Hong Kong and Macau

These jurisdictions are China's special administrative regions, or SARs for short.

Historically a British-controlled trading port, Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997, while Macau was handed back by the Portuguese in 1999.

Despite the handovers, these regions have regained a high degree of autonomy thanks to the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement. Under this arrangement, both SARs continue to have their own government and have different legal, monetary and education systems.

The SARs’ importance to the Chinese economy, particularly Hong Kong’s, is critical.


Taiwan is a modern, industrialised island separated from mainland China by the Taiwan Strait. At the strait’s narrowest point, it’s just 81 miles (130 km) from the mainland.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) espouses what’s known as the 'One-China policy'.

This policy states that Taiwan and mainland China are both part of China, and that the PRC is the only legitimate government of China. As a result, the PRC claims sovereignty over Taiwan as its twenty-third province.

Taiwan, however, sees itself as an independent nation.

China's special administrative regions and Taiwan at a glance

Special administrative regions and Taiwan Highlights
Hong Kong
  • Clean, modern, efficient – it’s one of Asia’s true success stories
  • World-leading financial center
  • Acts as a hub between the West and China’s mainland
  • Enjoy high-end shopping or take the train to Shenzhen to bag a bargain
  • It’s made for tourists – take a harbor cruise, visit the Big Buddah, and view the breathtaking skyline from Victoria Peak
  • Home to the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator, stretching 2,600 ft (800 m)
  • Maintains its Portuguese flavour
  • Just a ferry ride away from Hong Kong
  • Famous for its casinos
  • One of only two places (along with Hong Kong) in China where you can legally gamble
  • The Ruins of St. Paul’s recently became a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • 23 million people call this island home
  • Taipei, Taiwan’s largest city, is a cosmopolitan metropolis
  • Vibrant and robust economy (they manufacture iPhones)
  • Majestic mountains and stunning coastlines are dotted across the island
  • Its beautiful national parks make Taiwan a natural paradise


Also check out China's: