Hong Kong

The Basic Law

The SAR Government

The Basic Law is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China. It enshrines the concepts of “One Country, Two Systems”, “a high degree of autonomy” for Hong Kong - except as regards defence and foreign affairs - and of “Hong Kong People administering Hong Kong”.

According to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s political system and way of life will remain unchanged for 50 years after 1997. Hong Kong remains a free port, a separate customs territory and an international financial centre with its own tax system and convertible currency, the Hong Kong dollar. The rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong are based on the impartial rule of law and an independent judiciary. Hong Kong remains within the common law system. The Court of Final Appeal is the highest appellate court and is headed by the Chief Justice.

The Basic Law provides that the Hong Kong SAR may on its own, using the name “Hong Kong, China”, maintain and develop relations and conclude and implement agreements with foreign states and regions and relevant international organisations, including in the economic, trade, financial and monetary, shipping, communications, tourism, cultural and sports fields.

It also provides that the Hong Kong SAR may establish official or semi-official economic and trade missions in foreign countries. The global network of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices is established in accordance with this provision.

The power of interpretation of the Basic Law is vested in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (SCNPC). The SCNPC shall authorise the courts of the Hong Kong SAR to interpret on their own, in adjudicating cases, the provisions of the Basic Law which are within the limits of the autonomy of the Hong Kong SAR.

The Basic Law designates a system of governance led by a Chief Executive and an Executive Council, with a two-tiered system of representative government and an independent judiciary.

The Chief Executive and the Executive Council

The Chief Executive is the head of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. He or she is elected by a broadly representative Election Committee and is appointed by the Central People’s Government. The Chief Executive is assisted and advised in policy making by an Executive Council of 16 principal officials and 16 non-official members appointed by the Chief Executive from among the senior officials of the executive authorities, members of the Legislative Council and public figures.

The Government

The main administrative and executive functions of government are carried out by policy bureaux and departments. The civil service employs approximately 177,000 persons or about 4.5% of the Hong Kong’s labour force. Apart from administering public services, its main tasks are to assist the Chief Executive and Principal Officials in formulating policies and carrying out decisions.

Legislative Council

The Legislative Council is the law-making body of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The number of Members of the seventh term Legislative Council is increased from 70 to 90, including 40 Members returned by the Election Committee Constituency, 30 Members returned by Functional Constituencies, and 20 Members returned by Geographical Constituencies through elections.

District Councils

The 18 District Councils advise the Government on, amongst others, matters affecting the well-being of the people in the districts and on the provision and use of their public facilities and services, and undertake environmental improvement projects and promote recreational, cultural and community activities within the districts.

Information about Hong Kong

Innovation and
Premier Gateway
to Mainland

Special Administrative Region

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Hong Kong was established as a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997.

Hong Kong's constitutional document, the Basic Law, guarantees that the principles and policies regarding Hong Kong will remain unchanged for 50 years, and designates a system of governance led by a Chief Executive and an Executive Council, with a two-tiered system of representative government and an independent judiciary.

Since 1997, Hong Kong has continued to prosper, full of dynamism and opportunities, and has grown in importance in the international arena under the auspices of the "one country, two systems" and "Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong" principles.


Situated at the south-eastern tip of China, Hong Kong is ideally positioned at the centre of East Asia, one of the world's most dynamic economic regions. Hong Kong includes Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories, including 262 outlying islands. Hong Kong Island lies just south of Kowloon, separated by Victoria Harbour; the New Territories lie north of Kowloon and run up to the border with Mainland China. A map of Hong Kong can be found here.

Population, geography, languages

Hong Kong has a *population of over 7.5 million living on 1 105.7 square kilometres of land. More than 75% of the total area is undeveloped land with great natural beauty and biodiversity. Both English and Chinese are the official languages and many people are fluent in Cantonese and Putonghua. English is widely used in the Government and by the legal, professional and business sectors.

The Economy

Hong Kong is continuing to prosper thanks to its ideal location in fast-growing Asia and the opportunities brought by the Mainland economy.

Hong Kong is an international business, trade and financial hub, as well as a renowned tourist city, providing high value-added and knowledge-intensive services to the globalised world.

Hong Kong was ranked the world’s freest economy in Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World 2021 Annual Report in September 2021. It was also ranked number two in the world after the USD in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2021.

Its many advantages include free and open trade, the rule of law, a simple, low tax system and excellent infrastructure and connectivity. It has well-established professional services, a thriving start-up ecosystem, a well-educated and industrious workforce, and a low incidence of corruption.

In addition to its four pillar industries (financial services, trading and logistics, professional and business services, and tourism) Hong Kong has been developing into an international innovation and technology (I&T) hub and is seizing the opportunities offered by national projects like the Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area development.

Hong Kong is developing its I&T ecosystem to enable re-industrialisation to take root, and to complement I&T development across the boundary in Shenzhen.

The GDP per capita of Hong Kong amounted to HK$ 362,310 (US$ 46,718 - EUR 38,403) in 2020, among the highest in the world.

In 2021, real GDP expanded notably by 6.4%, reversing the declines in the previous two years. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.9% in October – December 2021, while inflation was 2.4%.

Foreign reserves amount to around HK$ 3.8 trillion, 1.8 times Hong Kong’s monetary base.

International Financial Centre

Hong Kong is the world’s 3rd financial centre behind New York and London, and 1st in Asia (Global Financial Centres Index 2021) with an international reputation in areas such as capital-raising, asset management and insurance.

As a global banking hub, it ranks 2nd in Asia and 6th globally for external transactions (US$ 3 trillion); 78 and the world’s top 100 banks and 13 of the world’s top insurers and operate in Hong Kong.

The banking system has an average liquidity coverage ratio and capital adequacy ratio at around 150% and 20%, well above statutory requirements, and total deposits of HK$15.4 trillion.

There are over 600 Fintech companies in Hong Kong. Eight virtual banks, four virtual insurers, and a virtual asset trading platform have been authorised to operate.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is one of the largest bourses in the world by stock market capitalisation and has over 2,570 listed companies.

HKEX was the world’s number 1 Initial Public Offering (IPO) market in 7 of the past 13 years. It raised HK$331.3 billion of funds in 2021, 2nd in Asia and 4th in the world. It is the 2nd-largest market in the world for biotech capital raising. Hong Kong is also developing the real estate investment trust (REIT) market.

Hong Kong is the world’s offshore Renminbi business hub and mutual investment conduits between the Mainland of China and Hong Kong include Stock Connect, Bond Connect, and Wealth Management Connect.

Hong Kong is the premier asset and wealth management centre in Asia, with business amounting to around US$4.47 trillion at end-2020. Hong Kong is Asia’s number 1 hedge fund base and number 2 in private equity CUM, behind the Mainland.

Innovation and Technology Hub

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan backs Hong Kong’s rise as a global Innovation and Technology (I&T) hub and the HKSAR Government is sparing no effort in promoting I&T development, investing more than HK$130 billion (EUR 14.32 billion) over four years.

Centres of I&T development in Hong Kong include Cyberport, a creative digital community of more than 1,650 enterprises that is also a key force shaping fintech development in the city.

The Hong Kong Science Park (HKSP) is the city’s largest R&D base and home to about 1,000 I&T enterprises from 23 countries/regions.

The HKSP is establishing world-class research clusters in collaboration with globally renowned institutions and commercial entities. The first batch of R&D clusters involves Health@InnoHK focusing on healthcare, and AIR@InnoHK for artificial intelligence and robotics technologies.

The Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park is being built on a 87 hectare site at the Lok Ma Chau Loop, a strategic location at the boundary between the two tech-savvy cities.

Hong Kong’s smart city development is set out in the Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0, which involves more than 130 initiatives.

Hong Kong ranks 14th out of 132 economies in the 2021 Global Innovation Index’s infrastructure ranking.

More information: https://www.investhk.gov.hk/en/industries/innovation-and-technology.html

Premier Gateway to Mainland China

Since launching the world's first offshore Renminbi (RMB) market in 2004, Hong Kong has become the world's number one offshore RMB business pool, with total deposits of RMB 906.7 billion (February 2021) processing around 75% of all global offshore RMB payments.

Mutual access of capital markets is ever-closer. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) launched the pioneering Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect programme in 2014, further expanded with the launch of Shenzhen Connect in 2016, and the launch of Bond Connect in 2017.

In 2021 the Northbound Stock Connect’s daily trade value was RMB121.1 billion and the Southbound Stock Connect’s was HK$41.7 billion, up 32% and 71% over 2020 respectively.

As mentioned in the Proposal for Formulating China's National 14th Five-Year Plan, China supports Hong Kong in building the city as an international I&T hub, fostering the development of the city as a Belt and Road Initiative functional platform, and achieving diversified and sustainable development of the economy.

Hong Kong will continue to benefit from the ongoing development of Mainland China. The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on 15 November 2020 by 15 member states – the ten ASEAN countries, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand - will further promote economic integration in the region. Hong Kong will leverage on the advantages under "One Country, Two Systems", playing its unique role as a gateway and an intermediary and seizing the opportunities brought by the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative.

The following links will provide you with a wealth of information about Hong Kong:

HKSAR Government website

Hong Kong Fact Sheets - handy, concise reference materials on a wide range of topics

Hong Kong Brand – fact sheets, news

Hong Kong Economy - updated statistics and information about the economy of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Laws - the legislation now in operation in Hong Kong https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/ The Basic Law – Hong Kong’s constitutional document

Hong Kong Yearbook - a comprehensive review of Hong Kong's progress in a year, from health and welfare, housing and education to the economy, monetary affairs and the legal system.

Hong Kong Welcomes You - Thinking of living, studying, working in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong Talent List : Careers in Hong Kong

Latest News from Hong Kong