Special Report – Diversification now or never

No more studies and experiments

During a Legislative Assembly session that took place in March, several legislators spoke of the need to diversify the economy.

MB June 2020 Special Report | Diversification now or never 

There were those who asked for more investment in traditional industries, some pointed to the need to organize more sports and cultural events, while others suggested that casino concessionaires should bear the responsibility of revitalizing a given district or area or even creating an industry for the production of gaming cards and slot machines.

For almost 15 years, Beijing has been urging Macau to diversify its economy, but this has yet to come into fruition. One after another each member comes to parliament and leaves a suggestion so different and opposed to the previous one that its sounds like a completely out-of-synch orchestra.

There is a time to discuss and a period to move forward.

Almost15 years is more than enough to deliver results.

Hence, Ho Iat Seng’s words in his maiden Policy Address could not have been more radical and clear as MICE and creative and cultural industries together account for less than one per cent of the SAR’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The excessive and prolonged dependence on the gambling and tourism sector, and if the monolithic nature of the industrial structure remains unchanged, will hinder the sustainable development of the Macau economy,” a Chief Executive statement that will be remembered many years from now.

This, and much more, is what we promise in this special report, making use of the best pundits that Macau has at its disposal.

Once and for all: is Hengqin the way forward? Let us then follow this path swiftly and in force!

Co-ordinated by João Paulo Meneses

[email protected]

Doctor, doctor, give me the news

It is a diagnosis made by scholars from around the world: the economic diversification of Macau is a very difficult task. The Chief Executive’s speech was clear and unequivocal. 

Gambling: problem and solution

Macau would not be what it is without gambling. But at the same time, gambling seems to dry everything around it. How to square the circle?

No land, no manpower, no infrastructure

Any attempt to diversify the economy is conditioned by the lack of land, qualified staff and infrastructure. The diagnosis is made but few want to see it. 

“Moderate” or “adequate”

It may just be a matter of synonyms, but we had to understand what’s really in it  

“Las Vegas does not fit Macau”

The time when Las Vegas was the model is long gone. There are good things in Nevada casinos, but many other things simply don’t work here. 

The Chinese ear tug

China ‘asks’ for more diversification and less reliance on gambling, and Macau responds with the results achieved. Beijing insists, a sign that it is not satisfied. Is Ho Iat Seng the solution? 

Will non-gaming ever make any money

It is one of the dilemmas to be solved in the Macau economy: non-gaming is the solution to diversification or just help, although it costs a lot of money. 

Hengqin is the way

The Hengqin Project was first brought to the table in January 2009 by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is convinced that the development of Hengqin Island will provide new areas for development and diversification within Macau’s economy. Ten years later, the Chief Executive says there is no doubt, it is necessary to reach the bridge to diversify the economy. 

New ideas? Online gaming

A stock exchange? A financial centre? Traditional Chinese Medicine? Creative industries? Ho Iat Seng said what he thinks about the ’emerging industries’ and he has not revisited the ideas associated with Xi Jinping’s last visit. However, it left the door open to ground-breaking news.