A special administrative region on the southeastern coast of China, a former British dependency; population 7,346,600 (est. 2009). The area comprises Hong Kong Island, ceded by China in 1841; the Kowloon peninsula, ceded in 1860; and the New Territories, additional areas of the mainland that were leased for 99 years in 1898. All were returned to China in 1997. Hong Kong has become one of the world's major financial and manufacturing centers.