From suggesting local eateries, guides to city hotspots and stories on different activities held in the SAR, Macau Lifestyle aims to bring more to the table as it celebrates its second year on the market. The online lifestyle publication showcases the best of the city’s offerings, including its culture and heritage.
Co-founded by Moscow-born Katya Maia and Australian-born Sally Victoria Benson, Macau Lifestyle has published over 1,000 articles, event listings and city guides.
Speaking to the Times, the founders recalled their participation in the government’s financial support scheme for young entrepreneurs, which provided them with an interest-free loan. However, the pair admitted that the financial assistance was not enough to run a business in the SAR.
“There is some help available from the government but it’s not enough. Another thing that helps businesses grow and be sustainable is the community,” said Benson, who is currently based in Hong Kong. “I’ve been running some of our operations in Hong Kong and there is so much more community spirit, positivity and help available. There is more negativity around having a startup and being an entrepreneur in Macau than in Hong Kong, which is a shame.”
Benson worries that there are many talented people in Macau with unique ideas who do not have enough space, community support and financial help to grow. “We are so lucky to have the support of a few hotels in Macau, but the amount of businesses who think we should work for free is appalling and I think many SME owners would agree, that is a big challenge,” Benson said.
Meanwhile Maia revealed that the team still does not have a physical office as all its contributors work from home, which she considers both an advantage and challenge in the new media sector. “We all work independently; we’re truly digital. We’re proud of this but it’s also a challenge. It’s better in terms of stronger operations to still have an office,” said Maia.
Currently, Macau Lifestyle also collaborates with public institutions including the Macao Government Tourism Office and Cultural Affairs Bureau, along with private clients, including the city’s several integrated resorts. The online platform curates stories on local eateries, art exhibitions, activities to do on the weekend and much more.
The co-founders also expressed that the rapid development of new media has given them further opportunities to expand their business. “We’ve seen some lifestyle publications close over the last two years and we see much more engagement with new media, including social media and digital [media],” said Maia.
Maia added that the firm had also experienced challenges communicating with their clients who did not understand the value of new media and the advantages of having information accessible online in a rapid manner. “[At] the end of the day we’re spending the time most on our computers and phones. It’s just the way it is. It’s not going anywhere, [rather] it is going to be more of that.”
Macau Lifestyle also invests in search engine optimization for both local residents and incoming tourists to find their website when seeking relevant information. The team is also creating relevant information for tourists, particularly English-
speaking tourists to be aware of what the city has to offer.
“I think new media is the future. I think people want news and information delivered as fast and as easily as possible. Social media has completely changed the way we receive information,” said Benson. “I’m really curious what things will be like in two to three years given how fast everything is changing and developing.”