Macau plans to diversify away from gambling

By Ethan Anderson Updated
Macau junket tax revenue tipped to slide again

A plan has been agreed to diversify the economy in Macau.

Inside Asian Gaming reports that Macau and Guangdong will jointly govern Hengqin under a plan to diversify the gambling city’s economy.

The two governments will jointly govern the 106 square kilometres of land comprising Hengqin as part of a plan to deepen cooperation to facilitate economic diversification.

According to details of the Master Plan of the Development of the Guangdong-Macau Intensive Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, released on September 6, a joint management committee will be formed and headed by the Governor of Guangdong Province and the Chief Executive of Macau.

Four main areas will be the focus of new cooperative agreement

An executive committee will be set up under the management committee and the SAR government will appoint the principal officers for the executive committee.

The strategic positioning of the cooperation zone is a new platform for facilitating the moderate economic diversification in Macau, a new space for Macaur residents to live and work, a new enriched showcase for implementing “One country, Two Systems” and a new highland for promoting development of the Greater Bay Area.

Setting a series of development goals, Hengqin is expected to help build a smooth mechanism of mutual discussion, joint construction, joint administration and shared benefits between Guangdong and Macau by 2024.

The zone is hoped to highly synergise with Macau’s economy and comprehensively establish a system for in-depth cohesion and regulations, which highly matches Macau, by 2029.

By 2035, the economic strength and technological competitiveness of the Cooperation Zone will be greatly enhanced, and the goal of promoting moderate economic diversification will be reached.

The idea, it seems, is to diversify Macau away from its current reliance on gaming, which currently contributes more than 85 per cent of all tax revenue taken in by the government each year.

This also fits in with China’s recent crackdown on cross-border gambling and those seen to be encouraging Chinese citizens to gamble.

Mutual benefits for both Macau and Guangdong

The Hengqin cooperation zone will mainly focus on developing four new industrial sectors.

They are scientific and technological research and high-end manufacturing industry, traditional Chinese medicine and Macau brand industry, cultural tourism, convention and exhibition and commercial and trade industry and modern financial services industry.

The cultural, tourism and MICE industries sector will develop leisure and vacation, MICe and sport event tourism, recreation and wellness, rehabilitation and medical tourism.

It will also establish a China and Portuguese speaking International Trade Centre and an internal hub port for digital trade.

The cooperation zone will provide tax relief for international elites, simplify the customs declaration procedures for goods, set up a new cross-border financial management system for capital flows and ease the limitation of investment capital.

The progress of “Macau New Neighbourhood” residential projects, which provides hundreds of residential premises for Macau residents in Hengqin, will be accelerated and Hengqin will build up educational, medical and social services to match the public welfare systems in Macau.

Macau’s vehicles will be fully allowed to enter the cooperation zone in Hengqin and Macau’s Light Rail will be extended to Hengqin and connected with the railway network in Zhuhai.

Macau’s Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, is due to provide more detail about the cooperation zone project in the coming days.

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