Visually stunning Hong Kong offers a warp-speed ‘shop till you drop' lifestyle combined with enclaves of Chinese tradition. It is a popular destination for Asian and Chinese tourists, as well as a major stopover destination for continental travellers. Self-branded as ‘Asia's World City', it is also one of the world's major financial and trading centres. Hong Kong's 260 outlying islands, few of which are inhabited, provide a tranquil alternative to its frenetic energy elsewhere. The two main parts, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, are an eclectic mix of modern skyscrapers, colonial buildings and traditional temples. On 1 July 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of China in an arrangement lasting 50 years. Under the ‘one country, two systems'policy, Hong Kong maintains its own political, social and economic systems. English remains an official language and Hong Kong's border with China still exists.