20 Years of Macao SAR

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of Macao Special Administrative Region's (Macao SAR) reunification with the motherland. Under China's "One Country, Two Systems" policy, Macao SAR has experienced great transformation, undergoing substantial improvements in its economy, education system and residents' livelihoods.

Macao is best known for its gaming sector. But as the Macao SAR government pursues diversification in its economic structure, the city aims to develop into a world-class tourism and leisure destination as well as a leading technology incubator.

Let's take a walk and explore Macao!

Economic take-off

Macao's economy has expanded significantly over the past 20 years. GDP in 2018 was seven times more than two decades earlier. Per capita GDP of 83,425 U.S. dollars at current prices ranks second globally, and is about 5.5 times as high as in 1999.

The city is predicted to overtake Qatar as the country or region with the highest per capita GDP by 2020.

World's largest gaming hub

The economic growth of Macao is inseparable from the development of its gaming industry.

Macao opened its gaming market to overseas investors in 2002 and became the only Chinese city where gambling is legal. Four years later, the city surpassed Las Vegas as the world's largest-earning gaming center.

Tourism—A hidden gem

Macao’s increasingly bright tourism industry is a hidden gem.

Thanks to its unique history, Macao enjoys a rich diversity of architecture, particularly older buildings merging Chinese and Western styles. This unusual blend is a major attraction as Macao develops its tourism sector.

In 2005, the Historic Centre of Macao was put on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

City of museums

Macao is a city full of charm and character, presenting a harmonious coexistence of Chinese and Western cultures.

There are over 20 museums, displaying the city's cultural diversity and covering various fields through ancient to modern times.

Providing a wide range of perspectives, these museums guide visitors to dive deep into Macao's 400-year rich history.

A livable city

With a population of over 650,000 and a land area of just over 30 square kilometers, Macao is one of the most densely populated places in the world.

Constructing a livable city is a shared vision of the Macao SAR government and residents.

Education for all

Education is an emphasis of the Macao SAR government's Policy Address every fiscal year.

Since the 2007/2008 academic year, free education has been extended from 10 years to cover the entire 15-year period of compulsory education.

Despite Macao's small land area the city houses 10 higher education institutions, of which four are public and six private.

Macao Public Library

The Macao Public Library system, which is made up of 17 libraries, was established in 2016. Over 2.89 million library visits were made in 2018 alone.

The libraries are also great places for leisure and study, and offer a range of activities to the public including but not limited to parent-child book reading, skills training and concerts.

Green spaces

Given the city’s scarce natural resources, the Macao SAR government and residents are meticulous in their care of the ecological environment.

Macao has small urban gardens with fountains and sculptures as well as lush forest with dense foliage and lengthy walking paths, providing natural habitats for a variety of fish, mammals, insects and birds.

Afforested areas have increased by nearly 30 percent since 1999, from 5,461,495 square meters then to 7,080,138 square meters in 2018.

The future Macao

The gaming industry's contribution to Macao's economy has been substantial, but the government has recognized the potential risks of a sector dominating growth and taken measures to pursue diversification.

A planned shift away from gaming will see tourism as well as science and technology becoming Macao's new growth engines.

A creative and cultural hub

In an effort to diversify the economy, the Macao SAR government has been working on transforming the city into a World Tourism and Leisure Center for the past decade.

The government has launched a series of subsidies (Subsidy Program Series for Macao's Cultural and Creative Industries) and supported initiatives since 2013 to implement its policies in promoting the cultural and creative industries.

The sector has boomed in recent years, with a total of 2,246 organizations operating in the core domains in 2018, an increase of 155 percent year-on-year.

Incubator for groundbreaking technology

Macao is famous for its casino chips, but may soon be as well known for its electronics chips.

With the support of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Macao SAR government has set up four state-level laboratories since 2010 focusing on micro-electronics, Chinese medicine, smart cities and the Internet of Things, as well as planetary science.

The Greater Bay Area

The Greater Bay Area (GBA) aims to build a dynamic economic region of a cluster of cities that complement each other in people, capital, goods and information.

The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge marks infrastructure strides of the GBA and speeds up the regional development.

Being in the "one-hour living circle", Macao is set to better integrate into future regional development.


1.Statistics and Census Service of Government of Macao Special Administrative Region. 2.Public Library of Macao. 3.Cultural Affairs Bureau of Government of Macao Special Administrative Region. 4.Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Macao S.A.R. 5.Education and Youth Affairs Bureau of Government of Macao Special Administrative Regio. 6.World Bank. 7.IMF

Map source

Cartography and Cadastre Bureau of Macao Special Administrative Region Government, latest updates on June, 2017.


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