28 interesting facts about Hong Kong

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From the highest life expectancy in the world to a record number of billionaires, these are the most interesting facts about Hong Kong.

Hing Kong skyline at evening with lights on
Interesting facts about Hong Kong include its skyscrapers (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR)
Population: 7.3 million
Area: 1,108 sq km
Capital city: Hong Kong
Major languages: Cantonese, English, Mandarin
Major religions: Buddhism/Taoism, Christianity
Time zone: UTC+8 (Hong Kong Time)
– Source: CIA World Factbook

Interesting facts about Hong Kong

1. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China located in the South China Sea of Eastern Asia.
– Source: Britannica

2. The archipelago of Hong Kong is made up of over 200 islands as well as some of mainland China known as the “New Territories”.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

3. Hong Kong Island was initially ceded to the UK from China in 1842 and then in 1860, the New Territories along with other islands joined them. In 1898, China leased the whole region to the UK for 99 years until 1997.
– Source: Britannica

Map of Hong Kong SAR
Map of Hong Kong SAR (Shutterstock)

4. Hong Kong is governed by the “one country, two systems” principle where China has agreed to give the SAR a high degree of autonomy and to preserve its economic and social systems for 50 years from the 1997 handover.
– Source: BBC News

5. Archaeological remains suggest that Hong Kong has been inhabited for at least 7,000 years and possibly as long as 40,000 years.
– Source: Internet Archaeology Journal

6. Hong Kong’s flag has a red background with a central five-petaled white bauhinia flower with a five-pointed red star in each petal. The bauhinia flower is a traditional emblem of Hong Kong. The five petals and red stars represent the five major regions of China. Red represents communism as well as the traditional Chinese colour for happiness.
– Source: Britannica

The Chinese and Hong Kong flags flying enxt to each other – note the HK one is lower
The Chinese and Hong Kong flags (Shutterstock)

7. Hong Kong’s flag can only be displayed together with the Chinese flag and secondary to it – i.e. lower and/or smaller.
– Source: Britannica

8. The name Hong Kong means “Fragrant Harbour” in Cantonese, a name inspired by the city’s past as a significant trading post for incense, particularly the luxury agarwood incense.
– Source: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch Vol. 54 (2014), pp. 33-57

9. Hong Kong is home to the world’s longest outdoor escalator system. The Central-Mid-Levels Escalator is an 800m-long series of 16 reversible escalators and three travelators that crosses 13 streets. It’s covered throughout to protect against the elements.
– Source: CNN

The Central-Mid-Levels Escalator in Hong Kong
The Central-Mid-Levels Escalator (Shutterstock)

10. Hong Kong is connected to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai via the world’s longest sea bridge. The bridge spans 55km and includes 6.7km of undersea tunnel to allow ships to pass.
– Source: The Guardian

11. As of 2022, Hong Kong has 68 billionaires – only the cities of New York and Shanghai have more. As a country, it has 8.83 billionaires per million people – the sixth highest country in the world.
– Source: Forbes

12. With 7,125 people per sq km of land area, Hong Kong is the fourth most densely populated region in the world after Macao SAR, Monaco and Singapore.
– Source: World Bank

Tightly packed skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong is densely populated (Shutterstock)

13. Many buildings in Hong Kong do not have floors with the number ‘four’ in them as the number in Cantonese sounds like “will certainly die”. It’s not unusual for buildings to skip the 4th, 14th, 24th etc floors as well as all floors from 40 to 49.
– Source: BBC Travel

14. Hong Kong is ranked the world’s fourth top financial centre. Until recently it was third and Asia’s top financial centre.
– Source: Bloomberg

15. Even though Hong Kong is famous for its skyscrapers, over 70% of its territory is mountains and country parks,
– Source: Lonely Planet

Green hills surrounding a small town
Discovery Bay on Lantau Island in Hong Kong (Shutterstock)

16. Hong Kong doesn’t have any UNESCO World Heritage Sites but it does have the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. Geoparks are gt geological heritage sites that promote sustainable research and development. The main feature of Hong Kong’s geopark are the “outcropped acidic volcanic hexagonal rock columns”.
– Source: UNESCO

17. Hong Kong is the city with the highest number of skyscrapers in the world. There are currently 552 buildings over 150m high.
– Source: Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

18. Hong Kong’s tallest building is the 484m International Commerce Centre. It is the world’s 12th tallest building.
– Source: Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

19. It is home to the world’s highest cocktail lounge and the world’s highest swimming pool – both are located on the 108th floor at 468.8m.
– Source: Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

The International Commerce Centre seen across the water
The International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong (Shutterstock)

20.  Hong Kong is considered one of the most powerful cities in the world. The city was ranked ninth in the 2020 edition of the Global Power City Index.
– Source: Mori Memorial Foundation

21. At 84.9 years at birth, Hong Kong has the world’s highest life expectancy.
– Source: World Bank

22. Hong Kong’s Peak Tram was Asia’s first funicular railway. It went into service in 1888 and climbs 396m to the summit of Victoria Peak which at 552m is the highest point on Hong Kong Island.
– Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board

A red tram moving up the mountain over the city
Hong Kong’s Peak Tram (Shutterstock)

23. Behind South Korea, Hong Kong has the world’s second-lowest fertility rate at just 0.9 births per woman.
– Source: World Bank

24. 100% of Hong Kong’s total population is urban – meaning they are living in urban areas.
– Source: CIA World Factbook

25. Hong Kong has the tallest seated bronze Buddha statue in the world. Built in 1993, the Big Buddha at Po Lin Monastery is 23m high, or 26.4m if you include the lotus it sits on, or almost 34m if you include the podium it’s placed on.
– Source: Lonely Planet

Looking up at the Big Buddha at Po Lin Monastery
The Big Buddha at Po Lin Monastery (Shutterstock)

26. Hong Kong has a famous stilt village called Tai O known as the “the Venice of Hong Kong” home to the Tanka boat people. The village is built partly on Lantau Island and a small island 15m from the coast. Until the mid-1990s, visitors had to cross via a rope-tow ferry pulled by elderly women. 
– Source: Lonely Planet

27. Hong Kongers are famous followers of Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese practice focused on how the environment affects people’s well-being. The term translates as “wind-water” and is used to orient buildings and interior design.
– Source: The Guardian

28. Hong Kong is the world’s most visited city receiving 26,716,800 visitors in 2019 (the latest available data).
– Source: Euromonitor

Every effort has been made to verify these facts about Hong Kong using primary sources. However, if you find an error or have any questions, please contact us.