There’s no doubt Macau is a treasure. The special administrative region has a wealth of architecture and the suckling pigs cooked in its kitchens are riches beyond measure.
But can it really be wealthier per person than Switzerland, the land where one firm turned baby formula into the world’s biggest food company and a coastline is not a prerequisite for an America’s Cup challenge?
Apparently so, according to the Financial Times. Macau has knocked Switzerland from fourth spot in GDP rankings compiled by the World Bank, recording US$91,376 per person in 2013 compared with the US$80,528 per person the Swiss mustered. Only the citizens of Luxembourg, Norway and Qatar are wealthier on average than the Macanese. Macau has so much money that it’s been giving the stuff away, handing out cash and lifting income tax thresholds for its residents.
So what’s caused the GDP growth? Did the former Portuguese colony have a rush on its excellent salted cod or egg tarts? Or was Switzerland held down by a decline in sales of chocolate bars?
Neither. Macau was buoyed by gaming revenues that have risen to be more than seven times those of Las Vegas, the report said. Together the gambling industry brought in US$45 billion in revenues in 2013 and it’s almost sure to continue. You can bet on it.
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