China’s President Xi Jinping has arrived in Macau, as the region’s representative to join the organized celebrations in remembering when the island was returned to the Chinese people from Portugal. This happened two decades ago. And despite the unrest that has being going on in Honk Kong, which is the only other SAR, the celebrations were scheduled to take place thought with heavy security machinery in place.
According to both the gaming and political analysts, several things are expected from the visit of the president. Other than celebrating Macau’s so called liberty, the visit is expected to encourage Honk Kong to follow its footsteps in being a loyal and stable friend of China, while at the same time fasten business in the region.
He is also expected to mention plans in place to diversify the economy of Macau, which is highly dependent on gaming. One of the plans is that of the proposed stock exchange in Macau which will be yuan-denominated.
This is expected to transform the island into a financial center. On arrival at the Macau International Airport, Xi made a statement saying that he is proud of Macau and what it has been able to achieve so far including implementation of its one country, two systems slogan.
Macau is expected to changed leadership on December 20, as the tenure of the current leader expire. Ho lat Seng will be taking over.
Macau came to be during the Ming Dynasty after its establishment by the Portuguese. For 442 years it was under the rule of the Portuguese until December 19, 1999, when ownership of the island was transferred to China.
This marked the beginning of a legendary gaming industry. Until 2002, the gaming industry in Macau was under the monopoly of a Honk Kong billionaire. The government than decided to allow other gaming giants to join the industry and since then the trend has been promising.
One of the factors that contributed to the fast growth of the gaming industry in Macau is the ease of travel between Macau and the mainland.
In 2013, Macau recorded an annual gaming revenue of $45 billion, the highest to be ever recorded in its history. However, interference by Xi of the travel agents that foresee the travel of wealthy persons from mainland, led to decreased profits. 2016 recorded the lowest revenue, $27.9 billion. This has since improved, with the island recording a total revenue of $37.8 billion in 2018.
The legislation in Hong Kong passed a bill that would see criminals be extradited to mainland and Taiwan. However, as speculated earlier, the citizens were not happy, so they took to the streets to protest the bill hoping that their voices would get to the right ears.
In fact, the unrest in Honk Kong has been evident since June of this year, leading to the bill being set aside. Security has since been beefed up in Macau, in the fear that the protests might get there and interfere with the celebrations.