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Macau Historical and Political Profile

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Macau Index

  • Macau-ECONOMY
  • Macau-SOCIETY
  • Macau-MACAU
  • BackgroundColonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal on 13 April 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China on 20 December 1999. In this agreement, China promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system would not be practiced in Macau, and that Macau would enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.
    LocationEastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China
    Area(sq km)total: 28.2 sq km
    land: 28.2 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    Geographic coordinates22 10 N, 113 33 E
    Land boundaries(km)total: 0.34 km
    regional border: China 0.34 km

    Coastline(km)41 km

    Climatesubtropical; marine with cool winters, warm summers

    Elevation extremes(m)lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
    highest point: Coloane Alto 172 m
    Natural resourcesNEGL
    Land use(%)arable land: 0%
    permanent crops: 0%
    other: 100% (2005)

    Irrigated land(sq km)NA
    Natural hazardstyphoons
    Environment - current issuesNA
    Environment - international agreementsparty to: Marine Dumping (associate member), Ship Pollution (associate member)
    Geography - noteessentially urban; an area of land reclaimed from the sea measuring 5.2 sq km and known as Cotai now connects the islands of Coloane and Taipa; the island area is connected to the mainland peninsula by three bridges
    Population559,846 (July 2009 est.)
    Age structure(%)0-14 years: 16.1% (male 47,853/female 42,019)
    15-64 years: 76.2% (male 199,593/female 227,010)
    65 years and over: 7.7% (male 20,245/female 23,126) (2009 est.)
    Median age(years)total: 35.2 years
    male: 35.9 years
    female: 34.6 years (2009 est.)
    Population growth rate(%)1.995% (2009 est.)
    Birth rate(births/1,000 population)8.88 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Death rate(deaths/1,000 population)3.5 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

    Net migration rate(migrant(s)/1,000 population)14.56 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
    Urbanization(%)urban population: 100% of total population (2008)
    rate of urbanization: 0.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
    Sex ratio(male(s)/female)at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    under 15 years: 1.14 male(s)/female
    15-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
    Infant mortality rate(deaths/1,000 live births)total: 3.22 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 3.37 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 3.05 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth(years)total population: 84.36 years
    male: 81.39 years
    female: 87.47 years (2009 est.)

    Total fertility rate(children born/woman)0.91 children born/woman (2009 est.)
    Nationalitynoun: Chinese
    adjective: Chinese
    Ethnic groups(%)Chinese 94.3%, other 5.7% (includes Macanese - mixed Portuguese and Asian ancestry) (2006 census)

    Religions(%)Buddhist 50%, Roman Catholic 15%, none or other 35% (1997 est.)
    Languages(%)Cantonese 85.7%, Hokkien 4%, Mandarin 3.2%, other Chinese dialects 2.7%, English 1.5%, Tagalog 1.3%, other 1.6% (2001 census)

    Country nameconventional long form: Macau Special Administrative Region
    conventional short form: Macau
    local long form: Aomen Tebie Xingzhengqu (Chinese); Regiao Administrativa Especial de Macau (Portuguese)
    local short form: Aomen (Chinese); Macau (Portuguese)
    Government typelimited democracy
    Administrative divisionsnone (special administrative region of the People's Republic of China)
    ConstitutionBasic Law, approved on 31 March 1993 by China's National People's Congress, is Macau's "mini-constitution"

    Legal systembased on Portuguese civil law system

    Suffragedirect election 18 years of age for some non-executive positions, universal for permanent residents living in Macau for the past seven years; indirect election limited to organizations registered as "corporate voters" (257 are currently registered) and a 300-member Election Committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organizations, and central government bodies
    Executive branchchief of state: President of China HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003)
    head of government: Chief Executive Fernando CHUI Sai-on (since 20 December 2009)
    cabinet: Executive Council consists of 1 government secretary, 3 legislators, 4 businessmen, 1 pro-Beijing unionist, and 1 pro-Beijing educator
    elections: chief executive chosen by a 300-member Election Committee for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 26 July 2009 (next to be held on in July 2014)
    election results: Edmund HO Hau-wah reelected with 296 votes in 2004 election; Fernando CHUI Sai-on elected in 2009 with 282 votes, takes office on 20 December 2009

    Legislative branchunicameral Legislative Assembly (29 seats; 12 members elected by popular vote, 10 by indirect vote, and 7 appointed by the chief executive; serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held 25 September 2005 (next to be held on 20 September 2009)
    election results: percent of vote - New Democratic Macau Association 18.8%, Macau United Citizens' Association 16.6%, Union for Development 13.3%, Union for Promoting Progress 9.6%, Macau Development Alliance 9.3%, others 32.4%; seats by political group - New Democratic Macau Association 2, Macau United Citizens' Association 2, Union for Development 2, Union for Promoting Progress 2, Macau Development Alliance 1, New Hope 1, Convergence for Development 1, General Union for the Good of Macau 1; 10 seats filled by professional and business groups; seven members appointed by chief executive

    Judicial branchCourt of Final Appeal in Macau Special Administrative Region

    Political pressure groups and leadersCivic Power [Agnes LAM Lok-fong]; Macau Society of Tourism and Entertainment or STDM [Stanley HO]; Macau Worker's Union [HO Heng-kuok]; Union for Democracy Development [Antonio NG Kuok-cheong]
    International organization participationIHO, IMF, IMO (associate), ISO (correspondent), UNESCO (associate), UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCO, WFTU, WMO, WTO
    Flag descriptionlight green with a lotus flower above a stylized bridge and water in white, beneath an arc of five gold, five-pointed stars: one large in the center of the arc and two smaller on either side; the lotus is the floral emblem of Macau, the three petals represent the peninsula and two islands that make up Macau; the five stars echo those on the flag of China

    Economy - overviewMacau's economy has enjoyed strong growth in recent years on the back of its expanding tourism and gaming sectors. After opening up its locally-controlled casino industry to foreign competition in 2001, the territory attracted tens of billions of dollars in foreign investment, transforming Macao into the world's largest gaming center. By 2006, Macau's gaming revenue surpassed that of the Las Vegas strip, and gaming-related taxes accounted for 75% of total government revenue. In 2008, government revenue from gaming was set to double 2006 collections. The expanding casino sector, and China's decision beginning in 2002 to relax travel restrictions, reenergized Macau's tourism industry. This city of just over 500,000 hosted more than 30 million visitors in 2008. Almost 60% came from mainland China despite increasing restrictions on travel to the SAR. Macau's traditional manufacturing industry has been in a slow decline since the termination of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in 2005. In 2008, exports of textiles and garments generated only $1.1 billion, compared to $13.7 billion in gross gaming receipts. The Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Macau and mainland China that came into effect on 1 January 2004 offers many Macau-made products tariff-free access to the mainland. Macau's currency, the Pataca, is closely tied to the Hong Kong dollar, which is also freely accepted in the territory.
    GDP (purchasing power parity)$18.14 billion (2008 est.)
    $12.5 billion (2006)
    note: data are in 2008 US dollars
    GDP (official exchange rate)$22.04 billion (2008 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate(%)15% (2008)
    16.6% (2006)
    GDP - per capita (PPP)$30,000 (2007)
    $28,400 (2006)
    GDP - composition by sector(%)agriculture: 0.1%
    industry: 2.8%
    services: 97.1% (2007 est.)
    Labor force337,400 (2008 est.)

    Labor force - by occupation(%)manufacturing 7.4%, construction 12.6%, transport and communications 5%, wholesale and retail trade 12.5%, restaurants and hotels 12.7%, gambling 14%, public sector 6%, financial services 2.1%, other services and agriculture 27.7% (2008 est.)
    Unemployment rate(%)3% (2008)
    3.1% (2006)
    Population below poverty line(%)NA%
    Household income or consumption by percentage share(%)lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    Budgetrevenues: $6.2 billion
    expenditures: $2.9 billion (2008)
    Inflation rate (consumer prices)(%)6.2% (December 2008)
    7.2% (2006)

    Stock of money$1.591 billion (31 December 2008)
    $1.16 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of quasi money$22.15 billion (31 December 2008)
    $21.91 billion (31 December 2007)
    Stock of domestic credit$11.5 billion (31 December 2008)
    $NA (31 December 2007)
    Market value of publicly traded shares$2.3 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
    $NA (31 December 2007)
    $413.1 million (2004 est.)
    Economic aid - recipient$13.7 million (2004)

    Agriculture - productsonly 2% of land area is cultivated, mainly by vegetable growers; fishing, mostly for crustaceans, is important; some of the catch is exported to Hong Kong
    Industriestourism, gambling, clothing, textiles, electronics, footwear, toys

    Industrial production growth rate(%)NA

    Exports$2 billion (2008 est.)
    $2.557 billion (2006 est.); note - includes reexports

    Exports - commodities(%)clothing, textiles, footwear, toys, electronics, machinery and parts
    Exports - partners(%)US 39.9%, Hong Kong 19.7%, China 12.3%, Germany 4% (2008)
    Imports$5.4 billion (2008 est.)
    $4.559 billion (2006 est.)

    Imports - commodities(%)raw materials and semi-manufactured goods, consumer goods (foodstuffs, beverages, tobacco), capital goods, mineral fuels and oils
    Imports - partners(%)China 39.3%, Hong Kong 10.1%, Japan 8.5%, US 5.5%, France 5.3%, Switzerland 4.7% (2008)

    Debt - external$0 (2006)

    Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$7.9 billion (2007)
    $6.5 billion (2006)
    Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$1.9 billion (2007)
    $1.1 billion (2006)
    Exchange ratespatacas (MOP) per US dollar - 8.011 (2007), 8.0015 (2006), 8.011 (2005), 8.022 (2004), 8.021 (2003)

    Currency (code)pataca (MOP)

    Telephones - main lines in use173,533 (2009)
    Telephones - mobile cellular993,545 (2009)
    Telephone systemgeneral assessment: fairly modern communication facilities maintained for domestic and international services
    domestic: termination of monopoly over mobile-cellular telephone services in 2001 spurred sharp increase in subscriptions with mobile-cellular teledensity approaching 180 per 100 persons in 2008; fixed-line subscribership appears to have peaked and is now in decline
    international: country code - 853; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 submarine cable network that provides links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; HF radiotelephone communication facility; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2009)
    Internet country code.mo
    Internet users259,000 (2008)
    Airports1 (2009)
    Roadways(km)total: 404 km
    paved: 404 km (2008)

    Ports and terminalsMacau
    Military branchesno regular military forces; defense is the responsibility of China (2009)
    Manpower available for military servicemales age 16-49: 121,825 (2008 est.)
    Manpower fit for military servicemales age 16-49: 122,962
    females age 16-49: 148,809 (2009 est.)
    Manpower reaching militarily significant age annuallymale: 4,578
    female: 4,052 (2009 est.)
    Military - notedefense is the responsibility of China
    Disputes - internationalnone

    Electricity - production(kWh)1.106 billion kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - production by source(%)fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (2001)
    Electricity - consumption(kWh)3.311 billion kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - exports(kWh)0 kWh (2008 est.)
    Electricity - imports(kWh)2.215 billion kWh (2008 est.)
    Oil - production(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - consumption(bbl/day)16,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - exports(bbl/day)0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
    Oil - imports(bbl/day)5,027 bbl/day (2008 est.)
    Oil - proved reserves(bbl)0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
    Natural gas - production(cu m)0 cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - consumption(cu m)81.6 million cu m (2008 est.)
    Natural gas - exports(cu m)0 cu m (2008)
    Natural gas - proved reserves(cu m)300,000 cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate(%)NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDSNA
    HIV/AIDS - deathsNA
    Literacy(%)definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 91.3%
    male: 95.3%
    female: 87.8% (2001 census)

    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)(years)total: 15 years
    male: 16 years
    female: 14 years (2006)
    Education expenditures(% of GDP)2.4% of GDP (2005)

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