Central, Hong Kong
Central is the central business district of Hong Kong. It is located in Central and Western District, on the north shore of Hong Kong Island, across Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui, the southernmost point of Kowloon Peninsula; the area was the heart of Victoria City, although that name is used today. As the central business district of Hong Kong, it is the area where many multinational financial services corporations have their headquarters. Consulates general and consulates of many countries are located in this area, as is Government Hill, the site of the government headquarters; the area, with its proximity to Victoria Harbour, has served as the centre of trade and financial activities from the earliest days of the British colonial era in 1841, continues to flourish and serve as the place of administration after the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997. The area of Chung Wan, named Central in English, was one of the districts in Victoria City; the English name Central became prevalent after the Island Line of the MTR metro system was built in the early 1980s, the connected stations of Pedder and Chater renamed as Central.
On some older maps, it and the area to its west are named Kwan Tai Lo below Victoria Peak. It formed a channel, Chung Mun, with Tsim Sha Tsui, on the sea route along the coast of southern China; the eastern part of Central District has been known as Admiralty since the completion of Admiralty Station in the early 1980s. Central is located on the north shore of Hong Kong Island, across Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui, the southernmost point of Kowloon Peninsula, it is bordered in the west with the border being along Aberdeen Street. It is bordered in the east by an eastern extension of the central business district; as such, Admiralty is sometimes considered a part of Central. Central is bordered in the south by Mid-levels, an area halfway up Victoria Peak; the boundary between Central and Mid-levels is not defined. For district council elections purposes, the area, together with Admiralty, correspond to the "Chung Wan" constituency; the boundaries of such constituencies may be subject to modification.
The British landed on Possession Point of Sheung Wan in 1841. They soon decided to build a city on the north coast of Hong Kong Island, the present-day Central was chosen to house major military facilities and an administrative centre; the area soon attracted both Westerners and Chinese to trade and live in the area, a Canton Bazaar was built between Cochrane Street and Graham Street in 1842. The area was soon zoned for Westerners only, the Chinese residents were restricted to Sheung Wan.. The area was dominated by the presence of Victoria City; the popularity of this area would boost the population of Hong Kong from 5,000 in 1841 to 24,000 in 1848. Government House and other Hong Kong Government buildings were completed during this period on Government Hill. Various barracks, naval base and residence of Commander, Flagstaff House were built on the east end of the district. Between 1860 and 1880 the construction of City Hall, Theatre Royal and other financial structures made Central the heart of Hong Kong.
In 1904 the Praya Reclamation Scheme added 59 acres of land to Central's waterfront. Many of the proposals came from Sir Paul Chater and James Johnstone Keswick, the founders of Hongkong Land. During the 1920s, Hong Kong was able to push far ahead economically, because of the cohesive collaboration between Central and all waterfront commerce; the military structures survived until the 1980s. Only Flagstaff House remains as Museum of Tea Ware in Hong Kong Park. City Hall sat on the present premises of the HSBC Hong Kong headquarters. Hong Kong's first road, Queen's Road, passes through the area and the business centre continued to expand toward the shoreline as far as the reclaimed lands. There are many Grade-A commercial buildings in a prime commercial district in Hong Kong. Bank of China has its head office in the Bank of China Tower; the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, a subsidiary of HSBC, has its head office in the HSBC Main Building. Bank of East Asia and Hang Seng Bank have their head offices in Central.
Before 1999, Cathay Pacific had its head office in the Swire House in Central. In 1999 the airline relocated its head office to Hong Kong International Airport. Nord Anglia Education, which operates international schools in various countries, has its head office in Central. 9 Queen's Road Central AIA Central Alexandra House Bank of America Tower Bank of China Building, housing the China Club Bank of China Tower Central Building Chater House Cheung Kong Center Citibank Plaza CITIC Tower Entertainment Building Exchange Square, housing the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Hong Kong Club Building, housing the Hong Kong Club Hong Kong Trade Centre HSBC Main Building Hutchison House Jardine House Man Yee Building Prince's Building St. John's Building Standard Chartered Bank Building The Center The Centrium The Landmark International Finance Centre, the second tallest building in Hong Kong Wheelock House Wing On House World-Wide House York House Aberdeen Street, marking the limit between Central and Sheung Wan Arbuthnot Road Battery Path Chater Road Connaught Place Cochrane Street Connaught Road Central Cotton Tree Drive D'Aguilar Street Des Voeux Road Central Edinburgh Place, a public square adjacent to the Victoria Harbour Elgin Street Gage Street, a market street Garden Road Glenealy Graham Street, a market street Gutzlaff Street Hollywood Road Ice House Street Jubilee Street (租庇
Central and Wan Chai Reclamation
Central and Wan Chai Reclamation is a project launched by the government of Hong Kong since the 1990s to reclaim land for different purposes. This includes transportation improvements such as the Hong Kong MTR Station, Airport Express Railway & Central-Wanchai Bypass, as well as public recreation space such as the Central Harbourfront Event Space, Tamar Park and the Hong Kong Observation Wheel; the project was first mentioned in the 1985 planning strategy by the Government. The Government completed a feasibility study in 1989, followed by endorsement of the Land Development Policy Committee on the project; the proposed reclamation extends along the waterfront from Sheung Wan to Causeway Bay. The ostensible objectives of the project, among other things, include: to supply land for the Hong Kong Station and the extended overrun tunnel of the Airport Express; the project is divided into five phases. The Central Reclamation Phase 1 involved reclaiming 20 hectares of land, plus redevelopment of 6 hectares of land, between Rumsey Street and Pedder Street, for the construction of Hong Kong Station of the Airport Express Railway.
It provided land for new piers, replacements of other facilities affected by reclamation. Works started in 1993 and were completed in June 1998; this phase of reclamation is part of the Airport Core Programme. The cost was HK$2,710 million. Upon completion of the project, the coastline of Central was extended up to 350 metres beyond the original coastline; the Central Reclamation Phase 2 reclaimed 5.3 hectares of land at the former Tamar naval base. The reclamation formed land for the Tamar Site, five commercial development sites. Works started in December 1994 and were completed in September 1997; the cost was HK$320 million. It has been proposed that a new complex housing the headquarters of the Government and the Legislative Council be built on the reclaimed land; the Central Reclamation Phase 3 involves reclamation for the overrun track of Airport Express, the west section of the proposed North Island Line and the Central-Wan Chai Bypass, new Star Ferry piers, new roads, other facilities. The cost is HK$3,561.5 million.
It was planned to reclaim 32 hectares of land, but has been reduced to 18 due to public opposition. Works have started on 2003-02-28. Above-ground construction is scheduled to be completed in 2011; the underground Central-Wan Chai Bypass has opened on 20 January 2019. Wan Chai Reclamation Phase I includes the formation of an island of 70,000 m² by reclamation at the northern side of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to supply land for building an additional room to the Centre; the island configuration is to ensure that water quality in the vicinity remained at satisfactory levels after reclamation was completed. Works commenced in March 1994 and were completed in July 1997. Wan Chai Development Phase II extends along the water's edge from the Central Reclamation Phase III to Causeway Bay; this HK$10.5-billion project, together with Central Reclamation Phases I, II and III, is to provide land for the construction of the Central-Wan Chai Bypass and the Island Eastern Corridor Link, the Hong Kong Island section of the Shatin-to-Central Link and the North Island Line.
Construction work commenced in 2009 and is planned to be completed in 2017. Because of the multi-faceted nature of the project, involving road creation, land reclamation and foreshore development, the project is overseen jointly by Highways Department and Civil Engineering and Development Department, who together commission a single contractor for each location involved; the works involve the temporary reclamation – for a period of several years – of Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter and the former public cargo working area. In a judicial review before the Court of First Instance, it was held in March 2008 that the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance applied to such works, hence the government was required to demonstrate an'over-riding public need' for the reclamation, it undertook to keep the temporary reclamation "to the minimum" and to reinstate the seabed after completion of the construction works. Not everyone welcomed with the reclamation plan warmly; some Hong Kong residents thought the action was unnecessary.
Instead of building a bypass, the opponents urge the government to start an electronic road toll scheme in the community. On 5 October 2003, over 1,000 protesters dressed in blue marched on the Central Government Offices calling for a halt to reclamation work in the harbour, they promised to follow up with a three-pronged protest next month using land and air to get their message across. The march was one of several protests in recent weeks over harbour projects, which the government says are necessary to ease traffic congestion in Central due to the increase in private cars; the government had lost the first round of a court battle, but appealed against the decision. The Society for Protection of the Harbour applied for a stay of order and judicial review on 25 September 2003, prohibiting the government from continuing with the third phase of the Central reclamation project; the government resum
Hong Kong Observation Wheel
The Hong Kong Observation Wheel is a 60-metre tall Ferris wheel located at the Central Harbourfront, Hong Kong. It has 42 gondolas including one VIP Gondola with a clear glass bottom floor. All gondolas are equipped with air conditioners and communication systems; each ride included two to three takes about 15 minutes. Each gondola can seat a maximum of eight people, other than the VIP Gondola, it is operated by The Entertainment Corporation Limited. TECL has partnered with AIA Group, to present the AIA Vitality Park as part of the attraction. In May 2013 the Lands Department of Hong Kong leased 9,620 square metres of land between Central Pier No. 9 and Pier No. 10. for the attraction. It is situated on the Wan Chai Reclamation overlooking Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. 90% of the site surrounding the wheel is accessible to the public with food and beverages available for purchase. Live entertainments are held at the event plaza throughout the year, suitable for all ages; the wheel is designed to suit Hong Kong's weather.
It is built within the Mechanical Services Department and TUV standards. The wheel has had two owners; the previous owner was Swiss the current owner is The Entertainment Corporation Limited. In 2014, Swiss AEX expected 1 million riders per annum, aimed at an average of 2,740 passengers daily. After the ownership transfer in 2017, TECL announced that they have achieved 1 million riders in less than 7 months since the opening; the Ferris wheel was first presented by Swiss AEX, a company who claims their experience in Ferris wheel operations for more than a decade in their proposal contract. Swiss AEX had partnered with Hong Kong Telecom. In 2017, the government awarded the second term of operating contract to The Entertainment Corporation Limited, set to commence in September 2017. TECL issued a statement saying it will “offer a lower ticket price per ride”; the wheel closed to the public in August, when the dispute over transfer of its ownership resulted in a deadlock between the original and new operators.
The Secretary for Development stated the wheel could be dismantled and closed for 2 years until a replacement is built by TECL. Swiss AEX, the former owner of the wheel, described the company “with no experience of operating observation wheels whatsoever”. On 6 September 2017, a deal was struck between TECL & Swiss AEX which saved the wheel from demolition. In November 2017, TECL announced that the wheel will be re-opened to public on 20 December 2017 as part of the new AIA Vitality Park, with a range of health and wellness-related events and activities organised nearby; the government's decision to build a Ferris wheel here was controversial. Some questioned the necessity of building such a tourist attraction, considering it seemed useless since the view is affected by varying weather conditions; the chairman of the Harbourfront Commission, Nicholas Brooke, showed support of this development project in the interview. However, the Harbourfront Commission has no executive power. Apart from that, although the contract to operate this sightseeing spot was awarded in 2013, the project was delayed several times.
There were many complaints from the public about the lack of information. Security has been controversial after the release of a photo taken by one daredevil climber showing himself sitting on the top of the wheel; this picture was taken down before the opening day of the wheel to the public. It has brought the security concerns of wheel into the limelight. Official website
Hong Kong the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and abbreviated as HK, is a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre territory, Hong Kong is the world's fourth most densely populated region. Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after Qing Empire ceded Hong Kong Island at the end of the First Opium War in 1842; the colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War, was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. The entire territory was transferred to China in 1997; as a special administrative region, Hong Kong's system of government is separate from that of mainland China and its people identify more as Hongkongers rather than Chinese. A sparsely populated area of farming and fishing villages, the territory has become one of the world's most significant financial centres and commercial ports.
It is the world's seventh-largest trading entity, its legal tender is the world's 13th-most traded currency. Although the city has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it has severe income inequality; the territory has the largest number of skyscrapers in most surrounding Victoria Harbour. Hong Kong ranks seventh on the UN Human Development Index, has the sixth-longest life expectancy in the world. Although over 90 per cent of its population uses public transportation, air pollution from neighbouring industrial areas of mainland China has resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates; the name of the territory, first spelled "He-Ong-Kong" in 1780 referred to a small inlet between Aberdeen Island and the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. Aberdeen was an initial point of contact between local fishermen. Although the source of the romanised name is unknown, it is believed to be an early phonetic rendering of the Cantonese pronunciation hēung góng; the name translates as "fragrant harbour" or "incense harbour".
"Fragrant" may refer to the sweet taste of the harbour's freshwater influx from the Pearl River or to the odor from incense factories lining the coast of northern Kowloon. The incense was stored near Aberdeen Harbour for export. Sir John Davis offered an alternative origin; the simplified name Hong Kong was used by 1810 written as a single word. Hongkong was common until 1926, when the government adopted the two-word name; some corporations founded during the early colonial era still keep this name, including Hongkong Land, Hongkong Electric and Shanghai Hotels and the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. The region is first known to have been occupied by humans during the Neolithic period, about 6,000 years ago. Early Hong Kong settlers were a semi-coastal people who migrated from inland and brought knowledge of rice cultivation; the Qin dynasty incorporated the Hong Kong area into China for the first time in 214 BCE, after conquering the indigenous Baiyue. The region was consolidated under the Nanyue kingdom after the Qin collapse, recaptured by China after the Han conquest.
During the Mongol conquest, the Southern Song court was located in modern-day Kowloon City before its final defeat in the 1279 Battle of Yamen. By the end of the Yuan dynasty, seven large families had settled in the region and owned most of the land. Settlers from nearby provinces migrated to Kowloon throughout the Ming dynasty; the earliest European visitor was Portuguese explorer Jorge Álvares, who arrived in 1513. Portuguese merchants established a trading post called in Hong Kong waters, began regular trade with southern China. Although the traders were expelled after military clashes in the 1520s, Portuguese-Chinese trade relations were reestablished by 1549. Portugal acquired a permanent lease for Macau in 1557. After the Qing conquest, maritime trade was banned under the Haijin policies; the Kangxi Emperor lifted the prohibition, allowing foreigners to enter Chinese ports in 1684. Qing authorities established the Canton System in 1757 to regulate trade more restricting non-Russian ships to the port of Canton.
Although European demand for Chinese commodities like tea and porcelain was high, Chinese interest in European manufactured goods was insignificant. To counter the trade imbalance, the British sold large amounts of Indian opium to China. Faced with a drug crisis, Qing officials pursued ever-more-aggressive actions to halt the opium trade; the Daoguang Emperor rejected proposals to legalise and tax opium, ordering imperial commissioner Lin Zexu to eradicate the opium trade in 1839. The commissioner destroyed opium stockpiles and halted all foreign trade, forcing a British military response and triggering the First Opium War; the Qing ceded Hong Kong Island in the Convention of Chuenpi. However, both countries did not ratify the agreement. After over a year of further hostilities, Hong Kong Island was formally ceded to the United Kingdom in the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. Administrative infrastructure was built up by early 1842, but piracy and hostile Qing policies towards Hong Kong prevented the government from attracting merchants.
The Taiping Rebellion, when many wealthy Chinese fled mainland turbulence and settled in the colon
Victoria Harbour is a natural landform harbour separating Hong Kong Island in the south from the Kowloon Peninsula to the north. The harbour's deep, sheltered waters and strategic location on the South China Sea were instrumental in Hong Kong's establishment as a British colony and its subsequent development as a trading centre. Throughout its history, the harbour has seen numerous reclamation projects undertaken on both shores, many of which have caused controversy in recent years. Environmental concerns have been expressed about the effects of these expansions, in terms of water quality and loss of natural habitat, it has been proposed that benefits of land reclamation may be less than the effects of decreased harbour width, affecting the number of vessels passing through the harbour. Nonetheless Victoria Harbour still retains its founding role as a port for thousands of international vessels each year; the harbour is a major tourist attraction of Hong Kong. Lying in the middle of the territory's dense urban region, the harbour is the site of annual fireworks displays and its promenades are used as gathering places for tourists and residents.
The first reference to what is now called Victoria Harbour is found in Zheng He's sailing maps of the China coast, dated c.1425, which appear in the Wubei Zhi, a comprehensive 17th-century military book. While the harbour was charted in maps, the first map depicting it in detail is an 1810 marine chart prepared for the East India Company by Daniel Ross and Philip Maughan, lieutenants of the Bombay Marine; some of the first recreational activities to take place in the harbour were water competitions such as swimming and water polo in the 1850s, undertaken by members of Hong Kong's first sports club, the Victoria Recreation Club. During the Taiping Rebellion, armed rebels paraded the streets of Hong Kong. On 21 December 1854, the Hong Kong police arrested several armed rebels who were about to attack Kowloon City. On 23 January 1855, a fleet of Taiping war boats was on the verge of a naval battle against Chinese imperial war boats defending the harbour; the Chinese defenders were ordered away by the British colonial authorities.
These incidents caused rising tension that would lead to the Arrow War. The harbour was called "Hong Kong Harbour", but was renamed as "Victoria Harbour", to assure shelter for the British fleet under Queen Victoria; the subject of pollution came to the fore in the 1970s with the rapid growth of the manufacturing sector. The water club races were stopped in 1973 due to pollution in the harbour, a year after the RMS Queen Elizabeth burned and capsized there. Studies showed excessive nitrogen input from discharges of the Pearl River Delta into the harbour for decades. After completion of the Central and Wan Chai Reclamation Feasibility Study in 1989, the Land Development Policy Committee endorsed a concept for gradual implementation of this additional reclamation, it consists of three district development cells separated by parks, Central and Exhibition. The latest proposed reclamation, extending along the waterfront from Sheung Wan to Causeway Bay, faced public opposition, as the harbour has become a pivotal location to Hongkongers in general.
Activists have denounced the government's actions as destructive not only to the natural environment, but to what is considered as one of the most prized natural assets of the territory. NGOs, including the Society for Protection of the Harbour, were formed to resist further attempts to reduce the size of the waterbody, with its chairman, Christine Loh, quoted as saying that the harbour "...is a precious national asset and we must preserve it for future generations. I believe an insightful and visionary chief executive would support our stance and work with us to protect the harbour". Reclamation work led to the demolition of Queen's Pier and Edinburgh Place Ferry Pier, structures of historic significance, to massive public opposition. Victoria Harbour covered an area of about 41.88 km2 in 2004. The eastern boundary is considered to be the line formed between the westernmost extremity of Siu Chau Wan and A Kung Ngam; the western boundary is considered to consist of a line drawn from the westernmost point of Hong Kong Island to the westernmost point of Green Island, thence a straight line drawn from the westernmost point of Green Island to the southeastern-most point of Tsing Yi, thence along the eastern and northern coastal lines of Tsing Yi to its westernmost extremity, thence a straight line drawn true north towards the mainland.
There are several islands within the harbour: Green Island Little Green Island Kowloon Rock Tsing Yi IslandDue to land reclamation, the following are former islands that are now connected to adjacent lands or larger islands: Stonecutters Island Channel Rock Kellett Island Hoi Sham Island Nga Ying Chau Pillar Island Mong Chau Chau Tsai Rumsey Rock Victoria Harbour is known for its panoramic night view and skyline in the direction towards Hong Kong Island where the skyline of skyscrapers is superimposed over the ridges behind. Among the best places to view the harbour are the Peak Tower atop Victoria Peak, or from the piazza at the Cultural Centre or the promenade of Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side. Rides on the Star Ferry, including the route between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, are another way to view the harbour and cityscape; as the natural