Shanghai plans to have 100 museums by 2005 as the commercial hub vies to challenge Beijing as the country's cultural capital. The city already has 64 museums and memorial halls, and the local government plans to open at least 10 annually for the next three years. 'The main reason is to make Shanghai an international city, on a par with Paris and London. Those cities both have more than 100 museums. In this respect, Shanghai's development is slow,' said an official at the city's cultural bureau. Local artists and musicians say to achieve its aim, Shanghai also needs to offer better financial support to the arts and loosen its grip on artistic expression. The city is already home to the world-class Shanghai Museum. Other museums cover topics from banking and musical instruments to dairy and crafts. Of the other 64 museums, 23 are devoted to various industries, eight to geology, seven to history, six to art and one to science. There are also 19 memorials to people, according to local media. Future museums would largely be devoted to industry and could be funded by companies instead of the government, the official said. He added that Shanghai was in a position to support more museums because of its rapid economic development. Despite the proliferation of museums in the city, some are of interest to only a limited few. The Shanghai Public Security Museum, which is devoted to the police and fire departments, was deserted on a recent Saturday. In an editorial yesterday, the Liberation Daily newspaper backed the goal of expanding Shanghai as a cultural centre. 'A city doesn't have the right to call itself a world city without a broad and influential position as an international cultural centre,' it said.