‘Macao Ideas’, the first product-display centre to promote products made in Macao, had its grand opening on 9 May. Featured displays include ‘Made in Macao’, ‘Macao Brand’, ‘Macao Design’ and ‘Sole Distributorship of Portuguese-Speaking Countries Products’. The centre gives the many people who come to Macao every week, including international entrepreneurs, a new place to do business.
Here you will find hand-made jewellery, medicines, designer clothes, beer and four different brands of coffee – a surprise for many who thought that the goods on the shelves of Macao’s shops and supermarkets were all imported.
‘Macao Ideas’ is the brainchild of the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) and its new President, Jackson Chang, who took up the post on 1 February last year.
“We had been discussing this idea for a long time.” He said in an interview. “Macao needs a place like this, where business delegations and tourists can see our products and those of Portuguese-Speaking countries (PSCs). We can put them in exhibitions, but here they are on long-term display.”
They chose a venue of 600 square metres on the ground floor of the Tourism Activities Centre, which belongs to the Macao Tourist Office. It is a prime location, close to many hotels and the Golden Lotus statue, popular with many of the 20 million mainlanders who visit each year.
Most of the products in ‘Macao Ideas’ are made by the small and medium-sized enterprises which account for more than 90 per cent of the firms in Macao.
“When we presented the idea of ‘Macao Ideas’ to them, they were very enthusiastic,” said Chang. “They want to use the resources of the platform to help them and to open up foreign markets, including those in PSCs. We also went to the commercial associations and asked for their opinions. We have designed ‘Macao Ideas’ on the basis of these consultations.”
Promoting local products
“Our aim is to promote ‘Made in Macao’, ‘Macao Brand’, ‘Macao Design’ and ‘Portuguese-speaking Countries Products’,” the IPIM said in a news release. “Having the local products displayed in a central location allows us to promote the four categories all together in this brand-new display platform, to enhance the popularity of the local products, raise international awareness, as well as showing value-added features that gives our exhibitors the competitive edge. The ultimate goal is to bring business opportunities to local entrepreneurs, assist them in opening up overseas markets and facilitate business matching with overseas buyers and manufacturers.
“Local manufacturers and entrepreneurs, as well as the sole agent of Portuguese-Speaking countries merchandises are welcome to make use of this platform to showcase and promote their products to investors and visitors from around the world.
“It brings together the products of many Macao local enterprises, including medicines, health products, garments, clothes, food, digital products, industrial products, crafts and wine.”
To qualify, an item must be manufactured in Macao or have a significant element of its production in the SAR, such as the design, the logistics or the sales. Many Macao companies have moved their production to the mainland, especially to neighbouring Guangdong, because of lower land and labour costs; their items qualify as long as Macao accounts for an important part of the production process.
Another category of products on display is those from PSCs who have a sloe agent in Macao.
‘Macao Ideas’ is divided in several zones – Macao branded products; food, leisure, including wedding gowns and outfits; living, including medical and health products, wine, handicrafts and industrial goods; lifestyle, including home decoration, furniture and furnishing; fashion and garments; and creativity, including the goods of the local creative industries.
At the opening ceremony, models showed off garments that were designed and manufactured locally and carry Macao brands.
Visitors interested in theses goods can find information on the firms that produce them from professional staff at ‘Macao Ideas’ who are there to help them. ‘Macao Ideas’ also aims to promote these goods in overseas markets. It also exists in the virtual world – with websites updated regularly with photos and information on the products – for those business people unable to come in person. They can visit the website https://macaoideas.ipim.gov.mo for the latest information and business partnerships at any time.
An important part of ‘Macao Ideas’ is the display of goods from PSCs, including garments, wine, beer, fabrics and handicrafts. Some are on sale at retail outlets in Macao and others can be obtained by contacting their agents in the SAR. This information is available at the centre.
In June, Chang and his staff went on an official visit with the Secretary for Economy and Finance of Macao to East Timor, Cape Verde and Portugal and in July to Angola, Mozambique and South Africa. They will promote the investment environment of Macao to the governments and enterprises and also inform their hosts of the new centre and invite PSC firms to exhibit their goods there. “These countries have bountiful resources,” said Chang.
This is in accord with the designation of Macao by the State Council as a bridge between China and the PSCs.
“Macao Ideas” will act as a platform for goods from theses countries and those who wish to buy them. “By displaying many kinds of special products PSCs, we hope to emphasise the function of Macao as a support platform for business services, and co-ordinate domestic and foreign investors in the search for local or mainland Chinese partnership and business development,” IPIM said in its press release. IPIM expects 10,000 visitors a year, including members of business delegations and some of the 20 million tourists who visit Macao annually.
Industry in Macao
Macao’s biggest manufactured exports are clothing textiles, toys and electronics. Most important are textiles and garments, which developed rapidly from the 1970s. They prospered during the Multi-Fibre Agreement, which governed the world trade in this sector between 1974 and 2004, with quotas on the amount developing countries could export to rich ones.
The agreement expired on 1 January 2005. The end of quotas meant that developing countries, including China, could export without restriction. This accelerated the migration of the industry from Macao to the mainland.
In 2009, the garment industry accounted for three per cent of Macao’s economy and give per cent of the labour force.
But, while the ‘body’ of many companies had moved, the ‘head’ remains in Macao – design, marketing, sales and strategy. Examples of the high quality of its textiles and garments are on display at the centre.
With the end of the casino monopoly, Macao’s economy grew by an average annual rate of 15.5 per cent between 2003 and 2009, one of the fastest in Asia. This rapid growth has pushed up the cost of land, property and wages, making manufacturing increasingly less competitive.
In 2010, Macao’s GDP was 217.32 billion patacas, an increase of 26.2 per cent over 2009.
Mission of IPIM
The mission of IPIM is to introduce outside investors and provide them with a ‘one-stop service’: to provide trade, economic, statistical and general information and market analysis to clients; to organize exhibitors and other promotional events in Macao and take part in them abroad; to organize economic delegations and search for business opportunities, and welcome those from outside.
As small and medium-sized enterprises represent a vital part of Macao’s economy, and in line with the Macao government’s policy to assist their development, IPIM is dedicated to providing a wide array of services and incentives to accommodate their needs.
In particular, IPIM has set up Macao Business Support Centre (MBSC) and SME Service Centre (SMEC), equipped with diverse facilities and resources to serve local SMEs. This includes consultation services on markets in mainland China, fairs and exhibitions, as well as incentive schemes for SMEs to take part in exhibitions, e-commerce promotion incentives and promotion packages on Macao Trade Invest Kiosk. Furthermore, IPIM regularly organizes seminars and workshops and other business exchange activities to facilitate SMEs in building capacity and exploring business opportunities.
Source: Macao SAR Government Information Bureau