Engaging with Macau’s development of the ‘smart city’


The wide effect and extensive duration of the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a extreme blow to Macau’s provider-export-oriented economic climate. Affected by vacation restrictions and social distancing steps, GDP fell by a lot more than 50 p.c in 2020 and visitor arrivals decreased by 79.6 per cent in the fourth quarter. Presently, the economic system is nevertheless on a gradual restoration route and advancement of the banking sector in Macau stays static. The pandemic had a profound effect on people’s life and on the internet commerce has become additional well known.

To adapt to the changes and velocity up the financial restoration, the Macau governing administration laid out its vision to acquire into a ‘smart city’ – an urban house that takes advantage of unique forms of know-how and electronic details to improve operational efficiency.

By grasping this possibility, ICBC (Macau) designed e-payment expert services with the purpose of marketing ‘cross-border, ‘cross-sector,’ and ‘banking devoid of borders’ expert services – overcoming obstacles and generating a new organization design for the sector.


The road to recovery
Final 12 months marked a tricky and extraordinary yr for the Macau Special Administrative Region, facing unprecedented problems from the novel coronavirus pandemic. Gaming and tourism revenues have endured the most. By contributing far more than 50 % to GDP, and building in excess of 70 per cent of government earnings, gaming and tourism is the main pillar of field in Macau. Thanks to the outbreak of the pandemic, gaming profits has fallen by 79.3 p.c for 2020 and GDP fell by 45.9 per cent in genuine terms for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Non-public usage reduced by 16.3 percent calendar year-on-12 months as residents went out considerably less and built much less outings overseas amid the outbreak and economic outlook remained unsure. All sectors of culture – ranging from modest to massive enterprises – have been greatly affected and have encountered a number of problems and worries. Irrespective of the downturn in the gaming and tourism business, unemployment rates have only risen from 1.7 % (2019 Q4) to 2.7 per cent (2020 Q4).

As COVID-19 was step by step introduced beneath handle, journey constraints were eased in August 2020. As of March 2021, customer arrivals totalled 750,000, an raise of 76.7 % thirty day period-to-month and an upsurge of 255.4 per cent calendar year-on-12 months.

Buyer demand in Macau has been unleashed and the market environment has enhanced. Gaming earnings has returned to about 40 % of its pre-pandemic stage in the to start with quarter of 2021. In March 2021, gaming earnings leapt by 58 per cent 12 months-on-12 months to $1.04bn, which is the ideal it has been considering the fact that the start off of the pandemic. As the vaccination programme carries on on, the upward development in the economic climate is anticipated to proceed (see Fig 1).

The banking business of Macau remained robust and resilient in 2020. The price of assets among community loan providers totalled $277.9bn by the conclude of 2020, soaring 10.2 p.c calendar year-on-yr, even though the running gains of the sector reached $2.14bn, representing a increase from $2.13bn by the conclude of 2019, in accordance to the Monetary Authority of Macau (AMCM).

The funds adequacy ratio remained close to 14 p.c and non-carrying out bank loan ratio underneath one percent all through 2020. However, the complete financial loan growth charge declined from 10 % to a few per cent by the stop of 2020 (see Fig 2). In addition to the classic banking small business, the banking market in Macau wants to locate new regions of advancement to sustain the industry’s momentum, such as e-payments and on the web banking.


Establishing an e-payment current market
In the city’s initially official 5-yr progress strategy, covering the period of time 2016–2020, and also Macau’s 2021 coverage handle, the authorities laid out its eyesight to develop Macau into a wise city. Cell payments are one of the big elements in turning Macau’s clever town eyesight into a truth. As said by AMCM, the metropolis has about 70,000 POS methods utilised for QR code payments (e-payments). In point, new rules have been printed to improve the enhancement of the good town considering the fact that 2019, this sort of as the cybersecurity legislation, e-governance legislation and amendments to the cybercrime prevention law. In mild of the coronavirus outbreak, bricks and mortar operations have not long ago witnessed a decline.

The governing administration also advised contactless payment and on the internet banking options in excess of conventional about-the-counter expert services for residents. Taking into account the cell payment applications at this time out there and the financial institutions that encourage e-payments in Macau, the banking companies have adopted a extra modern day and engineering-centered strategy.

Easy Fork out, a new form of payment launched by AMCM, will let consumers to use their cellular phones to scan businesses’ QR codes to pay for a provider or merchandise. Its pilot period of time for the initially phase was initiated in February 2021. Easy Pay aims to combine all sorts of e-payment prospects into one particular process, permitting organizations to accept all present payment solutions working with a solitary terminal or QR code. In advance of the adoption of Very simple Pay back, vendors would will need different devices to accept payment from various banking companies.

In 2020, Macau logged about 65.49 million world-wide-web payment transactions, involving a complete of $791.25m. AMCM would input more sources this calendar year to enhance the regional electronic monetary infrastructure. Contactless payment is predicted to continue on to grow past the pandemic.


Turning worries into alternatives
In 2020, ICBC (Macau) correctly determined the improvement development of fiscal technologies and actively executed the localisation of its e-ICBC technique. It is the first nearby financial institution to build an intelligent network, increasing the economical service ecosystem and leading the development of money technological innovation. In 2020, the number of shoppers using on-line banking and cellular banking began to boost fast.

ICBC (Macau) hence continued to advance its e-banking services and obtained beneficial success. The bank is the initial abroad ICBC Group member to launch e-payments, masking on the net e-commerce system payment situations and offline code scanning payments. The e-payment is a contactless payment remedy, growing operational effectiveness and enhancing security about common card payment procedures.

In 2020, the variety of shoppers using on the net banking and cell banking commenced to raise swiftly

Furthermore, the faucet-to-pay out attribute promotes cleanliness in mild of new gatherings with shoppers only generating get in touch with with their cellular mobile phone, lowering the probability of the virus spreading.

ICBC (Macau) continued to optimise aggregate payment products and services, developing several firsts and supplying diversified and hassle-free acquisition solutions for retailers, primary the enhancement of digital payments in Macau. ICBC (Macau) additional produced the local marketplace to enrich main competencies and sustain marketplace leadership via on line card application, mixture payments, cell payments and many other payment eventualities. The issuance of credit rating playing cards greater by five p.c in 2020.

Although the transaction sum somewhat declined by six for every cent thanks to the pandemic, it was even now earlier mentioned the common decline of 18 percent in Macau’s banking marketplace. The bank led the founding of the Macau Cross-Border E-Commerce Industry Affiliation and was honoured as a lifetime chairman, constructing a thorough platform for community cross-border e-commerce organizations.

The bank also executed the strategic transformation of clever banking and released a new edition of Cellular Banking 4., transforming the bank providers from offline to online, aiming to make improvements to services excellent and enhance customer activity. ICBC (Macau) built-in well-known retail banking goods into cell banking with several first-of-its-type capabilities in Macau, these as a person-click on transfer, ICBC Categorical, and 24/7 providers for remittance, protecting the leading place in regional mobile banking solutions.


Money ecosystem
Ultimately, ICBC (Macau) ongoing to produce impressive firms and recognized the foundation for the constant enhancement of online banking payment solutions. The financial institution released ICBC e-payment with a in depth retail transformation, producing an open up money ecosystem.

In 2020, ICBC e-payment had additional than 110,000 end users and was accessible at much more than 7,000 retailers in Macau, an boost of 140 per cent in contrast to 2019. The variety of transactions was near to three million and quantity exceeded $50m, a progress of a lot more than 200 % 12 months-on-calendar year. The lender proceeds to optimise the everyday living system in cell banking and launched an on line software interface for SMEs to strengthen processing effectiveness and meet customer wants.

The very last 12 months have tested the resolve of the banking marketplace, and ICBC (Macau) has risen to the appreciable worries by committing thoroughly to the e-commerce and contactless payment industry in Macau and assuming social duty for Macau’s put up-pandemic financial restoration.

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