Flying solo

For the first time, a Chief Executive of Macau has landed in Lisbon, on an official trip, without being accompanied by a Secretary for Economy and Finance and without a delegation of businessmen at his side. In addition, Chief Executive Chui Sai On - who arrived yesterday in Portugal - was almost alone, with no other members from the government, nobody from the Legislative Assembly and with no planned or announced business co-operation agreement events to attend.

Mong Ha, sports centre bid

Construction will be resumed on Mong Ha second phase social housing and sports centre, with a reopened bid on September 22, according to a notice posted by the Infrastructure Development Office. Construction may not take longer than 1,470 working days. The criteria of evaluation for the selection of tender will be based upon project cost (48 per cent), construction experience and quality (22 per cent), work plan (18 per cent) and construction period (12 per cent).

Uber reverses position

Uber has announced that it will stay in Macau, according to a press release posted on their official website. Over the past few weeks, the ride-sharing mobile application company has organised an online petition that managed to obtain some 23,000 signatures. About 300 protesters took to the streets on September 5 to support the operations of the enterprise, as previously reported by local media. Some 378 Uber rides have been caught by police since last October and fined over MOP10 million (US$1.25 million).

TurbotJET ferry in suspected collision

A TurbotJET ferry is suspected of colliding with a sampan, local broadcaster TDM reported yesterday. According to the Marine and Water Bureau, the vessel departed from the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal at around 9:00pm to Kowloon, Hong Kong. The ferry is suspected of colliding with the sampan near the outer port bulwark, with no injuries reported. The TurbotJET ferry showed no significant damage but the stern of the sampan was damaged.

Centaline: Oriental Pearl prices to jump 10 pct

Housing prices in the Oriental Pearl district on the Macau Peninsula may register an increase of 5 to 10 per cent during September and October, according to a note released by local property realtor, Centaline (Macau) Property Agency Ltd, as reported by Business Daily.
The real estate agency says three-bedroom units in the area are popular among local buyers who purchase the units for self-use whilst most of the two-bedroom units are bought by investors.
The realtor further explained that the increased popularity of home units in the area is due to lower housing prices, claiming prices there were MOP7,300 (US$912.5) to MOP7,600 per square foot.

Outbound China tourism set to surge

Over 70 per cent of outbound China tourism in 2015 was to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, according to a joint report by UnionPay and the China Tourism Academy, Business Daily reported.
The report finds that for the 2015 year outbound Chinese tourists reached 117 million, showing 9.8 per cent year-on-year growth, down from the 20 per cent year-on-year growth seen on average in previous years, notes the report.
Nevertheless, the report expects an 11.5 per cent year-on-year increase in outbound tourism from China would be posted for 2016, reaching 133 million. Better visa policies and easier payment methods outside of Mainland China are lauded as factors that have promoted outbound tourism from the country.

Jobs for the people

Despite the uncertainty and fluctuation of the external economic environment, the city’s unemployment rate remains stable, which is crucial to sustaining Macau’s economy, said Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac, as reported by Business Daily.
“The low and stable unemployment rate in the city is an important element to supporting the city’s economy, at least it helps maintain our internal demand in the city as well as for local SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises),” Mr. Leong said during the press conference.
In addition, the Five-Year plan indicates increasing the city’s population employed by the retail sector to 10 per cent by 2020 from 8.5 per cent in 2015. It is also expected that a further 12,000 hotel rooms will be added to the city’s inventory and create at least 14,400 related jobs.

Think happy thoughts

The SAR Government expects Macau’s gross gaming revenue to return to positive growth and reach around MOP200 billion (US$25 billion) each year in the future, Business Daily reported. Non-gaming elements in casino operators’ revenues are expected to account for nine per cent in five years’ time compared to the 6.6 per cent recorded in 2014 in order to advance economic diversification.
“We’ve entered a relatively stable period. Most importantly, we estimate gross gaming revenue will reach MOP200 billion every year. We hope next year that the downward trend [in casino revenue] will be reversed to positive growth,” said Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On yesterday in a press conference yesterday announcing the final version of the SAR’s first Five-Year Plan for 2016 to 2020.