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20 years of rapid economic change in Macau

Source: Economic Reference News release time: 2019-12-20

December 20, 2019 is the 20th anniversary of Macau's return to the motherland. Twenty years ago, at 00:00 on December 20, 1999, the five-star red flag rose slowly in Macau, and the wanderers who had been separated for many years finally returned to the motherland. For 20 years, the small lotus town on the coast of the South China Sea in Macau has been on the fast track for development.

Rapid economic development and significant improvement in people's livelihood

After 20 years of hardships and hardships, under the "one country, two systems", Macau has developed from a small city with a downturned economy and chaotic security to an internationally renowned city with political stability, social harmony, economic prosperity, and cultural diversity.

Over the past 20 years, Macau's economy has grown rapidly.

From the perspective of income, Macau's GDP reached 440.3 billion patacas in 2018, which was an increase of nearly 8 times compared with 51.9 billion patacas at the beginning of the return. The average annual actual growth rate was as high as 7.6%. From 120,000 patacas in 1999 to 670,000 patacas in 2018, it ranks among the best in the world.

In terms of financial strength, at the end of 2018, Macao's accumulated fiscal surplus reached 505.6 billion patacas, an increase of 193 times over 1999.

In 2018, Macau's foreign exchange reserves reached MOP 163.6 billion, an increase of 6.2 times compared with the beginning of the return, and its ability to withstand external financial risks has been greatly enhanced.

The huge economic achievements have brought a real sense of gain to the people of Macau. A series of figures clearly shows the work done by the SAR Government in its efforts to improve people's livelihood:

As of 2018, the unemployment rate of local residents in Macao has fallen from 6.3% at the beginning of the return to 1.8%, and the median monthly employment income of the employed population has increased from about 5,000 patacas at the beginning of the return to about 16,000 patacas in 2018; 5.1 Ten thousand sets of public housing have guaranteed the housing needs of low- and middle-income people; 15 years of free education from kindergarten to high school has been implemented since 2007; Macau has distributed cash to permanent residents and non-permanent residents for 12 consecutive years, and the amounts have been increased. To 10,000 patacas and 6,000 patacas ...

Since the reunification, the achievements of the Macao SAR Government in the fields of social welfare, social security, medical care, and public housing have been visible and tangible.

A moderately diversified economy has basically formed

As to how economic development has jumped out of the single structure of the gaming industry, Macau handed over a moderately diversified economic answer sheet.

Over the past 20 years, with the strong support of the country, Macao has combined its own advantages and strengthened regional cooperation in parallel. The industrial layout has been gradually optimized.

Tourism as an important economic pillar is booming. In particular, after the opening of individual tours by mainland residents to Australia in 2003, Macau's economic vitality has become more robust. According to data released by the Macau SAR Government Tourism Bureau, 35.8 million tourists entered Macau in 2018, a record high, an increase of 9.8% year-on-year.

Four emerging industries are also making steady progress. As of the end of 2017, the total value added of emerging industries such as the convention and exhibition industry, financial industry, Chinese medicine industry and cultural and creative industries increased by 23.6% over 2015, accounting for 8.1% of the total value added of all industries.

The convention and exhibition industry is one of the emerging industries that the SAR government is focusing on. At present, the area of Macau ’s convention and exhibition space has increased by nearly 12 times compared to 2005. Conferences and large-scale exhibitions with a scale of over 10,000 people can also be held at the same venue. Convention and exhibition activities have made progress in terms of quality, internationalization, and marketization. There have been 8 The exhibition brand was certified by the International Exhibition Industry Association (UFI). In the first quarter of 2019, the per capita consumption of MICE visitors was the highest among all types of tourists, reaching 4358 patacas, an increase of 49.8%, which is 1.7 times higher than the overall per capita consumption of tourists.

The Chinese medicine industry in Macau aims at industrialization, standardization and internationalization, and contributes to the moderate diversification of Macau's economy. In 2017, the total value added of the Chinese medicine industry in Macau was 321 million patacas, an increase of 32.1% year-on-year.

The characteristic financial industry has also achieved development. The population of Portuguese-speaking countries exceeds 270 million. In 2018, bilateral trade between China and Portuguese-speaking countries reached US $ 147.354 billion. With the support of the central government, the SAR Government has focused on promoting Macau as a "Portuguese-speaking country RMB clearing center", "Portuguese-speaking country corporate financing platform", "Portuguese-speaking country financing lease platform", and "Portuguese-speaking country precious metal (gold) trading platform" to develop RMB clearing. , Financial leasing, wealth management and other special financial services. In July 2019, the central government issued 2 billion yuan of government bonds in Macau for the first time.

The cultural and creative industry enjoys Macau's profound cultural heritage advantages. The SAR government actively introduces cultural and creative industries with creativity, design and commercialization as its core in various economic industries. On the one hand, it helps small and medium-sized enterprises to upgrade and transform and expand diversified businesses; on the other hand, it promotes the development of other related peripheral industries, thereby improving Economic development of Macau. In 2017, the total value added of the cultural and creative industries reached 2.379 billion patacas, an increase of 6.9% year-on-year.

In recent years, the Macao SAR government has also increased its investment to promote the development of science and technology. Since 2010, relying on a number of key laboratories, Macau has integrated into the national innovation system and has become an important pole in the construction of the science and innovation corridor on the west bank of the Pearl River in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

"Today, the basic pattern of moderate and diversified development of the Macao economy has taken shape," said Liang Weite, director of the Economic and Financial Secretary of the Macao SAR Government.

Moving towards a larger landscape with higher quality

Over the past 20 years, the great achievements of the Macao economy cannot be separated from the long-term support of the motherland.

The Mainland is the strong backing of Macau's supplies. Fresh products are continuously delivered from the Mainland to the Macau market; 88% of Macau ’s total electricity consumption and more than 98% of its raw water use are from the Mainland.

The Mainland provides a strong policy guarantee for Macao's development. The "Mainland and Macao Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement" (CEPA) signed in 2003 enabled the Mainland and Macao to achieve full liberalization in the field of trade in goods and basic liberalization in the field of trade in services, and economic and technological cooperation arrangements have been developed in wider areas. Compared with before the reunification, the trade volume between the Mainland and Macao in 2018, the actual use of Australian capital, and the turnover of the Mainland's contracted projects in Australia increased by 3.3 times, 3.1 times, and 20.3 times, respectively. Since 2013, Macau has become the second largest market for Mainland foreign labor service cooperation for six consecutive years.

The expansion of Macao's international "friendship circle" is also inseparable from the support of the central government, and its international influence continues to increase.

In September of this year, Macau Shengshi Group announced the acquisition of an agricultural project in Portugal for 40 million euros. Its ranch covers an area of 3,700 hectares, and the scale of animal husbandry ranks among the highest in Europe. As early as 2012, the group invested in renewable energy in Portugal and has built three concentrated photovoltaic power plants.

Standing at a new starting point for the 20th anniversary of the return to the motherland, how does Macau go in the future?

In September 2016, the first five-year development plan of the Macao Special Administrative Region was officially promulgated. This is the first time that the Macao Special Administrative Region Government has formulated a blueprint for medium- and long-term development.

The 2019 `` Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Development Plan Outline '' has established a world tourism and leisure center, a platform for business cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries, and promoted moderate and diversified economic development for Macau. With its "one center, one platform, one base" positioning, and taking Macau as one of the four central cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Macau's economy will enter a new stage of development.

In Liang Weite's words, Macau ’s economy has changed from recession to development after the reunification, and it can be said that it has achieved “stand up”; after 20 years of rapid development, Macau has now achieved “richness”; in the future, Macau will achieve higher quality Only by making more contributions to the country can we be “strengthening”.

In the new era, Macau will develop with high quality in a larger pattern.

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