Evolution of Macau's economy and its export-oriented industries

Victor F S Sit

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Attempts to fill gaps of information by piecing relevant facts together for a more complete, though largely descriptive, presentation of the modern export-oriented industrialization of Macau. First, I trace the evolution of the Macau economy, then the industrialization process in 1958-1986, and finally I discuss the major dynamics and characteristics of the process. In the presentation, developments in Macau have often been compared to those of Hong Kong. Available data show that the GDP of Macau in 1986 was about 1 billion US dollars, compared to Hong Kong's 37.9 billion US dollars for the same year. The success of Macau's industrialization lies very much with its complementary role to Hong Kong derived from its geopolitical situation and close proximity to it. Therefore, on one hand, Macau industries share, to a large extent, the characteristics of Hong Kong industries, being labour-intensive, highly concentrated in textiles, garment and plastic goods, and small-scale in operation. On the other hand, dependence on Hong Kong has led to obvious defects in the Macau system such as insufficient demand for skill training, lack of innovativeness, inadequate development of supporting industries and a general short term view on future prospects. Like Hong Kong, Macau has entered into a political transitional period. The Portuguese will return the administration of Macau to the local people in 1999 under an agreement with China signed in 1987. In the conclusion of the paper, the possible change in Macau's manufacturing arising from such change in political status will also be briefly discussed. -from Author

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-88
Number of pages26
JournalCopenhagen Papers in East & Southeast Asian Studies
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 1991

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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