Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Macao's 15 years of examplary progress

By Wang Lei (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-19 07:28

Dec 20, 2014 marks the 15th anniversary of the Macao Special Administrative Region's return to the motherland. In the past 15 years, Macao has achieved great success in the political, economic, social and cultural fields. One of the main reasons Macao could achieve these is that it adheres to the "One Country, Two Systems" policy and acts in accordance with the Basic Law, which guarantees the SAR's prosperity and stability.

From 2000 to 2013, Macao's average economic growth in real terms was 13 percent. In 2013, Macao's GDP was 413.47 billion Macao patacas ($51.76 billion), and the average monthly salary, 12,000 patacas. Over the past decade and half, Macao has explored a development path in line with its actual condition, which is marked by several development characteristics.

First, Macao's development path has a clear goal. In 2001, Macao advanced its development direction, that its development will be led by the tourism and lottery industries, based on the service industry, and coordinated development of other industries will be promoted. China's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) and 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) also promoted moderate and multiple development of Macao's economy.

The major goal of Macao's development is to establish an international tourism and leisure hub and build a service platform for economic and trade cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries. Six industries - lottery, retail, catering, hotel, passenger-transport and travel - closely related to tourism have developed rapidly.

Second, Macao's government focuses on local people's livelihood and welfare. Macao residents' deposit rose from 84.28 billion patacas in 1999 to 432.43 billion patacas in 2013. According to household income surveys, conducted every five year, in 2012 Macao's average household income was 41,000 patacas, which is almost three times of that in 1998. The number of low-income households has decreased, and the Gini coefficient fell from 0.43 in 1998 to 0.35 in 2012. This means Macao residents' income gap has reduced to a relatively reasonable level.

Macao's social security system consists of two parts: social security funds and social aid. Social security funds include old-age pensions, invalidity pensions, unemployment allowance and funeral payment. Social aid includes economic aid, emergency aid and special aid for disadvantage groups. Macao has established a 15-year free education system, and its old-age pension has increased from 1,150 patacas to 3,180 patacas.

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