Officially named the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, Macau’s exports totaled an estimated US$1 billion in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -23.5% decline since 2015.
Macau is located on the western side of the Pearl River Delta across from Hong Kong–China’s other special administrative region.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 99.4% of products exported from Macau were bought by importers in: Hong Kong (84.8% of the global total), China (10.4%), United States (1.6%), Cambodia (0.7%), Singapore (0.5%), Germany (0.3%), United Kingdom (0.3%), Vietnam (0.2%), Japan (0.2%), Philippines (0.2%), France (also 0.2%) and Taiwan (0.1%).
From a continental perspective, 97.4% of Macau’s exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 1.6% were sold to importers in North America. Macau shipped another 0.9% worth of goods to Europe. Even tinier percentages went to Oceania led by Australia (0.1%) and Africa (0.01%).
Given Macau’s population of 679,000 people, its total $1 billion in exports during 2019 translates to roughly $1,500 for every person in China’s special administrative region.
Macau’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Macau’s global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Macau.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$321.1 million (31.4% of total exports)
- Clocks, watches including parts: $148.3 million (14.5%)
- Gems, precious metals: $134.5 million (13.1%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $75.4 million (7.4%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $61.6 million (6%)
- Footwear: $56.3 million (5.5%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $46.7 million (4.6%)
- Machinery including computers: $26.4 million (2.6%)
- Toys, games: $22.9 million (2.2%)
- Beverages, spirits: $21.9 million (2.1%)
Macau’s top 10 exports accounted for 89.4% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Perfumes and cosmetics represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 584.7% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was toys and games via a 273.7% expansion. Macau’s shipments of beverages and spirits including wine posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 242.7%.
The sole decliner among Macau’s top 10 export categories was machinery including computers due to its -36.2% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, in 2019 Macau’s most valuable exported products were phone system devices including smartphones (25.1% of global total), jewelry (12.7%); wrist or pocket watches with precious metal case (10.8%); cases, handbags and wallets (5.2%); lower-voltage switches or fuses (4.1%); beauty, makeup, and skin care preparations (4%); wrist or pocket watches without precious metal case (2.9%); leather footwear (2.4%); wine (2%) then unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing (1.8%).
The following type(s) of Macau’s product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Woodpulp: US$734,000 (Down by -11.1% since 2015)
Macau has positive net exports in the international trade of woodpulp. In turn, these cashflows indicate Macau’s competitive advantages under the woodpulp category.
Overall Macau incurred an estimated -$11 billion trade deficit in 2019, up by 18.7% from -$9.3 billion in red ink for 2015.
Below are exports from Macau that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on Macau’s goods trail importer spending on foreign products.
- Gems, precious metals: -US$1.5 billion (Up by 41% since 2015)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: -$1.1 billion (Up by 133%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$894.9 million (Up by 3.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$859.1 million (Down by -35.7%)
- Clocks, watches including parts: -$699.5 million (Up by 9%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: -$623.9 million (Up by 52.4%)
- Machinery including computers: -$451.4 million (Down by -5.5%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$427.2 million (Up by 13.4%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$328.7 million (Up by 110.1%)
- Vehicles: -$318.6 million (Down by -20.8%)
Macau has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for jewelry and to a lesser extent, gold, diamonds and pearls.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Macau’s competitive disadvantages under the gems and precious metals category.
Macau Export Companies
According to global trading platform Alibaba, the following companies are examples of leading export companies located in Macau.
- Black Sea PVT (LCD monitors)
- Hoplun (swimwear, underwear)
- Lee’s Handicraft Co. Ltd (baskets)
- Signal International (solar products)
- Union Technology International (recycled printer parts, supplies)
- Yiu Heng International Trading Company Ltd (stainless steel kitchenware)
In macroeconomic terms, Macau’s total exported goods represent 1.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($77.7 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 1.3% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 1.9% for 2018. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Macau’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Macau’s average unemployment rate was 1.8% for 2019 which matches its jobless metric one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
See also China’s Top 10 Exports, Hong Kong’s Top 10 Exports and Taiwan’s Top 10 Exports
Alibaba.com supplier profiles for Macau. Accessed on April 19, 2020
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on April 19, 2020
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on April 19, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 19, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 19, 2020