Asian stocks move higher after signs of US rate hike; Japan's Nikkei up 1.1% to 19865.13, South Korea's Kospi up 0.9% to 1,980.37, Hong Kong's Hang Seng up 1.3% to 22,463.35 and Australia's ASX up 2.1% to 5,242.60 - @AP
Editor's note: Asian stocks slid following release of China trade data, which showed larger-than-expected slide in imports. Japan stocks fell 0.9%, South Korea's KOSPI down 0.2%, China's Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.4%, Hong Kong shed 0.4%, Australia's shares dropped 0.8%. - Imana
Hong Kong (香港; "Fragrant Harbour"), officially 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 1104 km2 and shares its northern border with the Guangdong Province of Mainland China. With around 7.2 million Hongkongers of various nationalities, Hong Kong is one of the world's most densely populated metropolises.
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 from 1898. From the start of the colony, Hong Kong remained under British control for about a century until the Second World War, then the colony was occupied by Japan in the legendary three years and eight months (12.1941 - 08.1945). After the Japanese surrender the British resumed control for about 52 years 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 a special administrative region of China 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 10 in GDP (PPP) per capita, but also has the most severe income inequality among advanced economies. 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 free trade and low taxation, 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. 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 of atmospheric particulates. Nevertheless, Hongkongers enjoy the world's longest or second longest life expectancies.