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Hong Kong is probably the most extraordinary few square miles on the planet in terms of human achievement in the past century. It is both exceptional and diverse. Visitors marvel at its breathtaking location, its amazing architecture, its exciting shopping, and its fine dining. And yet it is a land of opposites—of order juxtaposed with chaos, of ancient etiquette and seemingly abrupt manners, where rich and poor live in close proximity, constantly crossing paths.

Culturally, Hong Kong is rooted in the traditions of China, but there is more than a patina of Westernization. Nearly all the population have come to the territory in the last hundred years, most from southern China. They came to a well-run, orderly British colony, and found its comparative stability and the rule of law conducive to the oldest profession—trade. When Hong Kong was handed over to the People’s Republic of China in 1997, it retained its system of government and autonomy under the slogan “one country, two systems.” Despite stiff competition today it remains the principal international financial center in China.

Trade is the lifeblood of Hong Kong. Most Hongkongers are Cantonese—entrepreneurial and industrious people from the farms and villages of neighboring Guangdong province. Others have come from around the world to trade and prosper. A humble attitude and willingness to work hard is apparent everywhere. On the other hand, Hong Kong has more holidays than anywhere in the world, and most are celebrated in the streets or parks.

Culture Smart! Hong Kong introduces the reader to this vibrant, multifaceted society. It provides helpful advice on business practice and meetings, and on social etiquette, and offers cultural insights to enable you to participate rather than observe. Hongkongers are inventive, dynamic, and sociable. Take the time to familiarize yourself with their culture and you could end up making friends along the way. 

CLARE VICKERS is an English writer who lived in Hong Kong for eighteen years. She has a degree in modern languages, has written several dictionaries and textbooks for Hong Kong schools, and had a column in the educational section of the South China Morning Post.

Vickie Chan is a Hong Kong-based writer, illustrator/artist, and creative director. She was educated and grew up in the United Kingdom, and settled in Hong Kong in 2006. She has written for the South China Morning Post, China Daily, Gafencu magazine, and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, among others. 

"Culture Smart has come to the rescue of hapless travellers." Sunday Times Travel

"... the perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful and downright odd quirks and customs of various countries." Global Travel

"...full of fascinating-as well as common-sense-tips to help you avoid embarrassing faux pas." Observer

"...as useful as they are entertaining." Easyjet Magazine

"...offer glimpses into the psyche of a faraway world." New York Times