14.1 Hong Kong is arguably the financial and commercial centre of south-east Asia. A British colony from 1841, it returned to Chinese rule on 1 July 1997 and is now known as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Geographically, Hong Kong is located to the south-east of mainland China and consists of a large number of islands and a peninsula which are now largely interconnected through a number of sophisticated underground road links and bridges. The main areas are Hong Kong Island itself, Kowloon and New Territories. They total some 412 square miles. With a population of some 7.3 million it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and maintains one of the world’s busiest container ports. English and Chinese remain the official languages of the HKSAR. The currency is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$), and it is linked to US$ at the rate of HK$7.80 to US$1.