The Hong Kong dollar (HKD) is the official currency of the city state of Hong Kong. Given its tiny size, it is a testament to its economic power that it remains only just outside the top ten of the world’s traded currencies.
Post war, the British returned and it was now that the fortunes of the colony really took off. Economic and population growth was powered and sustained by skilled refugees from mainland China: firstly those returning from exile resulting from the Japanese invasion, then by escapees from the escalating Chinese Civil War. Hong Kong became the driving force behind the resurgent “Asian Tiger” economies of the region. Cheap labour and rapid population growth fuelled the technological development of Hong Kong throughout the period, until the lack of space caused property prices and hence labour costs to rise. But by the 1990s the colony had become one of the technological and financial centres of the world.
But the fact was, Hong Kong remained effectively under a 99 year lease, and the new superpower of China wanted it back. Hence in 1997 sovereignty was peacefully transferred back to the Chinese, and Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.
The original Hong Kong dollar was derived from the Spanish dollar in use in the region at the time of British colonisation. The British did attempt to introduce their own currency, but local adherence to the existing currency was strong, so the switch to sterling was abandoned. The existing dollar system therefore continued, interrupted only be a brief use of the yen during the Japanese occupation of World War Two. The dollar returned with the resumption of British control in 1945, and has, perhaps surprisingly, survived the recent turmoil to remain the official currency to this day. Indeed, it was written into the Sino-British Joint Declaration which governed the transfer of sovereignty in 1997 that Hong Kong would retain full autonomy over the issuing of currency in its territory.
Given the strong British cultural influence that persists in Hong Kong, bingo remains popular, and more than a few Hong Kong dollars no doubt find their way into online bingo sites payment accounts. With so many people with roots in Hong Kong now currently British residents, it seems certain that this is the case in the United Kingdom too. The value of the Hong Kong dollar at the time of writing is around 11 HKD to the pound.
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