- Since 1997 Hong Kong has been a Special Administrative Region of China, retaining rights such as freedom of speech guaranteed in its Basic Law
- The West Kowloon Cultural District is a flagship cultural infrastructure project which will be completed over the next ten years
- A number of historic government buildings have been turned into cultural or creative centres through public-private partnerships
City data: Key facts
Geographical area: 1,104 sq. km
Total population: 7,409, 800
Education level - with degree level or higher: 24 %
GDP (ppp) (million): US$ 455,060
Creative industries employment: 5.7 %
Today Hong Kong is the fourth most densely populated place in the world, with nearly 7.5 million people, over 90% of whom are of Chinese descent. Despite a low birth rate, its population is growing, primarily due to immigration from mainland China: around 12% of Hong Kong residents are mainland immigrants. There are also significant communities of Indonesian and Filipino migrant workers.
The Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureauis responsible for cultural policy in Hong Kong, with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) acting as its executive arm for the delivery of programmes, including in museums, libraries and performance spaces. Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) also has a major role as a statutory body for development of arts in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong faces a challenging time in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, and experienced a fifth major wave in Spring 2022. Arts and culture have suffered greatly from the closure of venues. Some artists have responded to this by turning to online forms of creative expression. The Government has been actively encouraging and promoting the integration of arts with innovation and technology (I&T) and formulated strategies and measures to develop and promote Art Tech.
Although the short term may be difficult for culture, the Government sees both the commercial and creative side of the cultural sector as crucial for the city’s long term success. Among the City’s priorities are developing world class cultural facilities as well as strengthening international and mainland connections between arts organisations. The scale of this ambition can be seen in the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), a strategic investment by the HKSAR Government to create a vibrant arts and cultural hub providing world-class venues for presenting the best quality arts and cultural programmes, as well as promoting artistic excellence and nurturing talent and audience. Following the opening of two new performing arts venues in 2019, the Xiqu Centre and Freespace, the Art Park, a much-welcomed urban oasis for public enjoyment was fully opened in 2020. M+, Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture, was opened in November 2021. With the opening of the much-anticipated Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM) in July 2022, WKCD stands ready to become an internationally recognised leading arts and cultural district. In addition, the three year Design District Hong Kong programme (#ddHK’s) has aimed to evolve culture beyond institutions, into the ordinary spaces of the city – creating programmes that support local people and local businesses, as well as drawing in new forms of design based tourism.
Hong Kong has also emerged as one of the world’s art trading centres in 2020, with imports and exports of works of art, collector’s pieces, and antiques amounting to $33.6 billion in 2020, double the 2017 figure. Top-tier international art galleries and auction houses have expanded their presence in Hong Kong in recent years, consolidating the city’s position as Asia’s art trading centre. However, the Government also sees arts and culture as crucial in building an inclusive and cohesive society, bringing enjoyment and a sense of belonging among citizens.
Looking further ahead, ‘Hong Kong 2030+: Towards a Planning Vision and Strategy Transcending 2030’ maps out how to create optimal infrastructure, and make good use of land in an already densely built city. Its vision is to enhance liveability, develop inclusive design in the public realm and public facilities, and promote Victoria Harbour and its setting as Hong Kong’s foremost natural and cultural asset. It aims both to safeguard the unique culture, of the city’s past while becoming liveable, competitive and sustainable as ‘Asia’s World City’.