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Country name:

conventional long form: Macau Special Administrative Region
conventional short form: Macau
local long form: Aomen Tebie Xingzhengqu (Chinese); Regiao Administrativa Especial de Macau (Portuguese)
local short form: Aomen (Chinese); Macau (Portuguese)





Besides the city itself, Macau includes the island with Taipa and Coloane, which are connected by bridges and a causeway. The mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai borders Macau to the North, and the border crossing carries heavy two-way vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The Zhuhai Special Economic Zone extends south to the island of Hengqin, an area west of Taipa, Cotai and Coloane; the Lotus Bridge from Cotai connects to that area. There is significant movement by the local population of both Zhuhai and Macau across the border, making the two feel like twin cities.



total: 25.4 sq km
land: 25.4 sq km
water: 0 sq km



445,286 (July 2004 est.)


Cantonese is the most commonly spoken language of Macau (88%, 2001 census). Mandarin is also spoken by a significant number, especially by the educated and those working in the tourism industry. While most locals can comprehend Mandarin to a certain degree, many are not fluent in it and do not feel comfortable speaking it.

English is spoken, especially by people in the tourism business. Nearly all museums and casinos have some staff with excellent English. So do many hotels, shops and restaurants, especially the up-market ones. However, English is not as widespread as in Hong Kong, and you will encounter plenty of people with little or no English (in fact, according to the 2001 census about half the population don't speak anything but Cantonese). This includes many taxi drivers and bus drivers, so be sure to have your hotel name in Chinese with you if you travel on your own, and have a good bus route map.

Speakers of Portuguese won't find it very useful when talking to local residents (in the 2001 census, less than 1% of the population indicated it as their "usual language"), but it helps a lot in understanding place names and signs. Knowing any Romance language (French, Spanish or Italian) helps some.

All official signs in Macau are in both traditional Chinese and Portuguese. Note that under the "one country two systems" policy, like Hong Kong, Macau continues to use traditional Chinese characters and not the simplified Chinese characters used in mainland China.



Macau located at the west bank of Pearl River Delta in South China, is the intersection of Mainland China and South China Sea. It is also located at the south of tropic of Cancer. The winds directions in winter and summer are opposite. Therefore, Macau is in the monsoon region and from the climate classification is considered mild and rainy in summer. The most comfortable period begins from the middle of October to December.

The winter season in Macau covers the months January and February. The cold air from north Siberia continuously passes through the Mid and South China into Macau region and brings us cold and dry northerly winds. The urban temperature sometimes drops below 10??C. Therefore, the annual minimum temperature is generally recorded in these two months. When the precipitation and rainy days are less it is because there is lack of water vapour in the atmosphere.

March and April is the seasonal interchange period. The wind direction along the coastal region of South China is mainly easterly to southeasterly, which will increase the temperature and humidity. Beside some occasional wet weather, fog, drizzle and low visibility days, the weather is mainly fine in spring.

The summer in Macau is longer than the other seasons. Because of hot and wet conditions, the bad weather such as thunderstorm and heavy rain always occur from May to September. Waterspout can be seen occasionally.

Meanwhile from May to October, tropical cyclones occur frequently which make the highest records of precipitation, temperature, rainy days and thunderstorms. As local tropical cyclones number 8 typhoon signal is hoisted the sea and air transports are suspended.

The autumn begins at October, at that time the mainland China becomes cool. The autumn season in Macau is very short, the weather is stable and comfortable with clear sky. It finally returns to the cool and dry November. The cold air from the north will intrude periodically in December.


Economy Overview

Though a small economy, Macao pursues an open economic policy. It boasts one of the lowest tax regimes in the Asia Pacific region and sound financial stability. As a free port and a separate tariff zone, which has no foreign exchange controls, Macao is an active player in the regional economy and a vital link between the mainland Chinese and global markets.

The Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) has maintained rapid growth since its establishment, with its economy growing by an average of 14 percent in real terms annually between 2000 and 2008. This is a turnaround from consecutive negative growth in the four years to 1999. Macao’s gross domestic product (GDP) stood at 141.17 billion patacas in 2008 at constant prices of 2002, which is 3.1 times the 1999 figure. This translates into US$39,000 of GDP per capita in 2008 – one of the highest in Asia. As of the end of 2008, the MSAR’s foreign reserves had reached 127.2 billion patacas.

Macao’s small-scale economy is characterised by its openness and flexibility and enjoys a unique position in the regional economy. It used to be largely dependent on export trade, but the services sector is playing an increasingly bigger role as the processing industry tries to adapt itself to changing times.

Macao is one of two international free ports in China. Goods, capital, foreign exchange and people flow freely in and out of Macao. Since the establishment of the MSAR Government, economic policy in Macao has focused primarily on protecting and streamlining its free market economic system. It has cultivated a world-recognised, free and open, fair and orderly market environment.

In April 2007, the World Trade Organization (WTO) released a trade policy review of Macao, a study that takes place every six years. The report recognised Macao’s economic achievements over the past six years and its optimistic prospects for future development, and reaffirmed the openness of its economy. This is the MSAR’s second WTO trade policy review since the previous one in 2001.

According to the 2009 Index of Economic Freedom released in January by the US-based Heritage Foundation, Macao was ranked sixth in the Asia Pacific region for the first time and ranked number 21 among 179 economies globally.

Capitalising on its unique advantages, the MSAR strives to strengthen economic cooperation and develop into an international trade services platform for the region. It aims to give full play to its longstanding ties with the Asia Pacific region, the European Union, Romance language-speaking countries and especially Portuguese-speaking countries, thereby cementing its role as the bridge between mainland China and these economies.


The Gaming Industry

Gaming industry has a long history in Macao and it was first legalised in mid 19th century. Entering the 21st century, the gaming industry has developed a very close relation with the tourism industry and become a pillar of Macao's economy.

In 2002, the MSAR Government liberalised the gaming industry, bringing new momentum to Macao’s gaming sector and the entire economy. Through appropriate competition and modern operating and management models, the Government also expected the new arrangements to create more job opportunities. Before the Handover, the gaming industry’s maximum annual gross revenue was 17.78 billion patacas (US$2.22 billion). In 2008, the industry’s total gross revenue increased to 109.83 billion patacas (US$13.73 billion), ranking No. 1 in the world. The sector contributed 41.9 billion patacas (US$5.24 billion) in direct tax, representing 73 percent of Macao’s total public finances that year. From January to October 2009, the gaming industry’s gross revenue totalled 96.62 billion patacas (US$12.08 billion).


Exports - commodities:

clothing, textiles, footwear, cement, machines, and parts


Imports - commodities:

clothing, textiles, yarn, foodstuffs, fuel, automobiles, capital goods


Exchange rates:
The currency of Macau is the pataca (MOP), which is divided into 100 avos. There are about 8 patacas to the US dollar.


map of Macau

Useful links:





  Copyright By :  Kish Trade Promotion Center  2002