IN this issue of Macao Image, we review the two decades since the return of Macao to China on 20 December 1999, looking into the economic development of the city and its prospects for growth in the years to come.

Twenty years since its establishment, the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) has created prosperity by diversifying into new businesses, rapidly building up its meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry, and functioning increasingly as the facilitator of trade between China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries.

The Government of the Macao SAR is striving to make the city into what is officially called a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure, meaning a draw for tourists from around the world, and a Commercial and Trade Co-operation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries.

The application of the “One country, two systems” principle has been hailed as a success. The city is poised to become an important engine to turn the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, alsoknown as the Greater Bay Area, into a global hub for innovation and high technology, and a cradle for emerging industries.

The development of a finance industry to focus on the aspects of business where Macao has an edge is helping make the economy more diverse – in particular, co-operative ventures in financial leasing, renminbi clearing between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, and wealth management.

In 2019, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China coincided with the 20th anniversary of reunification and the inauguration of the fifth-term Government of the Macao SAR, headed by Chief Executive Mr Ho Iat Seng. Mr Ho was a member of the Executive Council from 2004 to 2009. He was elected in 2009 to the Legislative Assembly and presided over the assembly from 2013 to 2019.

Mr Ho is set to serve a five-year term, leading a city brimmed with potential for development arising from the Greater Bay Area and “Belt and Road” initiatives, and from the continuing process of diversifying its economy.

This issue features an exclusive interview with Mrs Irene Va Kuan Lau, President of the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM). Mrs Lau spoke to Macao Image about what the Institute has been working on, focusing especially on the development of the MICE industry in Macao, which is one of the most important ways of making the economy more diverse.

Macao Image also interviewed Macao delegates to the Entrepreneurs Meeting for Commercial and Economic Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, held in July 2019 in São Tomé and Príncipe. Entrepreneurs that attended say the Meeting showed Macao enterprises new opportunities for investment.

We look into the success of big events held in Macao in the second half of 2019, including: the Guangdong & Macao Branded Products Fair, the Macao Franchise Expo, the Macao International Trade & Investment Fair, and the Portuguese-speaking Countries Products and Services Exhibition (Macao).

And this issue also highlights the success of companies in Macao that have benefited from the development of its economy and the support IPIM gives to investors in the city.