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Hong Kong


What we know from our community

Hong Kong’s linguistic panorama is closely interwoven with the city’s history as a British colony. It has two official languages: Chinese and English. Hong Kong Chinese (Cantonese for spoken communication and standard written Chinese for formal written communication) is the language that intrinsically connects with the Hong Kong audience: 88.9% of the population consider it their ‘first’ mother tongue. Cantonese is the predominant language used in everyday life, while English has a major currency in the workplace. One of the most significant differences between Hong Kong Chinese and Standard Chinese used in Mainland China lies in the writing system: Hong Kong Chinese uses traditional characters whilst Standard Chinese uses simplified characters. It is also interesting to note that the language has a rich amount of loanwords from English, such as 士多 (‘store’), 巴士 (‘bus’) and 芝士 (‘cheese’).


Official language
Traditional Chinese/Cantonese (official) 88.9%, English (official) 4.3%, Mandarin (official) 1.9%


T-Index ranks countries according to their potential for online sales.

Other languages
Chinese dialects 3.1%, other 1.9%

High proficiency (EF) – 32 of 112 countries/regions in the world- 4/24 position in Asia .


Capital: Hong Kong
Currency: Hong Kong dollar
Population: 7.41 m
Population density: 7,125/km2


GDP: 368.14 billion USD (2020)
GDP per capita: 49,660.6USD ‎(2020) ‎
Exports: $126 billion (2020)


Internet users: 93% penetration, 7.05 million
Unemployment rate: 5.8% (2020)
Literacy: 99% (2020)


Numbering system
Arabic numerals with dot as decimal separator 

Date format: yyyy-mm-dd / dd-mm-yyyy
Time: 24h time system
Country code: 00852

Language data sources: Worldatlas/Britannica//EF/Wikipedia; Demography data sources: IMF/Worldometers; Conventions data source: Wikipedia; Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal; Statistics data sources: Datareportal/WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF/Culturalatlas/Commisceoglobal

Facts and data


$571 billion (2020).  Integrated Circuits ($162B), Broadcasting Equipment ($43.1B), Office Machine Parts ($30.7B), Gold ($20.1B), and Telephones ($18.2B), importing mostly from China ($262B), Chinese Taipei ($50B), Singapore ($41.7B), South Korea ($30.9B), and Japan ($27.2B).

Financial inclusion factors (over 15 years of  age)
• 48% have an account with a financial institution
• 24% have a credit card
• 2.4% have a mobile money account
• 19% make online purchases

Global Innovation Index
Ranked 5th out of 17 South East Asian , East Asian and Oceanian countries, 14th out of 132 worldwide.

The Global Innovation Index captures the innovation
ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends.

$126 billion (2020).  Gold ($33B), Broadcasting Equipment ($7.28B), Gas Turbines ($6.57B), Integrated Circuits ($5.94B), and Telephones ($4.58B), exporting mostly to China ($25.9B), United Kingdom ($14.8B), India ($14.2B), Switzerland ($12.1B), and Netherlands ($5.72B).

Ease of doing business
It is very easy to conduct business (rated 85.3 out of 100) ranked 2nd out of 20 Asia-Pacific countries ranked 3rd out of 190 countries worldwide (2019, World Bank)

Economy data sources: WTO/OEC/CIA/Esomar/Datareportal

Service Imports (2018)

Source: OEC

Service Exports (2018)

Source: OEC

Most complex products by PCI

Product Complexity Index measures the knowledge intensity of a product by considering the knowledge intensity of its exporters

Source: OEC

Most specialised products by RCA Index

Specialisation is measured using Revealed Comparative Advantage, an index that takes the ratio between Hong Kong observed and expected exports in each product

Source: OEC

Export Opportunities by Relatedness

Relatedness measures the distance between a country's current exports and each product, the barchart show only products that Hong Kong is not specialized in

Source: OEC

Preferred e-commerce methods

Source: J.P. Morgan 2019

E-commerce method in Hong Kong, split by value

Source: J.P. Morgan 2019



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Media language Traditional Chinese/Cantonese, English

Information channels
Hong Kong is home to many of Asia’s biggest media players. The territory has one of the world’s largest film industries and is a major centre for broadcasting and publishing. It has kept its editorially-dynamic media, in contrast to the rest of China where official control over broadcasting is pervasive. Freedom of speech and of the press are enshrined in the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. However, “Beijing’s baleful influence has led to a decline in press freedom”, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in its 2019 assessment. The document stated that more than half of Hong Kong’s media owners are also members of political bodies on the mainland. Amid large-scale protests in 2019 against an extradition bill, “police and pro-Beijing mobs attacked journalists on numerous occasions”, RSF said. Free-to-air TV is dominated by private station Television Broadcasts (TVB). Public Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) was established under British rule in 1928 and operates as a government department. There are more than a dozen free-to-air TV channels and hundreds more networks are available via multichannel and pay-TV platforms. International and pan-Asian broadcasters are based in Hong Kong. BBC World Service is carried overnight by RTHK’s Radio 4 FM network. RTHK ended a 24-hour relay in 2017 to make way for a Chinese state radio network.

Multitude of papers
Hong Kong has long been a major centre for print journalism. Local papers are known for their political leanings, with most being either pro-Beijing or pro-democracy. There are scores of Chinese-language dailies and a handful of English-language titles. E-commerce giant Alibaba owns the prominent English-language South China Morning Post. There are no reports of widespread online censorship or filtering and top international social media are in common use. News websites are increasingly used as a way to access independent news. Content on sites including Hong Kong 01, Hong Kong Free Press and Stand News is censored in mainland China. Chinese platforms WeChat and Sina Weibo are popular, but not as much as WhatsApp and Facebook.

The press

South China Morning Post – English-language daily
The Standard – business-oriented English-language daily
Tung Fang Jih Pao (Oriental Daily) – widely-read daily
Ping Kuo Jih Pao (Apple Daily) – widely-read daily
Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po – managed from Beijing, follow Communist Party line
Wall Street Journal – Chinese edition
HK01 – news site, in Chinese
Hong Kong Free Press – news site, in English


Radio-TV Hong Kong (RTHK) – government-funded
Television Broadcasts (TVB) – private, terrestrial
Phoenix TV – private, multi-channel satellite TV
Sun TV – private, via satellite


Radio-TV Hong Kong (RTHK) – government-funded, operates seven networks in English, Cantonese, Mandarin
Commercial Radio – operates CR1, CR2 networks in Cantonese and mediumwave (AM) station AM 864
Metro Broadcast – operates Metro Info, Metro Finance and English-language Metro Plus

Media data source: BBC

Internet Data

Internet users
93% penetration, 7.05 million

Share of web traffic by device
42.96% mobile phones, 50.43% computers (laptops and desktops), 6.57% tablet devices, others 0.03%

Median speed of mobile Internet connection
42.75  Mbps

Median speed of fixed Internet connection
158.19 Mbps

Mobile connection as a percentage of total population: 181.9%

Percentage of mobile connections that are broadband (3G-5G): 100%

Most popular web search engines
Google (91.75%), Yahoo (5.42%), Baidu (1.54%),Bing (0.92%), Duckduckgo (0.09%), Shenma (0.08%)

Most used social media
Facebook (58.08%), Twitter(15.99%%), Pinterest (10.9%), YouTube (7.61%), Instagram (4.19%), Tumblr (1.19%)

Internet data sources: Datareportal/Statcounter

Social statistics

Life expectancy
84.89 yrs (2020)

Healthcare expenditure
5.8% of GDP (2018)

Average age of the population
44.8 yrs (2020)

Cultural Curiosities
Contrary to the Chinese tradition, burping and spitting are seen as a sign of rudeness and are considered very impolite.

Like in the U.K., people drive on the left hand side of the street, this is another contradistinction with mainland China. 

Social statistics sources: WorldBank/UN/UNESCO/CEIC/IMF

Fewer people in Hong Kong Tend to Identify As Chinese in 2019

Source: Hong Kong University

Languages research – Hong Kong

Languages spoken in Hong Kong

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Photo credit: Rikke Filbært, Unsplash