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(special administrative region of China)
[Country Flag of Macau]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Macau]



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Background: Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal on 13 April 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999. China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be practiced in Macau and that Macau will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs.


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Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the South China Sea and China

Geographic coordinates: 22 10 N, 113 33 E

Map references: Southeast Asia

total: 21 sq km
land: 21 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: about 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries:
total: 0.34 km
border countries: China 0.34 km

Coastline: 40 km

Maritime claims: not specified

Climate: subtropical; marine with cool winters, warm summers

Terrain: generally flat

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
highest point: Coloane Alto 174 m

Natural resources: NEGL

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 98% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: NA

Geography - note: essentially urban; one causeway and two bridges connect the two islands of Coloane and Taipa to the peninsula on mainland


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Population: 445,594 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 23% (male 53,986; female 50,379)
15-64 years: 69% (male 146,474; female 162,672)
65 years and over: 8% (male 12,932; female 19,151) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.83% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 12.54 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 3.64 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 9.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 4.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 81.6 years
male: 78.8 years
female: 84.55 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.3 children born/woman (2000 est.)

noun: Chinese
adjective: Chinese

Ethnic groups: Chinese 95%, Macanese (mixed Portuguese and Asian ancestry), Portuguese, other

Religions: Buddhist 50%, Roman Catholic 15%, none and other 35% (1997 est.)

Languages: Portuguese, Chinese (Cantonese)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90%
male: 93%
female: 86% (1981 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Macau Special Administrative Region
conventional short form: Macau
local long form: Aomen Tebie Xingzhengqu (Chinese); Regiao Administrativa Especial de Macau (Portuguese)
local short form: Aomen (Chinese); Macau (Portuguese)

Data code: MC

Dependency status: special administrative region of China

Government type: NA

Administrative divisions: none (special administrative region of China)

Independence: none (special administrative region of China)

National holiday: National Day, 1-2 October; note - 20 December 1999 is celebrated as Macau Special Administrative Region Establishment Day

Constitution: Basic Law, approved in March 1993 by China's National People's Congress, is Macau's "mini-constitution"

Legal system: based on Portuguese civil law system

Suffrage: direct election 18 years of age, universal for permanent residents living in Macau for the past seven years; indirect election limited to organizations registered as "corporate voters" (257 are currently registered) and a 300-member Election Committee drawn from broad regional groupings, municipal organizations, and central government bodies

Executive branch:
chief of state: President of China JIANG Zemin (since 27 March 1993)
head of government: Chief Executive Edmund HO Hau-wah (since 20 December 1999)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of all five government secretaries, three legislators, and two businessmen
elections: NA

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Council or LEGCO (23 seats; 8 elected by popular vote, 8 by indirect vote, and 7 appointed by the chief executive; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 22 September 1996 (next to be held by 15 October 2001)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APPEM 2, UNIPRO 2, CODEM 1, UDM 1, UPD 1, ANMD 1

Judicial branch: The Court of Final Appeal in the Macau Special Administrative Region

Political parties and leaders: the following is a listing of those associations that participated in the last legislative elections: Associacao de Novo Macau Democratico or ANMD [leader NA]; Associacao Promotora para a Economia de Macau or APPEM [leader NA]; Convergencia para o Desenvolvimento or CODEM [leader NA]; Uniao Geral para o Desenvolvimento de Macau or UDM [leader NA]; Uniao para o Desenvolvimento or UPD [leader NA]; Uniao Promotora para o Progresso or UNIPRO [leader NA]
note: there are no formal political parties, but civic associations are used instead

Political pressure groups and leaders: Catholic Church [Domingos LAM, bishop]; Macau Society of Tourism and Entertainment or STDM [Stanley HO, managing director]; Union for Democracy Development [Antonio NG Kuok-cheong, leader]

International organization participation: CCC, ESCAP (associate), IMO (associate), Interpol (subbureau), UNESCO (associate), WMO, WToO (associate), WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (special administrative region of China)

Diplomatic representation from the US: the US has no offices in Macau, and US interests are monitored by the US Consulate General in Hong Kong

Flag description: light green with a lotus flower above a stylized bridge and water in white, beneath an arc of five gold, five-pointed stars: one large in center of arc and four smaller


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Economy - overview: The economy is based largely on tourism (including gambling) and textile and fireworks manufacturing. Efforts to diversify have spawned other small industries - toys, artificial flowers, and electronics. The tourist sector has accounted for roughly 25% of GDP, and the clothing industry has provided about three-fourths of export earnings; the gambling industry probably represents over 40% of GDP. Macau depends on China for most of its food, fresh water, and energy imports. Japan and Hong Kong are the main suppliers of raw materials and capital goods. Output dropped 4% in 1998 and the economy remained weak in 1999. Macau reverted to Chinese administration on 20 December 1999. Gang violence, a dark spot in the economy, probably will be reduced in 2000 to the advantage of the tourism sector.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $7.65 billion (1998 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: -4% (1998 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $17,500 (1998 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 40%
services: 59% (1997)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): -3% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 281,117 (1998)

Labor force - by occupation: industry 31%, restaurants and hotels 28%, other services 41%

Unemployment rate: 6.9% (1999)

revenues: $1.34 billion
expenditures: $1.34 billion, including capital expenditures of $260 million (1998 est.)

Industries: clothing, textiles, toys, electronics, footwear, tourism, gambling

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 1.34 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 1.42 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 1 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 175 million kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: rice, vegetables

Exports: $1.7 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Exports - commodities: textiles, clothing, toys, electronics, cement, footwear, machinery

Exports - partners: US 48%, EU 31%, Hong Kong 8%, China 7% (1998)

Imports: $1.5 billion (c.i.f., 1999)

Imports - commodities: raw materials, foodstuffs, capital goods, fuels, consumer goods

Imports - partners: China 33%, Hong Kong 24%, EU 11%, Taiwan 10%, Japan 8% (1998)

Debt - external: $1.7 billion (1997)

Economic aid - recipient: $NA

Currency: 1 pataca (P) = 100 avos

Exchange rates: patacas (P) per US$1 - 8.01 (January 2000), 7.99 (1999), 7.98 (1998), 7.99 (1997), 7.962 (1996), 8.034 (1993-95); note - linked to the Hong Kong dollar at the rate of 1.03 patacas per Hong Kong dollar

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones - main lines in use: 222,500 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 55,000 (1998)

Telephone system: fairly modern communication facilities maintained for domestic and international services
domestic: NA
international: HF radiotelephone communication facility; access to international communications carriers provided via Hong Kong and China; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 2, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: 160,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 0 (receives Hong Kong broadcasts) (1997)

Televisions: 49,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA


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Railways: 0 km

total: 50 km
paved: 50 km
unpaved: 0 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Macau

Merchant marine: none (1999 est.)

Airports: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (1999 est.)


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Military branches: Macau garrison of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) includes about 500 troops

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 123,581 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 67,974 (2000 est.)

Military - note: responsibility for defense reverted to China on 20 December 1999

Transnational Issues

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Disputes - international: none

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