The World Factbook (1990)/Macau

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pages 187–188

Macau (overseas territory of Portugal)

See regional map VIII


Total area: 16 km²; land area: 16 km²

Comparative area: about 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundary: 0.34 km with China

Coastline: 40 km

Maritime claims:

Exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm
Territorial sea: 6 nm

Disputes: scheduled to become a Special Administrative Region of China in 1999

Climate: subtropical; marine with cool winters, warm summers

Terrain: generally flat

Natural resources: negligible

Land use: 0% arable land; 0% permanent crops; 0% meadows and pastures; 0% forest and woodland; 100% other

Environment: essentially urban; one causeway and one bridge connect the two islands to the peninsula on mainland

Note: 27 km west southwest of Hong Kong on the southeast coast of China


Population: 441,691 (July 1990), growth rate 1.1% (1990)

Birth rate: 16 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 5 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 7 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 75 years male, 79 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.2 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Macanese (sing. and pl.); adjective—Macau

Ethnic divisions: 95% Chinese, 3% Portuguese, 2% other

Religion: mainly Buddhist; 17,000 Roman Catholics, of whom about half are Chinese

Language: Portuguese (official); Cantonese is the language of commerce

Literacy: almost 100% among Portuguese and Macanese; no data on Chinese population

Labor force: 180,000 (1986)

Organized labor: none


Long-form name: none

Type: overseas territory of Portugal; scheduled to revert to China in 1999

Capital: Macau

Administrative divisions: 2 districts (concelhos, singular—concelho); Ilhas, Macau

Independence: none (territory of Portugal); Portugal signed an agreement with China on 13 April 1987 to return Macau to China on 20 December 1999; in the joint declaration, China promises to respect Macau's existing social and economic systems and lifestyle for 50 years after transition

Constitution: 17 February 1976, Organic Law of Macau

Legal system: Portuguese civil law system

National holiday: Day of Portugal, 10 June

Executive branch: president of Portugal, governor, Consultative Council, (cabinet)

Legislative branch: Legislative Assembly

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President (of Portugal) Mario Alberto SCARES (since 9 March 1986);

Head of Government—Governor Carlos MELANCIA (since 3 July 1987)

Political parties and leaders: Association to Defend the Interests of Macau; Macau Democratic Center; Group to Study the Development of Macau; Macau Independent Group

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: Legislative Assembly—last held on 9 November 1988 (next to be held November 1991); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(17 total; 6 elected by universal suffrage, 6 by indirect suffrage) number of seats by party NA

Other political or pressure groups: wealthy Macanese and Chinese representing local interests, wealthy pro-Communist merchants representing China's interests; in January 1967 the Macau Government acceded to Chinese demands that gave China veto power over administration

Member of: Multifiber Agreement

Diplomatic representation: as Chinese territory under Portuguese administration, Macanese interests in the US are represented by Portugal; US—the US has no offices in Macau and US interests are monitored by the US Consulate General in Hong Kong

Flag: the flag of Portugal is used


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 two-thirds of export earnings. 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.

GDP: $2.7 billion, per capita $6,300; real growth rate 5% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.5% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 2% (1989 est.)

Budget: revenues $305 million; expenditures $298 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1989)

Exports: $1.7 billion (1989 est.); commodities—textiles, clothing, toys; partners—US 33%, Hong Kong 15%, FRG 12%, France 10% (1987)

Imports: $1.6 billion (1989 est.); commodities—raw materials, foodstuffs, capital goods; partners—Hong Kong 39%, China 21%, Japan 10% (1987)

External debt: $91 million (1985)

Industrial production: NA

Electricity: 179,000 kW capacity; 485 million kWh produced, 1,110 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: clothing, textiles, toys, plastic products, furniture, tourism

Agriculture: rice, vegetables; food shortages—rice, vegetables, meat; depends mostly on imports for food requirements

Aid: none

Currency: pataca (plural—patacas); 1 pataca (P) = 100 avos

Exchange rates: patacas (P) per US$1—8.03 (1989), 8.044 (1988), 7.993 (1987), 8.029 (1986), 8.045 (1985); note—linked to the Hong Kong dollar at the rate of 1.03 patacas per Hong Kong dollar

Fiscal year: calendar year


Highways: 42 km paved

Ports: Macau

Civil air: no major transport aircraft

Airports: none; 1 seaplane station

Telecommunications: fairly modern communication facilities maintained for domestic and international services; 52,000 telephones; stations—4 AM, 3 FM, no TV; 75,000 radio receivers (est.); international high-frequency radio communication facility; access to international communications carriers provided via Hong Kong and China; 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Military manpower: males 15-49, 166,956; 93,221 fit for military service

Note: defense is responsibility of Portugal