The gambling center of Macau has become the world’s fourth richest territory per person, leapfrogging Switzerland, according to World Bank report. The growth was mainly due to mainland Chinese gamblers and tourists.
The Chinese territory reached per capita gross domestic product of $91,376 in 2013, an 18.4 percent jump from the year before. Macau is right behind Luxembourg, Norway and Qatar, and ahead of Switzerland which has an income of $80,528 per person in a fifth place.
In 2012 Macau was ranked sixth by the World Bank behind Bermuda and Switzerland. The 2013 list does not include Bermuda; however as in 2012 its GDP per capita was estimated at $84,471, so it would probably trail Macau.
The ranking does not include Monaco and Liechtenstein, which based on the latest available figures, would almost certainly top the rankings, says the Financial Times.
Since 1999, when Macau was returned to China, its economy has grown 557 percent mostly driven by the gambling sector. In 2006 Macau became the world’s biggest gambling center, and last year revenues were seven times that of Las Vegas at $45 billion.
CLSA, one of the most bullish brokerages on Macau, suggests revenues could reach $90 billion by 2018, citing high-speed rail and other transport links will boost the economy.
By 2017 Macau is expected to start benefitting from the world’s longest bridge that will provide a 30-minute road link from Hong Kong airport, a strategically important transport hub, which has more capacity than Macau’s own airport.
However in June Macau experienced its first year-on-year decline in gaming revenues since 2009. Analysts suggest the fall in growth was caused by people spending money on the World Cup as well as the austerity and anti-corruption campaigns by Chinese President Xi Jinping.