According to UNCTAD's 2022 World Investment Report, FDI flows to Macau decreased to negative USD 298 million in 2021, a significant evolution from negative USD 7.1 billion in 2020, following the health economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The stock of FDI was estimated at USD 37.6 billion in 2020 and USD 46.5 billion in 2021 (UNCTAD, 2023).. Foreign investments are mainly concentrated in the gambling and banking sectors, as well as in the tourism sector (hotel industry). The main investing countries are Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Mainland China, Portugal and United States.The recovery of the American market and the many infrastructure projects are currently underway (new casinos, hotels, airport extension, bridges, etc.). As a consequence, they should support FDI flow despite the negative effects of the Chinese anti-corruption policy.
Macao's liberal economy, free port status, political stability and strategic geographical position in the heart of a dynamic zone offer many attractive features to foreign investors. On the other hand, rising tensions between China and the United States could cause a reduction of investment by the three American casino operators. Macau’s economy has long been facing a dilemma between dramatic economic performance built on its casino and tourism sectors and a lack of variety in its industrial composition. Gaming-related business activities generate almost 50% of the economy's total industrial output. Tourism-related activities such as hotels, retail, restaurants and entertainment accounted for another 12-15 per cent.
In addition to gaming, Macau aspires to position itself as a regional center for incentive travel, conventions, and tourism, though to date it has experienced limited success in diversifying its economy. In 2007, business leaders founded the American Chamber of Commerce of Macau. Macau also seeks to become a “commercial and trade cooperation service platform” between mainland China and Portuguese-speaking countries. The government has various policies to promote these efforts and to create business opportunities for domestic and foreign investors. Many infrastructure projects are currently underway, such as new casinos, hotels, subways, airport extension, and the Macau-Taipa 4th vehicular harbor crossing that started construction in August 2020 (ITA, 2022). A Fitch report from November 2021 stated that a large portion of inflows from Hong Kong and Macau originated from Chinese companies, which brings into question how “foreign” such direct investments are.
Home to one of the world’s largest gaming industries, Macao has bagged USD 3.8bn in commitments from US casino and resorts firm Las Vegas Sands over the next 10 years to build two new luxurious hotel towers, the US firm confirmed in January 2023. Sands promised a new 18,000-square-metre facility and the redevelopment of its 50,000-square-metre ‘Tropical Garden’, as well as a future Macao Heritage Carnival.
Asia-Pacific has long been the most popular destination for entertainment FDI projects. But despite Macao’s reputation for mainly garnering FDI receipts via its tourism and gaming sectors, 92% of the new investment will go towards non-gaming facilities, Las Vegas Sands said in a meeting with investors. Its government has been seeking a more diverse FDI base as far back as 2013 (FDI Intelligence, 2023).
|Macao SAR, China||United States||Germany|
|Foreign Direct Investment||2020||2021||2022|
|FDI Inward Flow (million USD)||-6,980||4,771||4,000|
|FDI Stock (million USD)||37,187.0||41,554.8||45,554.8|
Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data
Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.
|Individual Income Tax||Progressive rate from 0% to 12%|
|Below MOP 144,000||0%|
|Between MOP 144,000 and MOP 164,000||7%|
|Between MOP 164,000 and MOP 184,000||8%|
|Between MOP 184,000 and MOP 224,000||9%|
|Between MOP 224,000 and MOP 304,000||10%|
|Between MOP 304,000 and MOP 424,000||11%|
|Over MOP 424,000||12%|
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Latest Update: September 2023