Today our journey is relatively short in terms of the territory covered - about 30 miles (50 km) from Zhongshan to Zuhai and on to the former Portuguese colony of Macau - all by motor coach. Hong Kong is a short ferry ride across the water which we'll take tomorrow.
|Zhongshan to Zuhai And On To Macau With Hong Kong Across The Estuary|
But first we stop in the city of Zuhai to take a tour of the city.
Zhuhai was one of the original Special Economic Zones established by the Chinese government under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s. It was through the SEZ's that China became the economic powerhouse that it is today. Being located next door to Hong Kong, China was able to export its manufactured good to the rest of the world. Zhuhai is also one of China's premier tourist destinations, being referred to as the Chinese Riviera.
|The Beach In Zuhai|
Located in the Pearl River Delta, Zhuhai borders Jiangmen to the northwest, Zhongshan to the north, and Macau to the south. Due to its location near Hong Kong and Macao, its ports with excellent conditions, its overseas Chinese contributions, and especially the policy of the SEZ's, foreign investment, advanced technologies, and management methods stimulated the economic boom of the area. As a result, transportation networks and accommodation services improved. Diversified transportation links provide a wide range of ways to get there or to travel inside the city.
|Zuhai Panoramic View From Mount Jida|
The outstanding geographic location of Zuhai, a wide range of supporting infrastructure, and a deep-water port serve as a major attraction for foreign investment which reached $10 billion in 2008. This includes 19 of the the top 500 multi-nationals, including ExxonMobil, BP, Siemens, Carrefour and Matsushita. Hong Kong is the largest foreign investor in Zhuhai accounting for 22% of total foreign investment in 2002. Industrial development in Zhuhai focuses on 5 high-tech and heavy industries including electronics, computer software, biotechnology and pharmacy, machinery and equipment, as well as petrochemical industries.
Zhuhai supplied 70% of the world's printer ribbons, 60% of the after-market inkjet cartridges and 20% of third-party laser ink toner cartridges. Their combined sales were worth more than $1.3 billion dollars or 10% of all the sales in the world. Zhuhai owns a comprehensive supply chain and almost any of the raw materials needed by the printer consumables industry can be provided locally.
After lunch in Zuhai, we then travel on to Macau. Before we check in to our hotel, we tour the City of Macau.
Macau City Tour
Macau (also spelled Macao) is one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the other being Hong Kong. Macau lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta across from Hong Kong to the east, bordered by Guangdong province to the north and facing the South China Sea to the east and south. The territory's economy is heavily dependent on gambling and tourism, but also includes manufacturing.
A former Portuguese colony, Macau was administered by Portugal from the mid-16th century until 1999, when it was the last remaining European colony in Asia. China gave Portugal the right to settle in Macau in exchange for clearing the area of pirates under strict Chinese administration. Macau was the first European settlement in the Far East. It became a Portuguese colony after the treaty signed by the Qing and Portuguese governments in 1887. It was also the last, when pursuant to an agreement signed by China and Portugal in 1987, Macau became the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 20 December 1999, ending over 400 years of Portuguese administration.
|St Paul's Jesuit Convent Macau - Destroyed By Fire In 1835. Painted In 1854|
Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 1550s. In 1557, Macau was rented to Portugal by the Chinese empire as a trading Port. The Portuguese administered the city under Chinese authority and sovereignty until 1887 when Macau became a colony of the Portugues empire. Sovereignty over Macau was transferred back to China in 1999 under the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration. The declaration states that Macau will operate with a high degree of autonomy for fifty years after the transfer - until 2049.
|Ruins Of St Paul's Jesuit Convent, Macau|
Under the policy of "one country, two systems", China is responsible for the territory's defense and foreign affairs, while Macau maintains its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs and immigration policy. Macau participates in many international organizations and events that do not require members to possess national sovereignty.
According to The World Factbook, Macau has the second highest life expectancy in the world. Macau is one of the very few regions in Asia with a "very high Human Development Index", ranking 23rd or 24th in the world in 2007 with Japan being the highest in Asia. The other Asian countries/regions in the "very high HDI" category are South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Brunei. (The Human Development Index is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and income indices used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. It was created by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and the Indian economist Amartya Sen in 1990. It is published by the United Nations Human Development Program.)
In recent years, Macau's economy has bloomed rapidly due to the opening of the gambling casinos. Thousands of tourists flock to Macau each day, mainly from mainland China and neighbouring regions. As a result, the standard of living in Macau has grown significantly. In many cases it is on a par with some European countries. The tourist industry has also diversified through promoting its historic sites, culture and cuisine.
Macau's nominal GDP growth rate for 2010 and 2011 was a staggering 32.0% and 29.1% respectively. The average annual GDP growth rate over the last decade was 13.8%. Macao is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Hotel Sheraton Macao Hotel Cotai Central
If gambling is your thing, hang on to your hats! You'll be staying on one of the world's largest gambling complexes. This Sheraton has over 3,000 rooms. And it's only one of several hotels in the complex!
|Sheraton Macao Hotel Cotai Central|
We're on our own for dinner tonight. Tomorrow we take the ferry to Hong Kong and the final days of our adventure.