During the First Opium War in 1842, China's Qing Dynasty lost and ceded Hong Kong to Britain. Many years later, Britain leased the surrounding territories from China. That began a transformation that raised the territory's status to one of the best business cities in the world. When this lease expired in 1997, there was fear that it would lose its autonomy, but Hong Kong has only become more prosperous, literally and figuratively. It's home to more than 60 of the world's billionaires, according to Forbes, and it has become a hub for Asia as well as a gateway for multiple markets.

01Hong Kong Isn't A Country

While it's not an actual country or state, Hong Kong is a separate territory within China. Its full name is Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. It has its own flag and currency, the Hong Kong dollar, and English is one of its two major languages, due to its tenure as a former British colony. As a globally recognized broadcasting and film industry player, censorship doesn't seem to play a role, unlike the rest of China, making it a welcoming destination to business and vacation.