Macau should better perform its role and take up a leadership position in regards to the Greater Bay Area plan, a legal consultant has suggested. The Greater Bay Area plan aims to further interconnect 11 cities including Hong Kong and Macau, bringing the communities closer together in terms of infrastructure, policy development, and hiring practices. The plan’s outline is expected to be announced soon.
Speaking yesterday morning at the sidelines of the French Macau Chamber of Commerce talk, Alexander Kocsis, from Hylands Law Firm, noted that these 11 cities will end up sharing resources. The move will see greater integration of the 11 cities which would be made into one urban area. However, there are a series of challenges that will face this move headed by China’s reelected president, Xi Jinping. “I think there [will be] three big difficulties: one is in regards to trade […]; second, in regards to law […]; and third, in regards to visas, as Hong Kong and Macau grant visa-free access to over 160 countries, whereas in China it’s different,” said the expert.
However, the legal consultant believes that Macau should further make use of its position as “One Platform, Three Centers,” noting that the MSAR should adopt a more active role and diversify its gaming-dependent economy. “We’ve already seen indications. There are rumors that Hainan may be used as a gaming center. I think this is an attempt to light a fire under Macau for them to start thinking,” said the expert.
Given the size of Macau, the expert argued that the city is too small to conduct other businesses such as manufacturing and heavy trade, thus it should look at the finance sector, citing Singapore, Bermuda and Saint Kitts and Nevis as examples of successful financial cities.
“There are lots of things Macau could do but they’re always looking at the same things. Those same things really don’t work here because of the limitation,” he said.
Kocsis lamented that Macau’s financial regulator has prohibited the city’s financial institutions from providing financial services to businesses issuing virtual currencies or tokens, noting that Macau has the capability to carve out its own niche in the sector.
“That [cryptocurrency] could be another huge field that doesn’t require space. Cryptocurrency is the next revolution, same with block chain and augmented reality. All these things can be done here very easily [but] why aren’t they doing it,” the counsel questioned.
Questioned on what hinders Macau from being more dynamic business-wise, the expert noted that local people and the executives “are simply too comfortable.” The integration of cities will surely occur more in the future – thus Kocsis is of the view that Macau needs to be more proactive and acquire a proper strategy to ensure that such integration is positive. Otherwise, it would only benefit the “stronger party.”
“There are so many favorable policies for Macau and Hong Kong in the mainland, almost nobody is taking advantages of these things,” he said.
“Macau has to take a leadership position. […] They can try to make alliances with Guangdong and Zhuhai and work together. Macau has so many advantages but like everything, you have to do something,” Kocsis added.
Being a platform for Portuguese- speaking countries will not be able to hold up Macau’s whole economy, thus the city needs to create further projects that will help elevate the city’s economy.
“Macau has good people, money, good location – it’s got everything so it should be so successful,” he added.