Country Reports

Macao Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

Macau is a special administrative region of mainland China with a high level of internal autonomy. It is currently the world's largest gaming market, with an average income level among the highest in the world. Macanese politics is generally pro-Beijing, with the opposition largely marginalised. Although gaming revenues have declined sharply since 2014 because of mainland China's corruption crackdown and will be sensitive to slowing Chinese growth, the government's strong fiscal position enables it to avoid cuts to social programmes and public-sector salaries, and the stability of the incumbent administration is largely unshaken. The government has adopted preferential policies to encourage business development outside gaming, although gaming is likely to dominate the economy for the foreseeable future.Triad criminal groups are active in the gaming industry, but they seldom threaten foreign businesses.
Last update: March 26, 2019

Operational Outlook

The involvement of organised criminal groups in the gaming sector underscores challenges facing Macau's anti-corruption efforts. Risks are increased as Macau's gaming revenue continues to fall, partly because of economic moderation in mainland China. Crime linked to the gaming sector increased by 14.1% y/y in the first quarter of 2019. Kidnapping has risen by 34.4%, with loan-sharking groups kidnapping individuals inside casinos. In September 2017, a Macanese gaming company proposed a USD500-million cryptocurrency initial coin offering (ICO) backed by former triad leader Wan Kuok-koi. Separately, basic infrastructure of the territory has been substantially upgraded since the return to Chinese sovereignty in 1991 and will continue to receive further investment from China.

Last update: June 4, 2019


Terrorism risk is negligible in Macau, with no known non-state armed groups operating in or from the territory.

Last update: June 21, 2019


Despite the tightening of anti-money laundering rules – for instance, by making compliance and due diligence operational obligations – multinationals are likely to face a moderate risk from money-laundering activities. In addition, companies involved in the gaming and financial services are facing increasing risk from cyber crimes.

Last update: May 11, 2019

War Risks

None of mainland China's potential adversaries will probably target Macau in a military conflict, and Macau's government faces no violent domestic threats.

Last update: May 11, 2019

Social Stability

Following Macau's recovery from its economic recession in 2017, instances of labour unrest over unpaid salaries have subsided. Although there is some public dissatisfaction regarding real estate prices and the overbearing gaming industry and its long work hours, pro-democratic opposition has generally been mild in its criticism of government policies. There is little indication therefore of the emergence of any major protest movement similar to that in neighbouring Hong Kong.

Last update: May 11, 2019