Hong Kong and Macau Compared
Want a specific history topic covered? Your idea gets picked when you donate on Patreon:
Mr. Beat’s band:
Mr. Beat on Twitter:
Mr. Beat compares and contrasts Macau and Hong Kong, both located in China.
Music by Electric Needle Room (Matt Beat) and Drew Gerber.
Hong Kong and Macau
Both are mostly self-governing territories within China, just 61 kilometers, or 38 miles apart. Both are cities- no they’re not Mr. Beat you idiot!
Ok Ok, both are special. Special administrative regions of China, that is., based on China’s one country, two systems principle. According to CGP Grey, they are both “the most country-like countries that aren’t countries.” Confused yet? Basically, Hong Kong and Macau are a part of China, but both get a lot of leeway to decide how they want to do stuff compared to the rest of China. China takes care of their foreign affairs and military defense and they take care of everything else. Both have a presidential limited democracy, although Hong Kong seems more open to expand that democracy than Macau.
Both are part of the Pearl River Delta, which is probably the biggest urban area in the world based on both its size and population. Some estimates put the population of the Pearl River Delta metropolitan area at 120 million! Oh my goodness. What? 120 million? No way. Russia has like just 24 million more people than that. Ok sorry, anyway, both are incredibly densely populated. Macau is the most densely populated territory in the world and Hong Kong is 4th. There are people everywhere, man!
So maybe this makes sense, but the largest ethnic group in both regions is Chinese. However, Hong Kong has a significant Filipino and Indonesian minority and Macau has a significant Macanese minority, which is a mix of Portuguese and Asian ancestry. Wait, Portuguese? Huh?
Yeah, well both Hong Kong and Macau are former colonies of Western empires. Until 1997, Great Britain controlled Hong Kong. Until 1999, Portugal controlled Macau. Because of that, the two were heavily influenced by foreign powers and not as much influenced by China. Actually, over time, the foreign powers left them both alone, too, and they thrived, probably because of that. In fact, both Hong Kong and Macau are two of the richest territories in the world due to free markets working their magic there.
Indeed, both make a lot of money. Hong Kong’s GDP per capita is about $45,000 a year, the 12th highest in the world, although it is dealing with some dramatic income inequality right now. Macau’s GDP per capita is over $104,000 a year, making it the 3rd highest in the world. Macau is so rich that it doesn’t know what to do with all the extra money, so its government gives it back directly to the citizens. Both have very low taxes compared to most of the world. However, residents of Hong Kong do pay about 25% more taxes than residents of Macau.
Despite this, according to the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, Hong Kong ranks number one in the world, and has been ranked number one every year since the list began 23 years ago. Macau is ranked 34th on that same list.
The cost of living in both countries is pretty similar, although Macau is about 3% cheaper currently, mostly due to Hong Kong’s higher housing costs.
Both have low unemployment. Based on the latest numbers I could find, Hong Kong’s unemployment rate is 2.9% and people were freaking out recently when Macau’s unemployment went up from 1.8% all the way up to 1.9%. I’m obviously kidding. That’s a ridiculously low unemployment rate.
Speaking of ridiculous, both have a ridiculously high life expectancy.