Doing business

Current business situation

Investment in resort and entertainment projects and related infrastructure has transformed Macau’s economy. Macau has become the world’s largest gaming centre and has one of the highest levels of per capita GDP in the world. 

After experiencing strong economic growth in recent years, Macau’s GDP shrank by 20.3 per cent due to a slowdown in the gaming sector, but has since bounced back to an 11 per cent growth. (Source: Government of Macao Special Administrative Region Statistics and Census Service). The Macau Government is encouraging casino operators and retailers to focus on the mass market and non-gaming facilities, positioning Macau as a family oriented holiday destination. This approach seems to be working, with the number of visitors to Macau increasing by 5.4 percent to 32.5 million (Source: Jones Lang LaSalle, JLL Retail Macau Recovery).

Business culture

Any Australian business looking to conduct business in Macau will need to take local cultural dynamics into consideration.

Some basic considerations business representatives should be aware of include:

Exporters should send as much documented information about their companies, products and services as possible in advance of their visit. Business visitors must remember to follow up on meetings when they return to Australia. The quality of your agent or representative’s contacts is crucial and business introductions are vital, as companies do not deal with unknown or recommended contacts.

Answer enquiries, proposals, correspondence and invitations as soon as possible. At the very least, immediately send an acknowledgement stating that an answer will follow shortly. If you do not show sufficient interest and speed in your correspondence, your potential customer will easily find another firm who will.

Many Macanese business people will have an English first name, used with a Chinese family name e.g. Peter Chan. In this case, the family name is used last, as in Australia. Normally when a Chinese name is written, the family name comes first, with the given name following e.g. Mr. Chan Tai-Man would be addressed as Mr. Chan.

The exchange of business cards is a must in Macau, so it is advisable to carry a large number of cards with you and they should be presented and received with both hands.

Dinners and lunches with local representatives and customers help to develop networks. Seating should be arranged so that the Australians are spaced evenly with the Chinese guests.

Chinese place importance on punctuality and visitors should do their best to avoid arriving late. Itineraries should take this into consideration and allow adequate time to move from one appointment to the next.

Avoid embarrassing Chinese in the presence of others. To avoid the person losing face, discuss any criticisms in private. In some cases, it may be helpful to use an intermediary to convey criticism, particularly with someone of high social status.

Setting up in Macau

Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) is the official entity to help overseas businesses invest and provides significant resources and advice on setting up a business in Macau. The Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macau also has information for those considering setting up a business.

Due to limited port and storage facilities for both sea and air freight, and relatively low trading volumes for goods, many Australian products that are exported to Macau are channeled through agents and distributors based in Hong Kong. Some of these agents have established distribution channels in Macau and can therefore service both markets directly. Many Hong Kong-based agents also use Macau companies to distribute to local buyers.

For live and chilled meats and fresh produce it is possible to make use of direct airfreight services from Australia to Macau which operate on a daily basis. Please contact the Austrade office in Hong Kong for more information.

Banking and finance

Macau, has a small but efficient financial system and a high degree of financial freedom without undue government influence and control. The Monetary Authority of Macau supervises and regulates the financial system to assure the free flow of financial resources.

Links and resources

Government, business and trade

Macau SAR Government Portal
Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute

News and media

Macau Business (business magazine)
Macau Daily
Macau Daily Times

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.