Macau or Macao (English: /məˈk/ (listen); Portuguese: [mɐˈkaw]; Chinese: 澳門, Cantonese: [ōu.mǔːn]), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR),[lower-alpha 5] is a city and special administrative region of China in the western Pearl River Delta by the South China Sea. With a population of about 680,000[11] and an area of 32.9 km2 (12.7 sq mi), it is the most densely populated region in the world.

Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China
Cantonese Yale romanisation:Jūng'wàh Yàhnmàhn Guhng'wòhgwok Oumún Dahkbiht Hàhngjingkēui
Portuguese:Região Administrativa Especial de Macau da República Popular da China
Location of Macau within China
Location of Macau within China
Sovereign stateChina
Portuguese lease1557
Treaty of Peking1 December 1887
Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration26 March 1987
Transfer from Portugal20 December 1999
Largest parish
by population
Nossa Senhora de Fátima
Official languages
Ethnic groups
88.4% Han Chinese
4.6% Filipino
2.4% Vietnamese
1.7% Portuguese
2.8% Others[3]
Demonym(s)Macau[lower-alpha 3]
GovernmentDevolved executive-led government within a unitary one-party state[6]
Ho Iat-seng
André Cheong Weng-chon
Kou Hoi In
Sam Hou Fai
LegislatureLegislative Assembly
National representation
12 deputies
29 delegates[7]
115.3 km2 (44.5 sq mi)
 Water (%)
Highest elevation172.4 m (565.6 ft)
 2021 estimate
21,340/km2 (55,270.3/sq mi) (1st)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
Decrease $40.4 billion[8]
 Per capita
Decrease $57,929
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
Decrease $23.4 billion
 Per capita
Decrease $33,608
Gini (2013)35[9]
HDI (2019)Increase 0.922[lower-alpha 4]
very high · 17th
CurrencyMacanese pataca (MOP)
Time zoneUTC+08:00 (Macau Standard Time)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Mains electricity220 V–50 Hz
Driving sideleft
Calling code+853
ISO 3166 code
Internet TLD
Licence plate prefixesNone for local vehicles, 粤Z for cross-boundary vehicles

Formerly a Portuguese colony, the territory of Portuguese Macau was first leased to Portugal as a trading post by the Ming dynasty in 1557. Portugal paid an annual rent and administered the territory under Chinese sovereignty until 1887. Portugal later gained perpetual colonial rights in the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking. The colony remained under Portuguese rule until 1999, when it was transferred to China. Macau is a special administrative region of China, which maintains separate governing and economic systems from those of mainland China under the principle of "one country, two systems".[12] The unique blend of Portuguese and Chinese architecture in the city's historic centre led to its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005.[13]

Originally a sparsely populated collection of coastal islands,[14] Macau, often referred to as the "Las Vegas of the East", has become a major resort city and a top destination for gambling tourism, with a gambling industry seven times larger than that of Las Vegas.[15] The city has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, US$43,770 in 2021,[16] and its GDP per capita by purchasing power parity is one of the highest in the world.[17][18] It has a very high Human Development Index, as calculated by the Macau government,[10] and the fourth-highest life expectancy in the world.[19] The territory is highly urbanised; two-thirds of the total land area is built on land reclaimed from the sea.[20]

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