GBA Series by Macau Business (December 2022)

Setting the agenda

The way out of the current pandemic-related restrictions is being gradually paved. The recent easing policies announced by the Central Government, which, alongside a number of measures, trimmed the mandatory quarantine period of overseas, arrivals (including from Hong Kong and Taiwan) to “5+3” model, from “7+3” were a step forward. Macau followed suit, signalling an improvement, though one that still falls short of having an impact on the much-needed return of international visitation. It is, still, an advancement that one hopes will bring us ever closer to the “0+0” aim.

Hong Kong leads the way in this respect nationwide, having adopted the “0+3” arrangement, which is starting to yield some results. Despite not having a quarantine-free border-crossing scheme with the mainland, our neighbouring SAR is aiming at making the most of the gradual reopening to the outside world. The Hong Kong Sevens international rugby tournament made its long-awaited return in November. We badly missed it. If only we (in Macau) could go to Hong Kong without having to endure quarantine when returning home… Fingers crossed for seamless travel between the two SARs in time for the Hong Kong Sevens in 2023.

Another encouraging breeze blowing from the Fragrant Port across the Delta was the international finance conference held in early November, where Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee addressed global banking and finance leaders, making the case for the SAR being back in business. It’s not yet business as usual, but we may well be on the road to recovery. For that to soundly come into fruition, a mechanism that will safely, gradually – but effectively – bring back mobility across the board in the Guangdong Hong Kong Macau Greater Bay Area is seen as key.

Meanwhile, on this side of the Delta, it’s important to keep the focus on readying the city for a quarantine-free reopening (regarding overseas arrivals). The Macau Government Tourism Office’s remarks regarding promotional activities for 2023 sound encouraging and hint at the way ahead. During a plenary meeting of the Tourism Development Committee held earlier this month, MGTO representatives said that overseas promotions were on their work agenda for next year.

GBA Roundup – Five Takeaways
1. Hong Kong’s presence at the Lisbon international tech conference Web Summit is a way to indicate to investors the SAR is “open for business” following long-standing pandemic restrictions, members of InvestHK said.

2. Greater Bay Airlines has announced it will open a new Hong Kong-Taipei service starting December 1, 2022. The new service will operate five times a week, on Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

3. The Securities and Funds Industry Association of Macao (SFA) and the Guangdong Asset Management Association (GAMA) signed a strategic cooperation agreement to facilitate the connectivity of the capital markets in the region.

4. German chemical giant BASF SE will invest in a new world-scale Neopentyl Glycol (NPG) plant with an annual production capacity of 80,000 tonnes at its Verbund site in the city of Zhanjiang, south China’s Guangdong Province.

5. Financial institutions venturing into the Guangdong-Macau In-Depth Cooperation Zone from Macau will be eligible for grants of up to RMB60 million (US$8.21 million), Hengqin authorities have announced.