Main article: Geography of Hong Kong
The name "Hong Kong" is derived from Hong Kong Island in the South China Sea, at the mouth of the Xi Jiang or Pearl River of southern China. Other territories that were later added include the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories, which include over 200 surrounding islands. The landscape is fairly hilly to mountainous with steep slopes, with the highest point being the Tai Mo Shan at 958 m, though lowlands exist in the north.
Of the total of 1102 km² of Hong Kong, only 25% are developed. The remaining 75% are set aside as a countryside and preservation area.
The local climate is that of a tropical monsoon clime. It is cool and humid in winter (Jan-Mar), hot and rainy from spring through summer (Apr-Sep), and warm,sunny and dry in the autumn (Oct - Dec). Hong Kong is visited by occasional typhoons. On September 18 1906 a typhoon with tsunami killed an estimated 10,000 persons.
See also: Ecology of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Country Parks & Special Areas;
Main article: Economy of Hong Kong
and the former Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport, both in Hong Kong, taken on NASA's Landsat 7.'']]
Hong Kong has a bustling free market economy highly dependent on international trade. Natural resources are limited, and food and raw materials must be imported. Indeed, imports and exports, including re-exports, each exceed GDP in dollar value. Even before Hong Kong reverted to Chinese administration on July 1, 1997 it had extensive trade and investment ties with the People's Republic of China. The service industry represented 86.5% of the GDP in 2001, and the territory, with a highly sophisticated banking sector, has housed the Asian headquarters of many multinational corporations in recent decades.
Per capita GDP compares with the level in the four big economies of Western Europe. GDP growth averaged a strong 5% in 1989-1997. The widespread Asian economic difficulties in 1998 hit this trade-dependent economy quite hard, with GDP down 5%. The economy, with growth of 10% in 2000, recovered rapidly from the Asian financial crisis. The recent global downturn has badly hurt Hong Kong's exports and GDP growth was 2.3% in 2002.
The main airport, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), is located on a partly artificial island connected to Lantau Island. The airport is often called Chek Lap Kok Airport, after one of the islands it was built on. HKIA is the replacement for the older Kai Tak Airport, which was known for its spectacular urban approach. Kai Tak was retired after Chek Lap Kok was built and now serves as an recreational venue and has been earmarked for housing development.
In early 2003, the local economy was hit hard by the outbreak of Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). On June 29, 2003, the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) was signed. CEPA allows Hong Kong service providers in 18 areas to enter the mainland market at least one year ahead of their foreign competitors. The arrangement provides a platform for Hong Kong professionals to practice on the mainland and also allows Hong Kong permanent residents to set up individually owned retail stores in Guangdong Province.
On July 28, 2003, the Individual Visit Scheme was started to allow travellers from some cities in mainland China to visit Hong Kong on an individual basis. As a result, the tourism industry in Hong Kong is booming once again.