Macao or Macau is located on the Southeast coast of China on the western bank of the Pearl River Delta. It is located 60 kilometers from Hong Kong and 145 kilometers fiom Guangzhou. It has an area of 28. 6 square kilometers, comprised of the Macao Peninsula and the islands of Taipa and Coloane.
Macao was set up in 1557. Fishermen from Fujian and farmers from Guangdong were the first known settlers in Macao. Macao was the oldest European colony in the Far East and it was officially under Portuguese administration. On December 1999, China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Macao. Like Hong Kong, Macao is also a Special Administrative Region of the people's Republic of China and benefits from the principle of "one country, two systems". It will therefore keep intact its current social and economic system and way of life.
The total population of Macao is estimated to be over 530, 000. About 94% are Chinese with the other 6% being Portuguese and people from other parts of the world. Chinese and Portuguese are the official languages, but Cantonese is most widely spoken. English is the third language and is heavily used in trade, tourism and commerce.
Macao is an island-type mini-economy whose development is inevitably constrained by its small local market and limited resources.
However, it pursues an open economic policy. Macao plays a relatively important role in the regional economy of Southeastern hina and other neighboring areas and has been an important gateway and bridge linking mainland China and the international market.
Macao is one of China's two international free ports. Goods, capital, foreign exchange, and people flow freely in and out of Macao.
Tourism is the backbone of Macao's economy. Most visitors are from Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan. Gambling is the most exciting part of Macao. There are about 30 casinos. Among them, the Lisboa Casino and Sands Macao are very famous. Thousands of visitors flock to Macao every day to try their luck.
During the racing season, horse racing and dog racing also thrill spectators. Horse racing has a long history in Macao, going back to the 18th century.
The major scenic spots in Macao are Ruins of St. Paul, Temple of A-Ma, Macao Tower Monte Fort and Lou Lim Leok Gardens and Beaches.
The textile and garment sectors are the key components of the local manufacturing industry, which are still adopting the labor intensive mode of production and largely exporting their products. Most of these exports go to the United States and the European Union.