Hong Kong is commonly known as a gateway to China and the world. With its history of being ruled by different dynasties since the 17th century, it has been through many changes in its political system. However, it remains one of the most important trading ports on the planet. Something interesting about Hong Kong is that it was once part of the British Empire. The territory was ceded back to China after the Second Opium War in 1842, but Britain continued to administer it until 1997. Today, Hong Kong is an autonomous region with a high degree of autonomy from mainland China. It also enjoys a free market economy and a relatively open society. Its status as a Special Administrative Region (SAR) means that it is not under Beijing’s direct control, although it must follow Chinese law. The following are some of the things I didn’t know about Hong Kong:
*There are no mosquitos in Hong Kong
Mosquitos are common in other parts of Asia, but they don’t exist here because there aren’t any mosquitoes. This is because Hong Kong sits at the southern tip of China, where the weather is too hot for them to survive. They do however exist in the New Territories, which borders Hong Kong. This has made the territory a popular destination for people looking for a break from the heat. So if you want to visit an area where you are not afraid of being infected with malaria, then this might be the place for you!
*The first Mcdonald’s opened in Hong Kong.
In 1971, two brothers named Robert and Richard Dennison opened up their first Mcdonald’s restaurant in Hong Kong. At the time, Hong Kong had a population of just 7 million people, so it wasn’t very busy. But business soon took off when the city became a major international financial center, and today there are over 1,000 restaurants in operation.
*Hong Kong is the birthplace of Cantonese Opera
Cantonese opera is a traditional form of theater that originated in Guangdong province. Legend has it that a group of traveling entertainers came to Hong Kong during the Song Dynasty. These performers performed operas using puppets and shadow plays, and eventually, the style evolved into what we know today as Cantonese opera. Cantonese Opera has become extremely popular around the world, especially in North America. There are now more than 50 Cantonese opera troupes based in the United States alone.
*Hong Kong invented the fortune cookie
The origin of the fortune cookie goes back to the 1930s when Japanese immigrants were working in the Pearl River Delta. One day, while eating lunch at a local bakery, one of the workers noticed how delicious the cookies tasted, and asked the baker why he only used egg whites instead of whole eggs. The baker explained that his mother used to make them this way, and told him that he should try making them himself. The worker did exactly that, and the rest is history. Since then, the fortune cookie has gone on to become a global phenomenon.
*Hong Kong has the highest number of billionaires per capita.
According to Forbes magazine, Hong Kong has the highest number per capita of billionaires in the world. In 2016, 636 billionaires were living in Hong Kong, which works out at approximately 12.3 per 100,000 residents. That makes it far higher than anywhere else in the world. The next closest places are Singapore and Macau, with 5.6 and 4.2 respectively. Today Hong Kong is known as a haven for finance, luxury goods, and culture, having been ranked the best place to live by Mercer, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and Lonely Planet. Its high-tech industry continues to grow, and its status as a global banking center will likely ensure its continued success in the years ahead.
*Hong Kong was the last British colony in Asia.
On 30 June 1997, after 156 years of rule, the UK handed control of Hong Kong back to the Chinese government. It was the final piece of the puzzle in the handover of the former European colonies in Southeast Asia. After the transfer of sovereignty, the last British Governor, Chris Patten, said: “We leave behind us a rich heritage and a great legacy. We leave our friends and partners in Hong Kong a better place than we found it.”
*Hong Kong is home to the world’s tallest building – the Shanghai Tower.
At 832 meters (2715 feet) tall, the Shanghai Tower is currently the second tallest building in the world. When completed, it will be the tallest building in the world, beating Burj Khalifa, which stands at 828 meters (2695 feet). However, once again, Dubai will get the last laugh, as they plan to build an even taller tower called the World 1.0, which will stand 2km taller than the current record holder.
*Pollution is rampant.
In 2015, air pollution reached levels not seen since 2008, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. This was due to the combination of heavy rainfall and strong winds, causing pollutants to pile up in the city. According to the World Health Organization, outdoor air pollution causes over seven million premature deaths each year. Air quality in Hong Kong is improving, but it remains among the worst in the world. Pollution in Hong Kong can be particularly bad during the winter months when temperatures drop below 20 degrees Celsius.
*The MTR subway system is the largest in the world.
The Mass Transit Railway Corporation or MTR runs the metro systems in Hong Kong, Macau, and Guangzhou. They have more than 400 stations across their network and run around 3 billion trips every month. Their trains carry almost half of all passengers who use public transport in Hong Kong. This has contributed to making Hong Kong one of the most densely populated cities on Earth. The average person uses about 10 square meters of space, while the average American only needs 7.8 sq m.
*Hong Kong is the world’s biggest container port.
According to the Port of Hong Kong Authority, Hong Kong is the world’s biggest port for container shipping. There are two major terminals located in Kowloon Bay: Kwai Chung Container Terminals and Tsing Yi Container Terminals. Together, these facilities handle about 70% of all containers that enter and exit China.
*Hong Kong has the highest population density in the world.
According to the United Nations, Hong Kong has the third-highest population density in the entire world. With a total area of just 0.4 km, Hong Kong is packed full of people. The population density is so high because the land is scarce. Most of Hong Kong is made up of hills and mountains, and much of the flat ground is covered by buildings.
Hong Kong is a fascinating city with so many things to see and do. Whether you want to take in some history, visit famous tourist attractions, or go shopping, there’s something here for everyone. The city is also very easy to navigate, thanks to its efficient public transportation system. If you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong using Cathay Pacific, make sure you check out this list of things to do before your trip!