household income steadily increased during the decade to 2016, the wage gap remained high; the 90th percentile of earners receive 41% of all income. The city has the most billionaires per capita, with one billionaire per 109,657 people. Despite government efforts to reduce the growing disparity, median income for the top 10% of earners is 44 times that of the bottom 10%.
EconomyHong Kong has a capitalist service economy, characterised by , minimal government market intervention, and an established international financial market. It is the world's , with a of approximately US$373 billion. Hong Kong's economy has ranked at the top of 's index since 1995. The is the , with a market capitalisation of HK$30.4 trillion (US$3.87 trillion) . Hong Kong is the tenth-largest trading entity in and (2017), trading more goods in value than its gross domestic product. Over half of its cargo throughput consists of s (goods travelling through Hong Kong). Products from mainland China account for about 40% of that traffic. The city's location allowed it to establish a transportation and logistics infrastructure which includes the world's seventh-busiest container port and the busiest airport for international cargo. The territory's largest export markets are mainland China and the United States. Hong Kong is part of the Maritime that runs from the Chinese coast via the to the Mediterranean, there to the Upper Adriatic region of with its rail connections to and . It has little arable land and few natural resources, importing most of its food and raw materials. More than 90% of Hong Kong's food is imported, including nearly all of its meat and rice. Agricultural activity is 0.1% of GDP and consists of growing premium food and flower varieties. Although the territory had one of Asia's largest manufacturing economies during the latter half of the colonial era, Hong Kong's economy is now dominated by the service sector. The sector generates 92.7% of economic output, with the public sector accounting for about 10%. Between 1961 and 1997 Hong Kong's gross domestic product increased by a factor of 180, and per capita GDP increased by a factor of 87. The territory's GDP relative to mainland China's peaked at 27% in 1993; it fell to less than 3% in 2017, as the mainland developed and liberalised its economy. Economic and infrastructure integration with China has increased significantly since the 1978 start of on the mainland. Since resumption of in 1979, many rail and road links have been improved and constructed, facilitating trade between regions.. The formalised a policy of free trade between the two areas, with each jurisdiction pledging to remove remaining obstacles to trade and cross-boundary investment. A similar economic partnership with Macau details the liberalisation of trade between the special administrative regions. Chinese companies have expanded their economic presence in the territory since the transfer of sovereignty. Mainland firms represent over half of the value, up from 5% in 1997. As the mainland liberalised its economy, Hong Kong's shipping industry faced intense competition from other Chinese ports. Half of China's trade goods were routed through Hong Kong in 1997, dropping to about 13% by 2015. The territory's minimal taxation, common law system, and civil service attract overseas corporations wishing to establish a presence in Asia. The city has the second-highest number of corporate headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region. Hong Kong is a gateway for in China, giving investors open access to mainland Chinese markets through direct links with and . The territory was the first market outside mainland China for , and is one of the largest hubs for offshore trading. In November 2020, Hong Kong's Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau proposed a new law that will restrict cryptocurrency trading to professional investors only, leaving amateur traders (93% of Hong Kong's trading population) out of the market. The government has had a passive role in the economy. Colonial governments had little and implemented almost no . Under the doctrine of "", post-war administrations deliberately avoided the direct allocation of resources; active intervention was considered detrimental to economic growth. While the economy transitioned to a service basis during the 1980s, late colonial governments introduced interventionist policies. Post-handover administrations continued and expanded these programmes, including guarantees, a , a minimum wage, s, and a state mortgage backer. Tourism is a major part of the economy, accounting for 5% of GDP. In 2016, 26.6 million visitors contributed HK$258 billion (US$32.9 billion) to the territory, making Hong Kong the . It is the most popular Chinese city for tourists, receiving over 70% more visitors than its closest competitor (Macau). The city is ranked as one of the .
TransportHong Kong has a highly developed, sophisticated transport network. Over 90% of daily trips are made on public transport, the highest percentage in the world. The , a card, is widely accepted on railways, buses and ferries, and can be used for payment in most retail stores. The , Hong Kong's first public transport system, has provided rail transport between and since 1888. The has an extensive system of escalators and , including the (the world's longest outdoor covered escalator system). covers a portion of Hong Kong Island. The (MTR) is an extensive passenger rail network, connecting 93 stations throughout the territory.. With a daily ridership of over five million, the system serves 41% of all public transit passengers in the city and has an on-time rate of 99.9%. Cross-boundary train service to Shenzhen is offered by the , and longer-distance , , and are operated from . to the is provided at . Although public transport systems handle most passenger traffic, there are over 500,000 private vehicles registered in Hong Kong. Automobiles drive (unlike in mainland China), because of historical influence of the British Empire. Vehicle traffic is extremely congested in urban areas, exacerbated by limited space to expand roads and an increasing number of vehicles. More than 18,000 , easily identifiable by their bright colour, are licensed to carry riders in the territory. operate more than 700 routes across the territory, with smaller es (also known as minibuses) serving areas standard buses do not reach as frequently or directly. Highways, organised with the , connect all major areas of the territory. The provides a direct route to the western side of the Pearl River estuary. is the territory's primary airport. Over 100 airlines operate flights from the airport, including locally based (), , low-cost airline and cargo airline . It is the and handles . Most private recreational aviation traffic flies through , under the supervision of the . The operates two lines across Victoria Harbour for its 53,000 daily passengers. Ferries also serve outlying islands inaccessible by other means. Smaller boats serve the most remote coastal settlements. Ferry travel to Macau and mainland China is also available. , once common in Hong Kong waters, are no longer widely available and are used privately and for tourism.
UtilitiesHong Kong generates most of its electricity locally. The vast majority of this energy comes from fossil fuels, with 46% from coal and 47% from petroleum. The rest is from other imports, including nuclear energy generated in mainland China. Renewable sources account for a negligible amount of energy generated for the territory. Small-scale wind-power sources have been developed, and a small number of private homes and public buildings have installed solar panels. With few natural lakes and rivers, high population density, inaccessible groundwater sources, and extremely seasonal rainfall, the territory does not have a reliable source of freshwater. The in Guangdong supplies 70% of the city's water,. and the remaining demand is filled by harvesting rainwater. Toilets in most built-up areas of the territory flush with seawater, greatly reducing freshwater use. Broadband Internet access is widely available, with 92.6% of households connected. Connections over are increasingly prevalent, contributing to the high regional average connection speed of 21.9 Mbit/s (the world's fourth-fastest). Mobile-phone use is ubiquitous; there are more than 18 million , more than double the territory's population.
CultureHong Kong is characterised as a hybrid of and . Traditional Chinese values emphasising family and education blend with Western ideals, including economic liberty and the rule of law. Although the vast majority of the population is ethnically Chinese, Hong Kong has developed a distinct identity. The territory diverged from the mainland through its long period of colonial administration and a different pace of economic, social, and cultural development. Mainstream culture is derived from immigrants originating from various parts of China. This was influenced by British-style education, a separate political system, and the territory's rapid development during the late 20th century. Most migrants of that era fled poverty and war, reflected in the prevailing attitude toward wealth; Hongkongers tend to link self-image and decision-making to material benefits. Residents' sense of local identity has markedly increased post-handover: The majority of the population (52%) identifies as "Hongkongers", while 11% describe themselves as "Chinese". The remaining population purport mixed identities, 23% as "Hongkonger in China" and 12% as "Chinese in Hong Kong". Traditional Chinese family values, including , , and a , are prevalent. are the most common households, although multi-generational and extended families are not unusual. Spiritual concepts such as ' are observed; large-scale construction projects often hire consultants to ensure proper building positioning and layout. The degree of its adherence to ''feng shui'' is believed to determine the success of a business. ' mirrors are regularly used to deflect evil spirits, and buildings often lack ; the number has a similar sound to the word for "die" in Cantonese.
CuisineFood in Hong Kong is primarily based on , despite the territory's exposure to foreign influences and its residents' varied origins. Rice is the staple food, and is usually served plain with other dishes.. Freshness of ingredients is emphasised. Poultry and seafood are commonly sold live at s, and ingredients are used as quickly as possible. There are five daily meals: breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and '. , as part of ' (brunch), is a dining-out tradition with family and friends. Dishes include , ', ', s, and . Local versions of Western food are served at ' (Hong Kong-style cafes). Common ''cha chaan teng'' menu items include macaroni in soup, deep-fried French toast, and .
CinemaHong Kong developed into a filmmaking hub during the late 1940s as a wave of Shanghai filmmakers migrated to the territory, and these movie veterans helped build the colony's entertainment industry over the next decade. By the 1960s, the city was well known to overseas audiences through films such as '. When 's was released in 1972, local productions became popular outside Hong Kong. During the 1980s, films such as ', ', and ' expanded global interest beyond s; locally made gangster films, romantic dramas, and supernatural fantasies became popular. Hong Kong cinema continued to be internationally successful over the following decade with critically acclaimed dramas such as ', ', and '. The city's martial arts film roots are evident in the roles of the most prolific Hong Kong actors. , , , , and frequently play action-oriented roles in foreign films. At the height of the local movie industry in the early 1990s, over 400 films were produced each year; since then, industry momentum shifted to mainland China. The number of films produced annually has declined to about 60 in 2017.
Musicis a genre of Cantonese popular music which emerged in Hong Kong during the 1970s. Evolving from Shanghai-style ', it is also influenced by and Western pop. Local media featured songs by artists such as , , , and ; during the 1980s, exported films and shows exposed Cantopop to a global audience. The genre's popularity peaked in the 1990s, when the dominated Asian record charts. Despite a general decline since late in the decade, Cantopop remains dominant in Hong Kong; contemporary artists such as , , and are popular in and beyond the territory. Western classical music has historically had a strong presence in Hong Kong and remains a large part of local musical education. The publicly funded , the territory's oldest professional symphony orchestra, frequently hosts musicians and conductors from overseas. The , composed of , is the leading Chinese ensemble and plays a significant role in promoting traditional music in the community.
Sport and recreationDespite its small area, the territory is home to a variety of sports and recreational facilities. The city has hosted numerous major sporting events, including the , the , and the .. The territory regularly hosts the , , and , and hosted the inaugural and the . Hong Kong represents itself separately from mainland China, with its own sports teams in international competitions. The territory has participated in almost every Summer Olympics since 1952 and has earned . won the territory's first Olympic gold medal at the , and won the second one in . Hong Kong athletes have won and . No longer part of the , the city's last appearance in the latter was in . races originated as a religious ceremony conducted during the annual . The race was revived as a modern sport as part of the 's efforts to promote Hong Kong's image abroad. The first modern competition was organised in 1976, and overseas teams began competing in the first international race in 1993. The , the territory's largest taxpayer,. has a monopoly on gambling and provides over 7% of government revenue. Three forms of gambling are legal in Hong Kong: lotteries, horse racing, and football.
EducationEducation in Hong Kong is largely modelled after , particularly the . Children are required to attend school from age 6 until completion of secondary education, generally at age 18. At the end of secondary schooling, all students take a public examination and awarded the on successful completion. Of residents aged 15 and older, 81% completed lower-secondary education, 66% graduated from an upper secondary school, 32% attended a non-degree tertiary program, and 24% earned a bachelor's degree or higher. Mandatory education has contributed to an adult literacy rate of 95.7%. The literacy rate is lower than that of other developed economies because of the influx of refugees from mainland China during the post-war colonial era; much of the elderly population were not formally educated because of war and poverty. Comprehensive schools fall under three categories: public schools, which are government-run; subsidised schools, including government aid-and-grant schools; and private schools, often those run by religious organisations and that base admissions on academic merit. These schools are subject to the curriculum guidelines as provided by the Education Bureau. Private schools subsidised under the ; international schools fall outside of this system and may elect to use differing curricula and teach using other languages. The government maintains a policy of "mother tongue instruction"; most schools use Cantonese as the , with written education in both Chinese and English. Other languages being used as medium of instruction in non-international school education include English and (Standard Mandarin Chinese). Secondary schools emphasise "bi-literacy and tri-lingualism", which has encouraged the proliferation of spoken Mandarin language education. Hong Kong has eleven universities. The was founded as the city's first institute of higher education during the early colonial period in 1911. The was established in 1963 to fill the need for a university that taught using Chinese as its primary language of instruction. Along with the and , these universities are ranked among the best in Asia. The , , , , , and were all established in subsequent years.
MediaMost of the newsapapers in Hong Kong are written in Chinese but there are also a few English-language newspapers. The major one is the ', with ' serving as a business-oriented alternative. A variety of Chinese-language newspapers are published daily; the most prominent are '' and'' '. Local publications are often politically affiliated, with pro-Beijing or pro-democracy sympathies. The central government has a print-media presence in the territory through the state-owned ' and '. Several international publications have regional operations in Hong Kong, including ', ', ', ', ', and '. Three television broadcasters operate in the territory; , , and air eight channels. TVB, Hong Kong's dominant television network, has an 80% viewer share. operated by and offer hundreds of additional channels and cater to a variety of audiences. is the public broadcaster, providing seven radio channels and three television channels. Ten non-domestic broadcasters air programming for the territory's foreign population. Access to media and information over the Internet is not subject to mainland Chinese regulations, including the , yet local control applies.
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