Kuala Lumpur, often abbreviated as K.L., is the federal capital and most populous city in Malaysia. The city covers an area of 243 km2 (94 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 1.6 million as of 2010. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 6.9 million as of 2010. It is among the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the country, in terms of population and economy.
Kuala Lumpur is the seat of the Parliament of Malaysia. The city was once home to the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, but they were moved to Putrajaya in early 1999. Some sections of the judiciary still remains in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. The official residence of the Malaysian King, the Istana Negara, is also situated in Kuala Lumpur.
Rated as an alpha World city, Kuala Lumpur is the cultural, financial and economic centre of Malaysia due to its position as the capital as well as being a key city. Kuala Lumpur was ranked 48th among global cities by Foreign Policy's 2010 Global Cities Index and was ranked 67th among global cities for economic and social innovation by the 2thinknow Innovation Cities Index in 2010.
Kuala Lumpur has its origins in the 1850s, when the Malay Chief of Klang, Raja Abdullah, hired some Chinese labourers to open new and larger tin mines for tin prospectors. The miners landed at the confluence of Sungai Gombak (previously known as Sungai Lumpur, meaning "muddy river") and Sungai Klang (Klang River) to open mines at Ampang, Pudu and Batu. These mines developed into a trading post which became a frontier town.
The geography of Kuala Lumpur is characterized by the huge Klang Valley. The valley is bordered by the Titiwangsa Mountains in the east, several minor ranges in the north and the south and the Strait of Malacca in the west. Kuala Lumpur is a Malay term which translates to "muddy confluence" as it is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers.
Kuala Lumpur's eleven districts serve as administrative subdivisions under the Kuala Lumpur City Hall authority. Two districts lie to the west is Segambut and Lembah Pantai; while Kepong, Batu and Wangsa Maju to the north; Setiawangsa, Titiwangsa and Cheras to east; Seputeh and Bandar Tun Razak for the south; and Bukit Bintang in centralised Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding urban areas form the most industrialized and economically, the fastest growing region in Malaysia. Despite the relocation of federal government administration to Putrajaya, certain government institutions such as Bank Negara Malaysia (National Bank of Malaysia), Companies Commission of Malaysia and Securities Commission as well as most embassies and diplomatic missions have remained in the city.
Tourism plays an important role in the city’s service-driven economy. Many large worldwide hotel chains have a presence in the city. Kuala Lumpur is the sixth most visited city in the world, with 8.9 million tourist per year. Tourism here is driven by the city's cultural diversity, relatively low costs and wide gastronomic and shopping variety.
MICE tourism which mainly encompasses conventions— has expanded in recent years to become a vital component of the industry, and is expected to grow further once the Malaysian government's Economic Transformation Programme kicks in, and with the completion of a new 93,000m2-size MATRADE Centre in 2014. Another notable trend is the increased presence of budget hotels in the city.