Researcher wants city to seek more foreign investment

Jean A. Berlie, a Hong Kong-based researcher at The Education University of Hong Kong, launched a book yesterday which features a chapter on Macau’s role in the globalization of China.

Titled “China’s Globalization and the Belt and Road Initiative,” the book discusses the importance of China’s globalization, as well as recalling the past 500 years of Macau’s history. 

“[Many] do not know the long history of Macau. Five hundred years means you can develop many things,” Berlie told the Times on the sidelines of the event.

In the book, Berlie remarks that the similarities between Hong Kong and Macau’s political histories are not confined to their colonial origins. He noted that the two regions were bridges for cultural dissemination, allowing Britain and Portugal to penetrate the Chinese economy.

“Macau is the first point of globalization in the world,” said the researcher.

“After Japan had stopped selling silver to the Portuguese, […] they were obliged to take silver from Mexico and Manila to Macau,” he said, offering an example of the globalization.

In Berlie’s opinion, the SAR must further encourage Portuguese-speaking countries to invest in the city, saying that, despite the American gaming presence, Macau is still lacking foreign direct investment (FDI).

“The foreign direct investment is not coming. This is the big problem now for Hong Kong and Macau, and for Xi Jinping. China became the first factory of the world because of FDI. […] You need the investors’ money,” he said.

As Berlie says in the book, as soon the level of FDI is raised, the Greater Bay Area project will become comparable to the New York Bay.

Hong Kong and Macau are essential regions for attracting FDI from the global and lusophone world.

“In Macau, the link with lusophone countries has always played a historical role. As before, the Pearl River Delta and now the Greater Bay Area have to find new strategies to retain rural laborers, both within and beyond Guangdong,” the book states.

“The Chinese of Hong Kong do not fully accept the concept of the Greater Bay Area associated with the Belt & Road Initiative. Nevertheless, it is useful to note that the Pearl River Delta’s central administrative power and industrial heart […] is now more closely associated with Hong Kong and Macau with the new mega bridge,” the book reads. LV

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