DEFINITION of 'Special Administrative Region - SAR'
Unique geographical areas with a high degree of autonomy set up by the People's Republic of China. The Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of Hong Kong and Macau, which were formerly British and Portuguese colonies until 1997 and 1999 respectively, were set up in accordance with the "one country, two systems" concept proposed by Deng Xiaoping. The two SARs enjoy a great deal of autonomy, with responsibility for most areas of government - including executive, legislative and judicial - except for defense and diplomatic relations.
BREAKING DOWN 'Special Administrative Region - SAR'
The continued prosperity of Hong Kong and Macau under China is proof of the success of the SAR concept. Despite the vast differences in social systems and ideologies between the capitalist-based system of the SARs and the socialist system of China, the entire region has managed to maintain its rapid pace of economic growth, which ranks among the fastest-growing in the world.