Macau Stock Exchange Plan Reported to China’s Central Government as City Tries to Diversify From Gambling

During the 8th Lingnan Forum held in Guangzhou on October 12, He Xiaojun, Party Secretary and Director of the Guangdong Provincial Local Financial Supervision Administration, announced that the Macau Stock Exchange plan has been reported to the central government.

The plan, initially made public in the beginning of the year, aims to create a yuan-based Stock Exchange in the Macau Special Administrative Region, helping it to diversify from gambling, the dominant revenue source of the region.

The exchange would better align Macau with China’s growth plans for the Greater Bay Area that includes Guangdong province and the cities Hong Kong and Macau. The new project is sometimes referred to as the Nasdaq of the offshore Renminbi market in Chinese media.

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“Macau has a very strong position in promoting itself as the financial service platform between the Mainland and Portuguese-speaking countries and the mentioned feasibility studies will be conducted under this context and advantages,” Macau’s Monetary Authority said to Reuters.

In an effort to turn Macau into a financial hub, the Chinese government has been providing support to the special administrative region in developing financial products and services as well as a securities market and a green finance platform. In 2018, Chongwa Financial Asset Exchange, the first financial institution in the city, was allowed by the authorities to provide bond trading.

According to local casino industry executives, first plans to open a stock market in Macau were conceived during Portuguese rule which ended in 1999, when the territory was returned to China. However, it took the city over 20 years to proceed with the plan.

Gambling still accounts for 80% of government revenues in Macau with $38 billion amassed in 2018 alone. However, the former Portuguese colony is actively looking for ways to diversify their revenue sources by investing in tourism and finance. Macau could also play a key role in the future, serving as a bridge between China and the Portuguese-speaking courtiers.