Macau, or Macao, is one of two special administrative regions of China, alongside Hong Kong. By the end of last century, Macau was the only European colony in Asia. However, in 199 Portugal transferred sovereignty to China. Currently, the People’s Republic of China is in charge with Macau’s foreign affairs and defence matters, while the region maintains its own police force, monetary and legal systems, as well as customs and immigration policies. Its population of almost 600,000 people has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Macau’s is also the world’s most populated region.
The region has a subtropical climate, with two main seasons with noticeable temperature differences. The humid climate is also influenced by monsoons, typhoons, thunderstorms and ample rainfall, especially during summer months, which lasts from the beginning of June till end of September.
Macau’s economy is largely dependent on tourism, gambling, and garment manufacturing. Banking, financial services, and the hospitality sectors are the best developed industries in the region. Macau’s major export is represented by textile and clothing. The local currency is the Macanese pataca (MOP), which is pegged with the Hong Kong dollar.
There are two official languages in Macau: Chinese and Hong Kong. However, the local population speaks a myriad of other languages, including Macanese (commonly referred to as Patua) and Cantonese. Even though Portuguese is an official language, it is not widely spoken and there is currently only one education institution in the whole region where classes are taught in Portuguese.