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Macao should boost communication with Europe

By He Dan in Macao | | Updated: 2013-01-29 19:55

Macao, known for its gambling industry, should act as a bridge to promote China's communication with Europe and Portuguese-speaking countries by training more language talent and creating a more inclusive system, experts said.

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the landing of Portuguese navigators in Macao, said Yu Shuo, director of the China-Europa Center at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, adding that the coastal region was the only place for Imperial China to communicate with the outside world for about 300 years until the British started their colonization of Hong Kong.

"Macao has proved the possibility of cross-cultural communication with its intercultural marriages, fusion cuisine, architecture and lifestyle," she said. "Its unique advantage lies in its role as a platform to connect China with the outside world," Yu told China Daily on the sidelines of the first Macao Sino-Europe Debate, which was jointly held by the Macao Foundation and the China-Europa Forum.

The two-day forum, held from Jan 21 to 22, discussed topics including the role of Macao in China's multilateral relations, the eurozone crisis and China's social transition.

"It's a pity that the outside world often holds a negative view of Macao. Many foreigners view Macao as a city of gambling, not a city of culture," said Ngai Meicheong, president of the executive board of the Macao Association for the Promotion of Exchange between Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

Recent years have seen rapidly growing trade ties among China and Portuguese-speaking countries, which also gives Macao a good opportunity to resume its role as a communication platform and perfect its own image, Ngai said.

The trade volume between eight Portuguese-speaking countries and China in the first 11 months of 2012 reached $117.7 billion, a rise of 9.7 percent year-on-year.

"We have seen more Portuguese businessmen coming to Macao to look for business opportunities on the Chinese mainland," he said. "China has also become the biggest trade partner for Brazil and the economic relations between China and other Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Angola, are also growing quickly," he added.

China's expanded trade ties with Portuguese-speaking countries require a large number of bilingual talent, he stressed.

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