The emblem features the same design elements as the regional Flag of Hong Kong in a circular setting. The outer white ring is shown with the caption of the official name of the territory in Traditional Chinese and the English short form, "Hong Kong".
Colonial Coat of Arms
The arms had been in use in colonial Hong Kong since it was granted on 21 January, 1959 and later adopted on the in July of that year. The use of the arms ended in 1997 where it was replaced by the regional emblem. The Coat of Arms feature a shield with two sections: the bears two traditional Chinese junks facing each other. Inside the or is a gold-coloured naval crown. The 'embattled' design separates the chief from the rest of the shield. The features a lion holding a pearl. The shield is held up by two supporters, a lion and a Chinese dragon. The shield and supporters stand on the compartment, which consists of a heraldic island bearing the motto "HONG KONG".
The two junks symbolise the importance of trade within the colony. The naval crown symbolises Hong Kong's links with the and the Merchant Navy, and the battlements commemorate the Battle of Hong Kong during World War II. The pearl held by the lion wearing the imperial crown in the crest personifies the romanticised phrase "Pearl of the Orient" referring to Hong Kong. The lion and dragon supporters show the British and Chinese aspects of Hong Kong. The island symbolises the beginning of the colony as an island and represents the maritime and hilly geography of Hong Kong. Some Hong Kong nationalists consider the design as an insult: the pearl originally in the left forelimb of the dragon is now given to the lion .
The crest alone had featured on the of Hong Kong coinage before the introduction of the Bauhinia design in preparation for the in 1997.
The colonial seal badge was in use since 1843 in one version or another until it was replaced by the coat of arms granted in 1959. Throughout several revisions, the idea of the remained. It depicted three Chinese merchants and a pile of cargo on a wharf on the left in the foreground. In the background there was a square-rigged ship and a Chinese junk in the harbour backed by conical hills.