International financial centers: Hong Kong

Hong Kong, the skyscraper capital

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is traditionally divided into three parts: the island Hong Kong itself, Kowloon and New Territories. The administrative district and the financial center are located in the northern part of the Hong Kong island, together with the offices of large financial companies, and residential neighbourhoods for 1.2 mln people out of 7 mln residing in Hong Kong.

The rapid development of this area gave rise to high-rise construction in Hong Kong. The first skyscrapers appeared here due to height restrictions in Kowloon where the airport is located. In 1998, the airport was closed and the height limitations were therefore removed. Nowadays, there are even more skyscrapers in Hong Kong than in New York, that is 1308 versus 701.

The Bank of China tower designed by I.M Pei and Partners became one of the most recognisable buildings on the Hong Kong island. This 315-meter skyscraper was built in 1990 and remained the highest building till 1992. Currently, it is the fourth by height skyscraper in Hong Kong following the International Commercial Center and the Central Plaza.

The largest development project in Hong Kong has recently been the Union Square in the West Kowloon. The project includes offices, housing, hotels and retail facilities, with the total area exceeding 1 mln sqm, including over 600,000 sqm of residential. A metro line opened here in 1998, and in 2000 six towers of the Waterfront project were constructed quickly followed by Sorrento and Harborside skyscraper in 2003, the Arch skyscraper in 2005, the Elements retail center in 2007, Cullinan towers in 2008, and the International Commercial Center in 2010.