Macau needs to diversify, says chairman of China's Basic Law Committee.
Macau is too dependent on gambling and needs to diversify, the chairman of China's Basic Law Committee, Li Fei, told Hong Kong media reporters this week, expressing opinions that are unlikely to boost the morale of operators in a market that has been declining for the past six months and shows little sign of immediate recovery.
Li Fei said that Macau's over-reliance on gambling puts the island at risk from turbulence and political decisions in neighbouring economies.
"One must not focus on economic growth and tax revenue alone when looking at Macau's overall well-being, given the close connection between its economy, especially the gaming sector, and the [Chinese] mainland," Li said. "One must think from the perspective of China's economic and social security, stability and development."
The BLC chairman's comments reinforce earlier warnings from the central government that Macau should do more to diversify its economic base, and will resonate louder due to the current downward trend in the gambling market which seems certain to culminate in the first full year decline since gambling was liberalised.
Much of that decline has been laid at the door of the central Chinese government, which has tinkered with visa availability and has been cracking down hard on corruption, intimidating major gamblers who fear that their activities will be picked up on enforcement radar.