Yours, Etc.: Origins and Uses of 8 Sign-Offs
from Cantonese pronunciation of Chinese Xianggang, literally "fragrant port." Perhaps so called from the scent of incense factories or opium cargoes, or from the semi-fresh waters of the bay. The word hong was the general English term for foreign trading establishments in China.
Note: China ceded the island of Hong Kong to Britain in the nineteenth century. Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, when Britain's lease expired.
Note: One of the world's leading commercial centers, Hong Kong is home to many international corporate offices and a world-famous tailoring industry. China has given assurances that it will maintain Hong Kong's capitalistic (see capitalism) and democratic (see democracy) institutions.