Macau | Local businesses need more funding for Greater Bay Area -expert

The Macau SAR Government is slowly getting on track developing programmes and funding for entrepreneurs to start businesses particularly targeting the Greater Bay Area, Professor Matthew Liu Ting Chi told Macau News Agency (MNA)

Macau (MNA) – The Macau SAR Government is slowly getting on track developing programmes and funding for entrepreneurs to start businesses particularly targeting the Greater Bay Area, Professor Matthew Liu Ting Chi told Macau News Agency (MNA).

Liu, who conducted a study on the Macao entrepreneurship index research, believes that the amount of grants disbursed in Macau of some MOP500,000 (US$61,878) is good enough to run a small service business for two years but insufficient to scale businesses to reach into the Greater Bay Area planned in Guangdong.

“Macau also gives a huge amount of money to support certain types of industry such as the high-tech industry in Macau,” Liu explained, adding, however, that Macau’s challenges in finding suitable talent places many local business owners out of reach of such industries.

Shenzhen, in particular, is well known for such industries while Macau is better known for gambling and tourism.

Another issue is a manpower squeeze limited by Macau’s resources of some 600,000 people, most of whom do not have the prerequisite skills to enter high technology industries that could attract venture capitalist money.

“Even if we have the money we have a very limited amount of qualified applicants.”

In his study, Liu found that some 61 per cent of entrepreneurs were interested in the Greater Bay Area and expanding into Guangdong, although most lacked confidence and sufficient capital to scale their businesses.

However, there is an alternative resource – the central government of China.

Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China, addressed the development of the area in the 19th Communist Party Congress, saying that the central government will ‘give priority’ to the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, formulating policies to allow interested parties from Hong Kong and Macau to develop careers on the Mainland.

Liu believes that this proclamation means that more efforts will go towards developing the high technology sector of Macau which has previously been lacking.

However, limitations such as cultural differences should be addressed by business owners – for example, in China, online promotions cannot make use of YouTube and Facebook, as is normal in Macau, which means any interested business owners should take note of WeChat and Sina Weibo instead.

Taking advantage

Although opportunities continue to lie across the Mainland, there are several special advantages that Macau can use if it “positions itself” according to the professor.

First of all, Macau is known for its prestigious position as a gambling hub in the Greater Bay Area, as well as enjoying lower tarriffs on European goods, thanks to its status as a former Portuguese colony.

Secondly, unlike countries in the European Union, its proximity to China and its status as the only territory that holds a gambling licence means that Macau can position itself as an intermediary between these different regions.

To date, recent initiatives have been placed in order to attract investment from the European Union to the Greater Bay Area.

On June 20, a delegation from Macau, Guangdong and Hong Kong convened in Paris to meet with over 400 French government and business community members to attract investment, for which Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) President Jackson Chan acted as a local representative.