20 Hong Kong

PopulationMetro: 7,380,000
Not quite China, but certainly no longer a Western colony, Hong Kong is the best of all worlds.

“To newcomers, Hong Kong seems like a combination of Times Square on New Year’s eve, the subway at 5:30 in the afternoon, a three-alarm fire, a public auction and a country fair,” wrote journalist Martha Gellhorn, wife of Ernest Hemingway, during a visit to the British colony in 1941.

A lot has changed in the 77 years since but the East-meets-West spirit of the place, the forest of skyscrapers as seen on a hike to Pok Fu Lam Reservoir, the sounds, smells and tastes from the dai pai dong (open-air food stalls) of Temple Street Night Market, and the city’s electric pulse captivate and draw you in as soon as you arrive. So much so that you can easily find local and visitor stories and experiences on social media by searching for #DiscoverHongKong, the tourism board’s official tag. Unsurprisingly, Hong Kong lands at #10 for Place and #9 for Promotion.

Place 70
Product 32
Programming 16
People 54
Prosperity 41
Promotion 36

For years, high-rollers from mainland China, Southeast Asia, North America and beyond have come to the city state of Hong Kong for its glitzy bars and nightclubs, Michelin-starred restaurants and sparkling shopping malls. These days they also come for art and culture. Hong Kong has made major strides in establishing itself as a global arts hub,” says Nick Simunovic, managing director of Gagosian Gallery Asia, citing record-setting auctions, the West Kowloon Cultural District (a developing cultural project to feature a new museum, theaters and concert halls) and the influx of world-class galleries. The city is now home to outposts from the U.K.’s White Cube and France’s Galerie Perrotin among others. Hong Kong hosts a number of exciting events, such as Detour, an annual multi-media art and design festival that throws open the gates to some of the city’s most interesting spaces, including the former Wan Chai Police Station, to showcase emerging art.