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Macau Special Administrative Region: Market Profile

Major Economic Indicators

Economic Indicators20162017
ValueYOY Change
ValueYOY Change
GDP (MOP bn)362.3-0.91404.29.11
GDP per capita (MOP)560,913-1.51622,8038.61
Industrial added-value
- Primary industry (MOP bn)001
- Secondary industry (MOP bn)23.9-18.61
- Tertiary industry (MOP bn)335.21.61
Added-value of gaming sector (MOP bn)169.3-3.51
Gross fixed capital formation (MOP bn)78.6-11.8174.8-10.01
Total retail sales (MOP bn)58.8-4.466.312.6
Inflation (composite consumer price index %)N.A.2.4N.A.1.2
Export (MOP bn)10.05-6.011.2812.3
Import (MOP bn)71.35-15.775.856.3
Foreign direct investment (MOP bn)11.8132.0

In real terms
2 USD/MOP=8.026 (Average exchange rate in 2017)
Source: Statistics & Census Service, Government of Macau Special Administrative Region

General Background

The Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) is situated on the southeastern coast of the Chinese mainland. Set on the estuary of the Pearl River and some 60 km southwest of Hong Kong, it has total area of 30.5 sq km. As of the end of 2017, its population stood at 653,000 people.

The Macau SAR comprises the Macau Peninsula, Taipa Island and Coloane Island. The Peninsula and Taipa are linked by three bridge crossings, while Taipa and Coloane are connected via the Cotai reclamation area.


The principal contributors to Macau’s GDP are its secondary and tertiary industries, with the tertiary sector accounting for the majority share. Since 2008, the share of the tertiary industry’s contribution to Macau’s overall GDP has been growing steadily.

Composition of GDP (%)

Primary industry
Secondary industry12.2
Tertiary industry87.8

Source: Statistics & Census Service, Government of Macau Special Administrative Region

The gaming sector dominates Macau’s economy. In 2016, the gaming/gaming promotion sector accounted for almost half (47%) of the SAR’s GDP. Over the last 10 years, however, Macau’s economic development strategy has seen it shifting towards “an industrial structure with gaming tourism as the engine, complete with other service industries”. The still booming gaming sector, meanwhile, has continued to drive the growth of a number of associated industries, most notably the hospitality, wholesale and retail sectors. In 2017, Macau’s total number of tourism visitors was 32.6 million.

Macau’s Five-year Development Plan (2016-2020) prioritises the diversification of its economy, while looking to further optimise its industrial structure. By 2020, it is also hoped that the percentage of non-gaming revenue, compared to total gaming revenue, will have increased from 6.6% in 2014 to more than 9%. Ultimately, it is believed that this will create greater synergy between the gaming and non-gaming sectors. At the same time, there has also been a focus on developing a number of industries relatively new to Macau, particularly the conventions and exhibitions sector, traditional Chinese medicine, and the cultural and creative industries.

In line with the Five-year Plan, continued efforts will also be made to transform the SAR into a world class tourism and leisure destination, a commitment that has also featured in China’s 12th and 13th Five-Year Plans. With the twin objectives of developing “quality tourism” and “premium tourism”, the city’s tourism resources are to be diversified, modernised and raised to an international standard.

In accordance with China’s overall 13th Five-Year Plan, Macau will also look to drive commercial co-operation between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries. In order to facilitate this, the overall number of Chinese-Portuguese bilingual personnel active in the financial, legal and accounting sectors is to be increased. Efforts will also be made to raise the total level of trade between Macau and the Portuguese-speaking countries by 10% by 2020. As of 2015, that trade was valued at MOP600 million (US$74 million).

Foreign Trade and Investment

Macau is an independent customs territory and also has its own, relatively low, taxation system. In line with the Basic Law of the Macau Special Administrative Region, no duty is payable on the vast majority of products of Macau origin exported to the mainland. Currently, the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan are Macau’s major trading partners. In terms of Hong Kong’s exports to Macau, consumer goods account for about 60% of the total in 2017, with food products second at 18.5%.

From the adoption of The Mainland and Macau Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) in 2004. Until 1 January 2018, a total of 1,535 products (in accordance with the Mainland 2018 Tariff Codes) of Macau origin exported to the mainland enjoyed tariff-free status. Between 2004 and January 2018, the total value of such goods was MOP860 million, equating to MOP61.9 million in tariff exemptions.

With regard to the trade in services, the CEPA Agreement between the Mainland and Macau on Achieving the Basic Liberalisation of the Trade in Services in Guangdong came into effect on a pilot basis as of 1 March 2015. The following November, both parties were signatories to the CEPA Agreement between the Mainland and Macau on the Trade in Services, which duly came into effect on 1 June 2016. This made the basic liberalisation of the trade in services between the mainland and Macau a reality. As of April 2018, a total of 628 Macau Service Supplier Certificates had been issued.

In 2017, the total value of the goods exported from Macau was MOP11.3 billion, with the mainland, Hong Kong and Japan being the primary destinations. In 2016, the SAR’s cumulative level of foreign direct investment stood at MOP244.3 billion.

Content provided by Picture: Doris Fung
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