Business convention expansion to diversify Macao's economy

17:12, May 25, 2011      

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George Koo (middle), special advisor of the Department of Chinese Business at Deloitte and former vice-chairman of the American "Committee of 100" and Katie Chan (right), chair of the Katie Chan Foundation (People's Daily Online/ Jia Zhencheng)

As one of the speakers at the international symposium "Financial Security: China and the World," which opened on May 20 in Beijing, George Koo, special advisor of the Department of Chinese Business at Deloitte and former vice-chairman of the American "Committee of 100," analyzed the differences of Singapore and Macao's economy based on the data of a study completed recently by University of Macao and gave some suggestions for Macao to develop a healthy and diversified economy.

During an exclusive interview with People's Daily Online, George talked freely about the prospects of expanding convention business to diversify Macao's economy.

George noted that the per capita GDP of Macao and Singapore are similar, and both rank in the top 25 economies of the world. In terms of population, Macao has less than 600,000, which is much smaller than Singapore.

In terms of space, Macao is very small, about one-twenty-fourth the size of Singapore and therefore it's not surprising that the population density of Macao is far away No. 1 in the world. Singapore borders Malaysia, a country with a population of less than 30 million.

Macao on the other hand has the huge population of China as well as Hong Kong as its neighbors. Around 85 percent of all the visitors to Macao come from the mainland and Hong Kong. Less than 10 percent of all the visitors come by air directly. (Some may have arrived by air to the Hong Kong International Airport and then transferred over to Macao.) Mainland China and Hong Kong only account for around 13% of tourists to Singapore, and around 75 percent of all the tourists to Singapore come by air.

George shared his notion that the most logical way to diversify Macao's economy based on its comparative advantages is to greatly expand the convention and exhibition business. According to the report completed by the University of Macao, the SAR government should launch an initiative to make establish Macao as a brand in the global market and increase world awareness of the desirability of Macao as a destination.

Taking advantage of the existing CEPA (closer economic partnership agreement) with Beijing, the SAR should work to secure some high-profile international summits, such as APEC or summits similar to the Boao Forum, to be held in Macao and help establish the Macao brand. The Macao government should also establish rules and regulations that would facilitate the movement of people and goods from anywhere in the world into and out of conventions and exhibitions held in Macao.

By People's Daily Online

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