Economy of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Harbour Night 2019-06-11.jpg
CurrencyHong Kong dollar (HKD)
1 April – 31 March
Trade organisations
APEC, WTO, Group of Twenty (Chinese delegation), One Belt One Road, AIIB and ICC etc.
Country group
Statistics
PopulationIncrease 7,553,689 (2021)[3]
GDP
  • Decrease $368.633 billion (nominal, 2021 est.)[4]
  • Decrease $472.395 billion (PPP, 2021)[5]
GDP rank
GDP growth
  • +2.8% (2018) −1.7% (2019)
  • −6.5% (2020) +6.3% (2021)[6]
GDP per capita
  • Decrease $49,036 (nominal, 2021 est.)[4]
  • Decrease $62,839 (PPP, 2021 est.)[4]
GDP per capita rank
GDP by sector
1.6% (2021)[6]
Population below poverty line
19.9% (2016 est.)[7]
53.9 high (2016)[7]
Labour force
  • Decrease 3,946,772 (2019)[10]
  • Decrease 59.0% employment rate (2016)[11]
Labour force by occupation
  • manufacturing: 6.5%
  • construction: 2.1%
  • wholesale and retail trade, restaurants, and hotels: 43.3%
  • financing, insurance, and real estate: 20.7%
  • transport and communications: 7.8%
  • community and social services: 19.5%
Unemployment
  • Increase 5.8% (2020)
  • Decrease 5.2% (2021)[6]
Main industries
financing and insurance, import and export trade, professional and business services
Increase 3rd (very easy, 2020)[12]
External
Exports$537.8 billion (2017 est.)[7]
Export goods
electrical machinery and appliances, textiles, apparel, watches and clocks, toys, jewelry, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares, and other articles of precious or semi-precious materials[7]
Main export partners
 Mainland China 59.5%
 United States 6.2%
 Taiwan 2.9%
(2021)[6]
Imports$561.8 billion (2017 est.)[7]
Import goods
raw materials and semi-manufactures, consumer goods, capital goods, foodstuffs, fuel (most is reexported)[7]
Main import partners
FDI stock
  • Increase$2.2 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)[7]
  • Increase Abroad: $2.036 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)[7]
Increase $14.75 billion (2017 est.)[7]
Positive decrease $633.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)[7]
Public finances
0.1% of GDP (2017 est.)[7]
+5.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)[7]
Revenues79.34 billion (2017 est.)[7]
Expenses61.64 billion (2017 est.)[7]
Standard & Poor's:[13]
AAA (Domestic)
AAA (Foreign)
AAA (T&C Assessment)
Outlook: Stable[14]
Moody's:[14]
Aa1
Outlook: Stable
Fitch:[14]
AA+
Outlook: Stable
Foreign reserves
US$431 billion (December 2017)[15]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

The economy of Hong Kong is a highly developed free-market economy. It is characterised by low taxation, almost free port trade and a well-established international financial market.[16][17] Its currency, called the Hong Kong dollar, is legally issued by three major international commercial banks,[18] and is pegged to the US dollar.[19][20] Interest rates are determined by the individual banks in Hong Kong to ensure that they are market driven.[21] There is no officially recognised central banking system, although the Hong Kong Monetary Authority functions as a financial regulatory authority.[22][23]

Its economy is governed under positive non-interventionism, and is highly dependent on international trade and finance. For this reason it is regarded as among the most favorable places to start a company. In fact, a recent study shows that Hong Kong has come from 998 registered start-ups in 2014 to over 2800 in 2018, with eCommerce (22%), Fintech (12%), Software (12%) and Advertising (11%) companies comprising the majority.[24] The Economic Freedom of the World Index listed Hong Kong as the number one territory, with a score of 8.91, in 2019.[25]

Hong Kong's economic strengths include a sound banking system, virtually no public debt, a strong legal system, ample foreign exchange reserves with assets of US$481.6 billion represent over six times the currency in circulation or about 46 per cent of Hong Kong dollar M3 as at the end of March 2022,[26] rigorous anti-corruption measures and close ties with mainland China.[27] The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is a favourable destination for international firms and firms from mainland China to be listed, due to Hong Kong's highly internationalised and modernised financial industry. Additional advantages include the city's capital market in Asia, its size, regulations and available financial tools, which are comparable to London and New York City.[28][29]

Hong Kong's gross domestic product had grown 180 times between 1961 and 1997. Also, the GDP per capita rose by 87 times within the same time frame.[30] Its economy is slightly larger than Israel's or Ireland's[31][32][33] and its GDP per capita at purchasing power parity was the sixth highest globally in 2011. By the latter measure, its GDP per capita was higher than those of the United States and the Netherlands, and slightly lower than Brunei. In 2009, Hong Kong's real economic growth fell by 2.8% as a result of the Great Recession.[34]

By the late 20th century, Hong Kong was the seventh largest port in the world and second only to New York City and Rotterdam in terms of container throughput. Hong Kong is a full Member of the World Trade Organization.[35] The Kwai Chung container complex was[when?] the largest in Asia, while Hong Kong shipping owners were[when?] second only to those of Greece in terms of total tonnage holdings in the world. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the sixth largest in the world, with a market capitalisation of about US$3.732 trillion.[36]

Hong Kong has also had an abundant supply of labour from the regions nearby. A skilled labour force coupled with the adoption of modern British/Western business methods and technology ensured that opportunities for external trade, investment, and recruitment were maximised. Prices and wages in Hong Kong are relatively flexible, depending on the performance and stability of the economy of Hong Kong.[37]

Hong Kong raises revenues from the sale and taxation of land and through attracting international businesses to provide capital for its public finance, due to its low tax policy. According to Healy Consultants, Hong Kong has the most attractive business environment within East Asia, in terms of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).[38] In 2013, Hong Kong was the third largest recipient of FDI in the world.[39]

Hong Kong ranked fourth on the Tax Justice Network's 2011 Financial Secrecy Index.[40] The Hong Kong Government was the fourth highest ranked Asian government[41] in the World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index (NRI), a measure of a government's information and communication technologies in 2016, and ranked 13th globally.[42]

Economic predictions

Since the 1997 handover, Hong Kong's economic future became far more exposed to the challenges of economic globalisation and the direct competition from cities in mainland China. In particular, Shanghai claimed to have a geographical advantage. The Shanghai municipal government dreamt of turning the city into China's main economic centre by as early as 2010.[43]

Positive non-interventionism

Main article: Positive non-interventionism

Hong Kong's economic policy has often been cited by economists such as Milton Friedman and the Cato Institute as an example of laissez-faire capitalism, attributing the city's success to the policy. However, others have argued that the economic strategy is not adequately characterised by the term laissez-faire.[44] They point out that there are still many ways in which the government is involved in the economy, some of which exceed the degree of involvement in other capitalist countries. For example, the government is involved in public works projects, healthcare, education, and social welfare spending. Further, although rates of taxation on personal and corporate income are low by international standards, unlike most other countries Hong Kong's government raises a significant portion of its revenues from land leases and land taxation. All land in Hong Kong is owned by the government and is leased to private developers and users on fixed terms, for fees which are paid to the state treasury. By restricting the sale of land leases, the Hong Kong government keeps the price of land at what some consider as artificially high prices and this allows the government to support public spending with a low tax rate on income and profit.[45]

The economy functions well into the night.
The economy functions well into the night.

Economic freedom

Further information: Economic freedom

Hong Kong was ranked as the world's 2nd freest economy in the Index of Economic Freedom of The Heritage Foundation in 2020 after Singapore.[46][47] The index measures restrictions on business, trade, investment, finance, property rights and labour, and considers the impact of corruption, government size and monetary controls in 183 economies. Hong Kong is the only economy to have scored 90 points or above on the 100-point scale, achieved in 2014 and 2018.[48] In 2021 the Heritage Foundation removed Hong Kong as a separate entity from China from its list of freest economics of the world citing increasing interference from the Chinese government in Hong Kong's governmental system and democratic process. With this Hong Kong, along with Macao, lost a position they had held in the index since the index's inception in 1995. At the time of the removal from the index, the founder of the Heritage Foundation indicated that while the SARs "offer their citizens more economic freedom than is available to the average citizen of China", these economic policies are still "ultimately controlled from Beijing".[49]

Economic data

Treemap of Hong Kong export in 2014
Treemap of Hong Kong export in 2014
Development of real GDP per capita in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China
Development of real GDP per capita in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China

The following table shows the main economic indicators in 1980–2020 (with IMF staff stimtates in 2021–2026). Inflation below 5% is in green.[50]

Year GDP

(in Bil. US$PPP)

GDP per capita

(in US$ PPP)

GDP

(in Bil. US$nominal)

GDP per capita

(in US$ nominal)

GDP growth

(real)

Inflation rate

(in Percent)

Unemployment

(in Percent)

Government debt

(in % of GDP)

1980 36.08 7130 28.8 5700 Increase7.9% Negative increase35.1% 11.5% n/a
1981 Increase43.13 Increase8330 Increase34.1 Increase6000 Increase6.2% Negative increase19.7% Positive decrease10.3% n/a
1982 Increase47.11 Increase8960 Decrease25.5 Increase6140 Decrease-13.6% Negative increase9.9% Negative increase19.8% n/a
1983 Increase51.9 Increase9700 Decrease20.7 Decrease5590 Decrease-2.8% Negative increase27.3% Negative increase21.0% n/a
1984 Increase59.15 Increase10890 Decrease20.1 Increase6170 Increase5.9% Negative increase19.9% Positive decrease17.5% n/a
1985 Increase61.46 Increase11170 Decrease17.2 Decrease6490 Increase2.0% Negative increase30.7% Positive decrease15.0% n/a
1986 Increase69.66 Increase12520 Increase18.5 Increase1,504.4 Increase5.6% Negative increase19.5% Positive decrease12.3% n/a
1987 Increase80.94 Increase14420 Increase21.9 Increase1,743.9 Increase6.6% Negative increase19.9% Positive decrease11.0% n/a
1988 Increase90.93 Increase16030 Increase25.8 Increase2,021.0 Increase7.3% Negative increase14.7% Positive decrease9.9% n/a
1989 Increase96.65 Increase16880 Increase29.7 Increase2,289.4 Increase10.6% Negative increase17.0% Positive decrease8.0% n/a
1990 Increase104.11 Increase18100 Increase33.0 Increase2,503.9 Increase3.7% Negative increase26.0% Positive decrease7.8% n/a
1991 Increase113.77 Increase19560 Increase38.0 Increase2,829.7 Increase7.7% Negative increase21.8% Negative increase8.2% 37.4%
1992 Increase123.61 Increase21000 Increase46.3 Increase3,368.3 Increase11.1% Negative increase15.5% Positive decrease6.7% Positive decrease30.7%
1993 Increase134.39 Increase22410 Increase49.5 Increase3,547.0 Increase6.7% Negative increase12.7% Positive decrease6.5% Positive decrease28.3%
1994 Increase145.54 Increase23780 Increase57.1 Increase4,030.1 Increase5.1% Negative increase11.5% Negative increase7.8% Positive decrease22.8%
1995 Increase152.12 Increase24260 Increase73.6 Increase5,117.7 Increase8.8% Negative increase8.2% Positive decrease7.4% Positive decrease17.4%
1996 Increase161.51 Increase24980 Increase78.0 Increase5,349.6 Increase6.9% Negative increase7.4% Positive decrease6.5% Positive decrease14.7%
1997 Increase172.67 Increase26500 Increase84.9 Increase5,743.7 Increase7.4% Negative increase6.1% Positive decrease6.1% Positive decrease12.9%
1998 Decrease164.34 Decrease24960 Decrease81.6 Decrease5,446.5 Increase4.4% Negative increase5.1% Negative increase6.2% Positive decrease12.2%
1999 Increase170.84 Increase25740 Decrease75.1 Decrease4,952.9 Decrease-0.5% Increase3.3% Negative increase10.0% Negative increase13.4%
2000 Increase188.09 Increase28030 Increase77.8 Increase5,071.7 Increase5.3% Increase3.8% Positive decrease9.7% Positive decrease13.2%
2001 Increase193.41 Increase28740 Decrease71.0 Decrease4,572.9 Increase3.3% Increase3.6% Negative increase9.9% Negative increase14.5%
2002 Increase199.68 Increase29690 Decrease69.7 Decrease4,443.8 Increase3.1% Increase2.5% Positive decrease9.8% Negative increase15.2%
2003 Increase209.84 Increase31020 Increase75.6 Increase4,770.3 Increase4.1% Increase2.8% Positive decrease9.5% Positive decrease12.7%
2004 Increase234.22 Increase34460 Increase99.2 Increase6,193.1 Increase7.2% Increase1.1% Negative increase10.0% Positive decrease10.3%
2005 Increase259.41 Increase37940 Increase123.0 Increase7,600.4 Increase5.7% Increase3.1% Positive decrease9.3% Positive decrease7.0%
2006 Increase286.23 Increase41460 Increase154.9 Increase9,473.0 Increase6.3% Increase3.4% Positive decrease8.0% Positive decrease5.0%
2007 Increase312.96 Increase45110 Increase173.6 Increase30490 Increase4.9% Increase4.4% Positive decrease7.0% Positive decrease3.9%
2008 Increase325.75 Increase46780 Increase179.5 Increase31490 Increase3.6% Negative increase8.7% Negative increase7.8% Negative increase4.9%
2009 Decrease319.78 Decrease45710 Decrease172.5 Decrease30590 Decrease-1.6% Increase1.5% Negative increase11.1% Negative increase5.8%
2010 Increase345.53 Increase49000 Increase218.3 Increase32420 Increase5.8% Increase1.4% Positive decrease8.3% Negative increase8.6%
2011 Increase369.69 Increase52000 Increase252.1 Increase34960 Increase6.1% Increase3.3% Positive decrease7.3% Negative increase11.1%
2012 Increase373.48 Increase52080 Increase267.0 Increase36620 Increase5.3% Increase3.0% Positive decrease6.6% Negative increase11.9%
2013 Increase385.45 Increase53450 Increase278.3 Increase38230 Increase4.0% Increase1.8% Positive decrease6.1% Negative increase12.7%
2014 Increase396.04 Increase54600 Decrease260.5 Increase40190 Increase1.8% Increase4.7% Negative increase6.5% Negative increase15.0%
2015 Increase411.29 Increase56270 Decrease243.9 Increase42330 Increase2.3% Increase4.3% Positive decrease6.3% Negative increase17.3%
2016 Increase419.81 Increase56910 Increase250.3 Increase43490 Increase1.7% Increase3.8% Negative increase6.7% Negative increase21.0%
2017 Increase442.39 Increase59680 Increase276.9 Increase46030 Increase1.2% Increase2.2% Negative increase7.0% Negative increase23.6%
2018 Increase465.85 Increase62230 Increase297.5 Increase48310 Increase3.7% Increase2.3% Negative increase7.4% Negative increase25.6%
2019 Increase466.22 Decrease61990 Decrease279.3 Decrease48270 Increase1.0% Increase2.3% Positive decrease7.2% Negative increase28.2%
2020 Decrease443.14 Decrease59660 Decrease252.8 Decrease46600 Decrease-5.8% Increase3.0% Negative increase10.8% Negative increase32.5%
2021 Increase488.65 Increase65400 Increase331.3 Increase49490 Increase11.0% Increase4.2% Positive decrease9.1% Negative increase34.4%
2022 Increase519.77 Increase69170 Increase352.7 Increase51900 Increase2.5% Increase4.4% Positive decrease7.4% Negative increase37.3%
2023 Increase548.81 Increase72610 Increase374.2 Increase54240 Increase1.9% Increase3.1% Positive decrease6.8% Negative increase39.7%
2024 Increase577.41 Increase75950 Increase394.7 Increase56620 Increase2.0% Increase3.0% Positive decrease6.7% Negative increase40.9%
2025 Increase606.35 Increase79300 Increase415.9 Increase59130 Increase2.3% Increase3.0% Negative increase6.9% Positive decrease40.8%
2026 Increase636.49 Increase82760 Increase438.1 Increase61800 Increase2.5% Increase3.0% Negative increase7.0% Positive decrease40.5%

GDP

Gdp ppp\per capita in $2020 59520, Gdp ppp 444,86milliards\billions dollars[51]

Population

Labour

2022–23 fiscal year budget

[53]

Trade

Selective data in HK$ for Main Countries/Territories (2021)

Trade with Macau

Location of Hong Kong and Macau
Location of Hong Kong and Macau

See also: Hong Kong–Macau relations and Economy of Macau

As at 2015, Macau is Hong Kong's second largest export destination, occupying 6.1% of Hong Kong's total exports.[54] The amount of export totaled US$8.4B, with broadcasting equipment, jewelry, and precious metal watches as the major products.[55] On the other hand, Hong Kong is Macau's largest export destination.[56] Totaled USD 774M, with precious metal watches, jewelry, trunks and cases as the major trading products, the exports to the Hong Kong forms 53% of Macau's total exports.[57] Since 2018, Hong Kong and Macau have been connected via road by the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge.

Poverty

The international poverty line is a monetary threshold under which an individual is considered to be living in poverty. This threshold is calculated using Purchasing Power Parity.[58] According to the World Bank, the international poverty line was most recently updated in October 2015, in which it was increased from $1.25 per day to $1.90 per day using the value of 2011 dollars.[59] Raising this threshold helps account for changes in costs of living, which directly effects individuals ability to obtain basic necessities across countries.

Recent figures show that 1.37 million people are living below the poverty line and struggling to survive on HK$4,000 (US$510) per month for a one-person household, HK$9,800 for a two-person household earning, and HK$15,000 or a three-person household.[60] The poverty rate in Hong Kong hit a high of 20.1%, but recent efforts by government programs have lowered this number to 14.7%.[61]

In December 2012, the Commission on Poverty (CoP) was reinstated to prevent and alleviate poverty with three primary functions; analyze the poverty situation, assist policy formulation and to assess policy effectiveness. Cash handouts have been credited with alleviating much of the poverty, but the extent in which poverty has been alleviated is still questionable. Although cash handouts raise households above the poverty line, they are still struggling to meet certain standards as the cost of living in Hong Kong steadily increases.

Coupled with these cash payments, statutory minimum wage is set to increase for a second time in the past 10 years. Statutory Minimum Wage (SMW) came into existence on 1 May 2011 and the SMW rate has been HK$34.5 per hour since May 2017. The Legislative Council in Hong Kong most recently approved the revision on the SMW rate to increase to HK$37.5 per hour, effective 1 May 2019.[62] Although the total statistics for Hong Kong show declining poverty, child poverty has recently increased .3 percentage points, up to a total of 23.1%, as a result of larger households due to children staying with their elderly parents.[63] With economic growth projected to slow in the coming years, poverty becomes an increasingly pressing issue.

Beyond benefiting the younger generation through cash handouts and minimum wage increases, expanded elderly allowances have been implemented to increase disposable incomes of the elderly population that can no longer work. As of 1 February 2019 the amount payable per month for eligible elderly population became HK$1,385 in an effort to raise households incomes living with elderly tenants. Although Hong Kong has become one of the largest growing cities in the world, much of the population is struggling to keep up with the rising costs of living.

One of the largest issues affecting low income families is the availability of affordable housing. Over the past decade, residential Hong Kong property prices have increased close to 242%, with growth finally starting to decelerate in 2019.[64] Considering housing is a basic necessity, prices have continuously increased while disposable incomes remain virtually unchanged. As the amount of affordable housing diminishes, it has become much harder for families to find homes in their home country. Public housing programs have been implemented by the government, but delayed construction and growing waitlists have not helped to the extent they planned for. Recent results from a Hong Kong think tank show that by 2022, the average citizen could wait up to 6 years for public housing.[65] Evidence shows that the availability of affordable housing has declined, forcing households to spend more on shelter and less on other necessities. These issues can lead to worse living conditions and imbalanced diets, both of which pose problems beyond just financial well-being.

Stock exchange

Main article: Hong Kong Stock Exchange

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is the sixth largest in the world, with a market capitalisation of about US$3.732 trillion as of mid-2017. In 2006, the value of initial public offerings (IPO) conducted in Hong Kong was second highest in the world after London.[66] In 2009, Hong Kong raised 22 percent of IPO capital, becoming the largest centre of IPOs in the world.[67] The exchange is the world's 10th largest by turnover and third largest in China.[68][citation needed]

See also

References

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