Hong Kong, the present day international city of over 7 million people began as a port for British drug dealers. During the first Opium War in 1841, Hong Kong Island was acquired by the British and became a center for the opium trade. Since then, Hong Kong has grown from a small coastal fishing village into a busy global city with the world’s highest population density. The city’s harbour location, its unique setting and diverse culture as well as its free market economy have made it a very successful city. The location of Hong Kong has been important to its success. Its absolute location is 22.13 N and 144.10 E. Its relative location is south of the Tropic of Cancer on the southeastern coast of China. It sits on a peninsula in the South China Sea. Hong Kong is east of the Pearl River estuary and bordered by the Guangdong province to the north and the South China Sea to the east, south and west. Hong Kong is made up of four main areas. They are Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories and the Outlying Islands. There are several site factors that caused Hong Kong to develop. The most important was its deep natural harbor known as Victoria Harbour. In fact, the name Hong Kong means “fragrant harbor”. The harbor made it an excellent port for trading goods and transportation. It was an important spot for trade between the British and Chinese and was originally used for opium dealing. The original settlement on Hong Kong Island was easy to defend because of its island location. There are not as many situation factors that promoted growth except for its good climate. The area is very mountainous which is difficult for building and less than 5% of the soil is good for agriculture. Also there was a lack of available fresh water. However over the years, more land has been reclaimed from the sea and expansion of Hong Kong’s territory has helped its growth. Overall the most important location factor that contributed to Hong Kong’s growth into a great city was its deep natural harbor site.
Even though Victoria Harbour was important in the development of Hong Kong as a city, its economy has made it a great city. Hong Kong has a strong market economy, with free trade on many goods and services and low taxation. A market economy is also called a capitalist economy and means that trade and prices are based on supply and demand. They are not controlled by the government, like in the rest of communist China. Hong Kong’s port is the busiest in the world and is a global center for imports and exports. Its biggest trading partner is China. Hong Kong also has a large workforce that will work for very little money. The unemployment rate is only about 7%. Primary industry in Hong Kong is limited by 5 lack of land based natural recourses and farmable land (only 6%). The main source of primary industry is fishing. Hong Kong relies on imports for many items like food, lumber and minerals. Secondary industry like manufacturing has been very successful because of low wages and a large work force. Clothes, textiles, toys, and electronics have been important exports. Manufacturing makes up about 13% of Hong Kong’s GDP (see graph 1). Tertiary industry is the biggest sector of Hong Kong’s economy. Service industries like business, finance, telecommunications, insurance and tourism make up about 86% of the GDP the value of all goods and services Hong Kong produces in a year). With its free trade system and large service sector, Hong Kong’s economy is booming and a leading cause of the city’s success. The final reason for Hong Kong’s success lies with its unique physical and human characteristics. Hong Kong covers an area of about 1095 sq km. It is situated on volcanic plains. The area is an upfold (a folding of the earth that is caused by the movement of tectonic plates) that runs northeast-southwest that was covered with lava