|Macau's economy is based largely on tourism, including gambling, and
textile and fireworks manufacturing. Efforts to diversify have spawned
other small industries, such as toys, artificial flowers, and electronics.
The clothing industry has provided about three-fourths of export earnings,
and the gambling industry is estimated to contribute more than 40% of GDP.
More than 8 million tourists visited Macau in 2000. Although the recent
growth in gambling and tourism has been driven primarily by mainland
Chinese, tourists from Hong Kong remain the most numerous. Recently, gang
violence, a dark spot in the economy, has declined somewhat, to the
benefit the tourism sector.
Macau depends on China for most of its food, fresh water, and energy imports. Japan and Hong Kong are the main suppliers of raw materials and capital goods. Output dropped 5% in 1998 and 3% in 1999, with a small 2% gain in 2000.
Over the longer term, the relocation of manufacturing operations from Macau to the neighboring Chinese province of Guangdong will extend to textiles and garment production as China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) gives the mainland increased direct access to international markets. Mainland competition, along with the phasing out of Multi-Fiber Arrangement (MFA) quotas, which provide a near guarantee of export markets, over the next few years, will eventually spell the end of Macau's low-end mass production of textiles, which comprise the bulk of the SAR's merchandise export earnings. The best opportunities may lie in providing services--shipping, finance, legal--to facilitate mainland exports through Macau to the rest of the world, and conversely inflows of goods and investment to the mainland. Tourism, building on current gambling tourism, also will be an important area of potential economic growth and foreign-exchange earnings.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $7.82 billion
SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State
Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Macau > Map Economy History