Macao to integrate closer to GBA, eyeing better economic structure
Published: Nov 16, 2021 08:13 PM
Macao Photo:VCG

Macao Photo:VCG


The Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) released its development plan for 2022 on Tuesday, focusing on pandemic prevention and control so as to achieve steady economic recovery, industrial diversification and better integrate Macao into regional cooperation framework of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) blueprint.

One of the main tasks of the SAR in 2022 will be to implement the overall plan for the construction of the Guangdong-Macao in-depth cooperation zone in Hengqin in South China's Guangdong Province, said Ho Iat Seng, chief executive of the Macao SAR during the policy address for fiscal year 2022. 

In the first year of China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), the Macao SAR has taken the initiative to align itself with the country's major development policies. The construction of the GBA is full of vigor and vitality, bringing growing opportunities for Macao, analysts said.

The industrial structure of Macao will improve in tandem with the development of the GBA. Diversified economic development is indispensable for Macao to maintain long-term prosperity and growth, Wang Peng, an assistant professor at the Gaoling School of Artificial Intelligence at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"The area of the Macao SAR is limited, so Hengqin will serve as a spatial extension of Macao, allowing more industries to settle there," said Wang.

China's plan for Guangdong-Macao in-depth cooperation zone in Hengqin has given full support to the development of four main industries in Macao - scientific and technological research and development and high-end manufacturing; Macao's traditional industries like traditional Chinese medicine; culture, tourism, exhibition and trade, and modern finance industry, according to a policy outline published in September.

Some high-technology and financial enterprises have invested in or made plans to enter Hengqin, said Ho.

The central government has called on Macao to diversify its industrial structure during the 11th Five-Year Plan period (2006-10) and Macao made some efforts. But in 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 again exposed the problems of a single industrial structure -- over-dependence on the gaming and tourism.

The aggregate gaming revenue in Macao in 2020 dropped 79.3 percent year-on-year and its GDP contracted 56.3 percent, according to statistics from the Statistics and Census Service of Macao.

In the short and medium term, integrated tourism will still be an important pillar of Macao's economy, and promoting gradual recovery of tourism is the key to promoting the region's overall economic recovery, according to Ho.

"In 2022, with the increase of the COVID-19 vaccination rate and the continuous improvement of virus prevention, it is expected that travel restrictions will be lifted in an orderly manner, which will lead to stabilizing  employment and prices," Ho said.