The opening of two impressive new museums in a year signalled Hong Kong’s ambitions to become one of the world’s cultural capitals. More than 2 million people have visited M+, a museum of contemporary art and design, since its launch in November 2021. The Hong Kong Palace Museum, displaying imperial treasures from Beijing, attracted 600,000 last year after opening in July. Both venues, run by subsidiaries of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, a statutory body, have overcome controversy and the pandemic’s challenges to become cultural landmarks. But this is only the beginning. More museums are in the pipeline as Hong Kong seeks to establish itself as an “East-meets-West” centre for cultural exchange, as outlined in China’s latest five-year plan. Four to be government-run are planned. The Heritage Conservation and Resource Centre in Tin Shui Wai and a Chinese History and Culture Promotion Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui have been confirmed. Last month, officials suggested another would be a large arts and culture museum in the Northern Metropolis development planned for the New Territories. This would form part of a complex including a performance venue and library intended to be “a centrepiece of artistic and cultural expression”. The fourth new venue is slated to be a transport museum, in another new urban centre at the Ka Yi Chau artificial islands off Lantau. Other public museums are being upgraded. This is all part of the government’s wider plan to develop the cultural sector in fields ranging from “arts tech” to pop culture. M+ Cinema: theatre with a difference at Hong Kong museum of visual culture New facilities are welcome for the enrichment of residents’ lives and to attract tourists, as the city moves on from the pandemic. But there is much more to developing culture than spending vast sums of public money on big projects. There is a need to also encourage the development of private museums with the flexibility to curate top class collections. Diversity is important. Stakeholders should be proactively engaged and have broad support for strategies secured. An environment must be established in which creativity can flourish. The city, once derided as a cultural desert, is making progress. But there is much to be done if it is to achieve its ambitious plans and rival the world’s leading cultural centres.