Until 1911, there was no commercial association organized for businessmen of Macao. Whenever accidents or problems arose, the collective discussion for resolution took place at Kiang Wu Hospital.
In 1911, in view of the fact that the Chinese businessmen were on the increase in Macao, Mr. Shiu Ying-chau, a Chinese merchant, jointly with other businessmen initiated to organize a chamber of commerce and presented the project to the Macao Government of that time. Consequently on December 14, 1912, the Lisbon Government approved the chamber’s registration by the name of “Macao Chamber of Commerce”.
The Chamber was officially established the next year under the first directorship of Mr. Shiu Ying-chau; with Tong Sin Tong as the provisional office. Later it moved to an estate owned by the Hong Kung Temple Council at no. 4, Rue do Pagoda. In the meantime, the Chamber was also approved for registration by the then Chinese Government Department of Industry and Commerce under the name of “Macao Overseas Chinese General Chamber of Commerce”. In 1916, it was officially designated the “Macao Chinese General Chamber of Commerce” (also known as “Macao Chamber of Commerce”).
In 1930, Mr. Lo Chak Sun was elected Director of the Chamber, and Mr. Wong Yee Chiu as Vice-Director. As the Chamber’s office at Rua do Pagoda was too old and small, it was agreed to raise funds and purchase the premises at no. 18, Largo do Leal Senado.
Since 1932, Mr. Fan Kit Pan was Director of the Chamber. In 1935 the system of Directorship was changed to Chairmanship and Mr. Fan took up office as Director and Chairman for seven consecutive terms. For the purpose of commercial development, commodities exhibitions were usually held inside the Chamber.
In 1941, Mr. Ko Hor Ning was elected Chairman of the Chamber. In the same year, the Commercial Inquiry Office and the CommercialSchool were established, lasting for one year.
Between 1946 and 1947, Mr. Lau Pak Ying was elected Chairman for two consecutive terms. In 1948, the Chamber began a system of Boards of Directors and Supervisors, under which Mr. Lau Pak Ying was elected as the first Chairman while Mr. Ho Yin and Mr. Wong Wai Lam were Vice-Chairmen of the Board of Directors
In spring 1947, the Mandarin Research Class was established. In 1948, Mr. Ho Yin donated the whole building at Bajiaoting Praia Grande for the establishment of a Reading Room in commemoration of his late mothers Madame Tang and Madam Leung. The Reading Room was opened on November 1, 1948.
In spring 1949, the Commercial Training Class was launched, including the courses of book-keeping, abacus calculating and letter writing. The original Mandarin Research Class was also integrated into the Chinese Class.
In 1950, Mr. Ho Yin was elected Chairman while Mr. Chau Chi Tat and Mr. Ma Man Kei were elected Vice-Chairmen of the Chamber. In 1956, the term of directors and supervisors was extended to two years base. In 1968, the system of Boards of Directors and Supervisors was changed into a Council system which then in 1980 changed again into that of a General Committee. During the period from 1950 to 1983, Mr. Ho Yin was consecutively elected Chairman of Board of Directors/Council/General Committee for eighteen terms and President for two terms. For more than thirty years he had been directing the Chamber affairs, devoting efforts and donation, and making great contributions to the Chamber. Meanwhile, Mr. Ma Man Kei since 1950, Mr. Chui Tak Kei since 1953 and Mr. Cheng Kung since 1968, had been the associate heads assisting Mr. Ho Yin in the leadership of the Chamber affairs with all their efforts.
On December 6, 1983, President Ho Yin died of cancer after a great number of treatments that failed to save his life. During his whole life, Mr. Ho Yin had been adhering firmly to his patriotic standing and showing great concerns for the reunification of the mother country. He made remarkable contributions to the development of the Chamber as well as the social stability and economic prosperity of Macao. His death was then a big loss to the society of Macao and the Chamber.
In April 1984, Mr. Ma Man Kei was elected President of the Chamber. He was reelected as President in 1986 under the restructured system of a General Committee and Board of Supervisors. Since then, Mr. Ma Man Kei had been President of the Chamber in successive years. Mr. Chui Tak Kei, Mr. Ho Hau Wah, Mr. Hoi Sai Iun, Mr. Peter Pan, Mr. Roque Choi, Mr. Tou Hoi Iu and The Macao Chinese Enterprises Association were Vice-Presidents. Mr. Cheng Kun, Mr. Yau Shing-Cheung and Bank of China (Macao Branch) were Presidents of the Board of Supervisors successively.
In 2000, the organizational structure of the Chamber altered again. The new structure consists of three ranks: the Presidents of Chamber, the Board of Directors and the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Ma Man Kei was elected President again while Mr. Chui Tak Kei, Mr. Peter Pan, Mr. Roque Choi, The Macao Chinese Enterprises Association, Mr. Liu Chak Wan and Mr. Ng Wing Lok were Vice-Presidents of the Chamber. Mr. Hoi Sai Iun took up the Presidentship of the Board of Directors along with Mr. Ma Iao Lai, Mr. Chui Sai Cheong, Mr. Kou Hoi In, Miss Ho Teng Iat, Mr. Chui Yuk Lam and Nam Kwong (Group) Co., Ltd. as Vice-Presidents of the Board of Directors responsible for the routine tasks of the Chamber. The President of the Board of Supervisors was Bank of China (Macao Branch). Since then, the old, the middle-aged and the young in the new leadership of the Chamber shared out the work and cooperated with one another while bringing in new elements and innovative ideas to the Chamber so that dynamic atmosphere was spreading out over the Chamber affairs.
In 2010, the 78th general assembly of the Chamber was held, where were the 68th Presidents, members of the Board of Directors and Board of Supervisors born. Mr. Ma Iao Lai was elected President of the Chamber, with Mr. Liu Chak Wan, Mr. Ho Iat Seng, The Macao Chinese Enterprises Association, Mr. Chui Sai Cheong, Mr. Ho Hau Tong, Mr. Fong Chi Keong, Mr. Ngan In Leng and Ms. Ho Chiu King as Vice-Presidents. Mr. Kou Hoi In took Presidentship of the Board of Directors together with Ms. Ho Teng Iat, Mr. Chui Yuk Lum, Mr. Jose Chui, Mr. Lam Kam Seng, Mr. U Kin Cho, Mr. Vong Kok Seng, Nam Kwong (Group) Co., Ltd., Mr. Lao Ngai Leong, Ms. Lo Tak Wah, Mr. Frederico Ma, Ms. Ho Pui Fan, Mr. Vong Su Sam and Mr. Ho Fu Keong as Vice-Presidents of Board of Directors responsible for leadership of routine affairs of the Chamber. Mr. Cheang Chi Keong was elected the President of Board of Supervisors, with Mr. Lei Loi Tak, Mr. Lei Peng Fu, Mr. Mok Kuan Iek, Mr. Tam Pak Yip, Mr. Chong Sio Kin, Mr. Antonio Ferreira, Mr. Leong Wa and Mr. Chan Siu Hung as Vice-Presidents of Board of Supervisors.
New strides were made in the latest re-election of the Chamber in respect of transmission and innovation, which were mainly embodied in such aspects:
Further enhancement of solidarity among the business community. The present leadership consists of more than 50 young talents from business community; number of Presidents and members of Board of Directors and Supervisors have increased to 153 from the previous 110, thus the organizational structure is further perfected.
The term of office of the highest leadership has been provided; President, Presidents of Board of Directors and Board of Supervisors of the Chamber shall not remain more than two consecutive terms of the same office.
The inauguration ceremony of the 68th Presidents, Presidents of Board of Directors and Board of Supervisors took place on September 23, 2010. Guests attended were Mr. Du Qinglin, the Vice-Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, Mr. Chui Sai On, Chief Executive of Macao Special Administrative Region, Mr. Ho Hau Wah, Vice-Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Mr. Bai Zhijian, Director General of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Macao Special Administrative Region, Mr. Lu Shumin, Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in the Macao Special Administrative Region, etc.
A delegation headed by President Ma Iao Lai paid a three-day visit to Beijing during May 10 to 12, 2011 for the purpose of deepening understanding of the country’s relevant policies among the Chamber and Macao business community, promoting exchanges and grasping commercial opportunities. Moreover, the visit also endeavored to promote regional cooperation, driving Macao to develop in the direction of appropriate economic diversification and building it into a world tourism and leisure center. The delegation group had the honor of a cordial meeting with Vice-President Xi Jinping, who brought forward “Four Hopes” for the Chamber:
During the stay in Beijing, the delegation members visited All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, Ministry of Commerce PRC and Office of the Macao Special Administrative Region in Beijing.
Under the co-operative efforts of the executives and members in the recent six decades, the Chamber’s affairs had been developing continually with increasingly deep and wide influence, of which, some more prominent aspects are as follows:
1. Assisting businessmen of Macao in trade developing, providing commercial services, and maintaining proper rights of the industrial and commercial sectors.
The Chamber highly values the development of trade with China and foreign countries. In 1951, the Chamber organized representatives from the industrial and commercial sectors to visit the South China Native Produce Exhibition in Guangzhou and joined the trading activities in Hupei Province. In 1957, the China Export Commodities Fair was inaugurated in Guangzhou for the first time. Since then, the Chamber has been mandated for the issuance of invitations for every Spring Fair and Autumn Fair to businessmen in Macao. The Chamber also assists the business community in organizing delegations to the Fair. On the grand occasion of the 60th, 70th, 80th, 90th,100th and 110th Anniversaries of the Fair, the Chamber all sent representatives to participate in the ceremonies. On the 30th Anniversary, the Chamber was awarded a certificate of honor for its continuous efforts in maintaining close and friendly relationship between the two parties. In the “Seminar in Commemoration of the 100th China Export Commodities Fair”, Mr. Hoi Sai Iun was invited to deliver an address, and was presented a “Centenary Outstanding Contribution Award”.
The Chamber has been organizing delegations to countries all over the world throughout the years, aiming to learn more about the global business environment and attract foreign investments in favor of Macao’s economic development. For instance, the Chamber’s delegations paid visits to Africa in August 1962, Portugal and several European countries in May 1981, Portugal and Spain in June 1992, Thailand and Myanmar in December 1997, Singapore and Malaysia in August 1998 and Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia again in June 2002 to present the latest economic status of Macao after its handover to motherland.
To enhance the growth of the industrial and commercial sectors of Macao, the Chamber would organize an industrial and commercial seminar after the Chinese Lunar New Year every year since the 1970s. Representatives from different industrial sectors and prominent figures in the industrial and commercial fields have been invited to make speeches there. The seminars have been proved to be very successful in comprehending the operating conditions of the business sectors and to exchange business experiences. Recently, related authorities are invited to attend those seminars too. The essence of the seminar, thereafter, is collected in books and delivered to the related organs of the government for reference. Generally, those comments and suggestions are highly valued by the departments concerned. Besides, all information of the seminar is available on the Chamber’s website for the convenience of the general public.
After the establishment of Macao Special Administrative Region, the Chamber has been actively helping the Macao SAR Government in learning more about the circumstances of the business environment. From February 15 to March 6, 2000, the Chamber leaders had visited more than 20 industrial and commercial associations in order to collect opinions and comments about the current situation. The Chamber later arranged those essential information into a booklet entitled “Generously Working for The Macao SAR Government: Collective Ideas from The Industrial and Commercial Sectors”, which was then submitted to Mr. Ho Hau Wah, the Chief Executive of the Macao SAR for reference in formulating related governmental policies.
The Chamber serves its members comprehensively too. It issues certificate of origins and handles all overseas commercial correspondence while providing different kinds of services and organizing commercial seminars and symposiums. In addition, it assists the members in applying commercial visas to the United States of America and Canada. All these services are in favor of the local trade development.
The Chamber vigorously supports the activities in promoting Macao SAR. It has been participating in the “Macao International Trade and Investment Fair” (MIF) organized by Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute since the very beginning. Furthermore, it has organized delegations or appoints representatives for the government delegations many a time to visit a variety of countries such as Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Monaco, Republic of Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Indonesia, and many provinces of China such as Shenzhen, Xiamen, Beijing, Yiwu, Hainan, Chaozhou, Shantou, Chongqing, Lanzhou, Yinchuan, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Kunming, Inner Mongolia and Taiwan, etc. respectively for promotion of Macao.
The Chamber frequently reflects the opinions and suggestions from the industrial and commercial sectors to the government in response to the application of business laws whenever they cause difficulties to trades. Moreover, with reference to all significant affairs involving Macao, the Chamber will assemble conferences for discussion and negotiation in the light of the situation.
2. Participating in political discussions and public affairs
Before the return of Macao to China, several leading members of the Chamber were already holding public offices of legislators or committee members in the related organs of the time, including the Legislative Assembly, the Consultative Council, Leal Senado, the Economic Consultative Committee, the Income Tax Evaluation Committee, the Consumer Council, and the Regular Council for Social Coordination, etc. They went all out to reflect the ideas and to claim directly every legal right and interest for the people of Macao and those of the commercial and industrial sectors to ensure the steady development of the economy.
After Macao’s handover, the Chamber has been immensely supporting the principles of “One Country, Two Systems” and “Macao People Governing Macao”, and the policies adopted by the Macao SAR Government to ensure that they are working successfully. Several members of the Chamber have taken offices of legislators, committee members and consultants respectively in such public organs as the Executive Council, the Legislative Assembly, the Economic Consultative Committee, the Social Co-ordination Regular Council, the Social Security Fund, the Statistic Consultative Committee, the Income Tax Evaluation Committee, the Macao Productivity and Technology Transfer Center and its Quality Club, GSl Macau-Associação de Identificação e Codificação de Produtos, the Consumer Arbitration Center, the Civil and Municipal Affair Bureau, the Industrial Property Right Concerning Committee, the Advisory Committee for Urban Renewal, Comissão para o Desenvolvimento de Convenções e Exposições (Committee for the Development of Conventions and Exhibitions), Comissão para o Desenvolvimento do Sector Logístico (Committee for the Development of Logistics Industry), Conselho para as Indústrias Culturais (The Committee of Cultural Industries), and Macao-Zhuhai Economic Exchange Workshop Conference, etc.
3. Involving actively in the work of public affairs and social welfares
The Chamber holds strong mission to serve its society. By the end of 1958, the Chamber and some other organizations called on the authorities of Guangdong and Zhongshan to look for resolution for the problem of water supply in Macao. Consequently, it was agreed that a reservoir at Zhuxiandong and a reservoir at Yinkeng would be built specifically for the water supply to Macao. To cope with the rapid increment in Macao’s population in the recent years, the Macao Water Supply Co., Ltd. obtained two new sources of water supply from Dajingshan Reservoir and Nanpinghe of Zhuhai Special Economic Zone. As a result, the long-disturbing problem of water supply in Macao was accordingly settled.
The Chamber takes part in all types of social activities and raises funds for the needy from time to time. Some prominent examples are listed below:
In 1950, people from all walks of life in Macao subscribed funds to rebuild the wooden houses for the fire victims at the district of Ilha Verde. In the following year, the Chamber initiated the establishment of the “Qingzhou Common People Learning School” (Then renamed The Qingzhou Primary School). As the landowner of the school site in Ilha Verde, the Ko Hor Ning family later agreed to donate that piece of land to the Chamber unconditionally. Such deed of great generosity was highly appreciated at that time. In 1955, the Chamber engaged in the relief work for the unemployed, the poor compatriots and fire victims of the Ilha Verde district. In 1957, the Chamber participated in the relief work for typhoon victims at the location of the former Race Course as well as the fire victims at Avenida do Almirante Lacerda. In 1961, the Chamber’s relief work was carried out for compatriots at Seak Chai Toi of Ilha Verde. In 1979, the Chamber offered its helping hands to the fire victims at Lam Mau Tong through a fund-raising campaign.
For a long period of time, the Chamber was responsible for issuance of the “Home-going Permit” to the compatriots of Macao. During every Ching Ming Festival, the Chamber would assist those compatriots with their visits to the ancestors’ tombs in China.
Under its service objectives, the Chamber, striving for rational problem solving, has been playing active roles in reconciliation against various labor disputes, business arguments and complaints.
Furthermore, the Chamber has been making its greatest efforts for the social welfares on education, student aid, philanthropy and health care issues such as supporting and raising funds for the charity organizations like Tong Sin Tong, Kiang Wu Hospital Charitable Association and the Charity Fund from the Readers of Macao Daily News. Meanwhile, active responses have been initiated from ACM to the fund-raising activities for unemployment relief and the new office building construction project for Macao Federation of Trade Unions besides the “Hope Primary School Program” in inland China.
Based on the patriotism of “blood is thick than water”, the Chamber is always helpful in times of difficulties. During the catastrophic floods in areas of southern and eastern China, the disastrous earthquakes in Lijiang Yunnan, Zhang Jia Kou Hebei, Wenchuan Sichuan, Yushu Qinghai and Taiwan province, the Chamber immediately launched donation campaigns for the victims among committee members, members of Board of Directors and Board of Supervisors as well as people from both industrial and commercial sectors, and had got encouraging results.
4. Raising funds for the Reconstruction Project of the Chamber Tower and ensuring a stable financial framework of the Chamber
To cope with the rapid development of the Chamber, it was decided in 1957 that the 3-floor office building of the Chamber at Leal Senado would be reconstructed. The project was then completed on September 25, 1958.
The operation of the Chamber and its subsidiary departments required large amount of money. Every year, Mr. Ho Yin and some other social philanthropists offered to offset the deficit of the Chamber. As proposed by President Ho Yin in view of the situation, a fund-raising campaign was initiated for the Reconstruction Project of the Chamber Tower. It was planned that a 15-floor building would be reconstructed on the original premises. Several floors would be reserved for the Chamber while the remaining would be kept as the Chamber’s properties. As a result, a sum of more than $7,000,000 (MOP & HKD) was collected. At the end of 1978, the Chamber submitted the blueprint of the new building to the relevant government authorities for approval. However, much of the Chamber’s regret that the proposal was turned down by the Portuguese Government the next year on account of a “conservation area of cultural relics” where the site of the building was located within.
After negotiations for several years, the Chamber was granted a lease of land by the government on May 11, 1987. The land which covered an area of 1,780 sq. meters was located at Av. do Dr. Rodrigo Rodrigues, ZAPE, Macau. The Reconstruction Project was finally approved and a brand new 19-storey building entitled “the Macao Chamber of Commerce Tower” (Edificio De ACM) would be built. The Chamber would occupy several floors for its own office use while the rest will be designed for other commercial usage. On July 28, 1991, the new building was completed and inaugurated by General Vasco Rocha Vieira, the Governor of Macao, Mr. Guo Dong-po, the Director of Xinhua News Agency (Macao Branch), and several other honorable guests.
In August 1994, the old Chamber office at Leal Senado started its reconstruction too. As one of the Chamber’s properties, the new 5-floor “China Commercial Building” (Edificio Comercial China) was completed and reopened on January 15 1996.
The completion and inauguration of The Macao Chamber of Commerce Tower and China Commercial Building not only signified the booming situation of the Chamber, but also laid a good foundation for its further development.
5. Organizing cultural and recreational activities and developing member welfares
In the late 1960s, the Chamber began to expand its cultural and recreational activities, sports events and sightseeing tours for its members and people among industrial and commercial sectors. Cultural and recreational activities such as gathering parties in types of Cantonese opera, concert or dancing; Sports activities such as football and basketball games, Chinese chess and table tennis competitions were held. The table-tennis competition has been held successively for twelve years. It had once been terminated and then resumed in 1997. Today, the “Business Cup” table-tennis team event taking place once every two years is participated actively by teams from different trades and gets good response.
The Chamber has been arranging tourist trips to most places in Southeast Asia, Japan, Europe and America, etc. since 1976.
In recent years, in order to enhance communication and exchange between the association members and mainland, the chamber has organized China tour every year specifically for association members, which not only strengthens the cohesive force inside the Chamber, but also intensifies the links and cooperation between the local business community and inland China. Besides, tourist trips visiting Guangdong and outside Guangdong designed for ACM members and families have been held twice a year. The lines have covered Xiaolan, Jiangmen, Xinhui, Enping, Foshan, Panyu, Taishan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Kunming, Yangtze Gorges, Shaoguan, Chaozhou, shantou, Hainan, Xiamen, Shanghai and Hangzhou Yiwu, etc. In general, the participants are very satisfied with the programs and services of such trips. Moreover, visit and tour programs specially designed for the elder members are also developed in recent years, aiming to boost contacts among the elder members and flourish their leisure life, also proved to be much welcomed by participants.
In January 1989, the Chamber issued its first publication “The Newsletter of ACM”. Since then, it has been published quarterly and has unceasingly served as a communication channel between the Chamber and its members till now.
In October 1996, in consideration of the importance of internet information in favor of business services for members and the general public, the Chamber launched its website (http://www.acm.org.mo). From this site, browsers are able to obtain essential information about the Chamber. Besides, the Chamber also set up an “Information Room” for its members in 2000 where different bulletins, statistical information and publications of the Macao SAR Government, the information concerning international industrial and commercial institutions as well as free Internet access service are provided.
For all the years, the Chamber has been working for the benefits of its members. In 1992, the Chamber first issued the “Membership Card” for members, with which, each member would be entitled to special privileges upon presenting the “Membership Card” to the listed shops, numbered in nearly 300. This service was much welcomed and would be subject to further improvement.
In addition, the Chamber has occasionally organized cultural activities with Yu Un Chinese Calligraphy and Painting Association of Macao and the Guangzhou Educational Fund in the past. The previous events included “Li Xiong Cai’s Chinese Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition”, “Ou Chu’s Chinese Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition” and “Guan Shan Yue’s Chinese Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition”. Besides, it also took part in the “Macao Basic Law Special Topic Photographic Competition” launched by the Macao Basic Law Promotion Committee. Meanwhile, different types of symposiums or seminars were organized for the enrichment of cultural life among members and the Macao residents. In order to greet Beijing Olympic Games, an event scheduled to walk around the Guia jogging trail entitled “Join together to welcome Beijing Olympics” was held on May 10, 2008 at the recreational square of Guia Hill, attended by more than a thousand people including ACM’s association members and business communities, along with the teachers and students of the two subsidiary schools.
6. Recruitment of new members
In June 1970, the Chamber launched several campaigns to recruit new members. As a result, 1,030 shop-members and 246 individual members had been recruited. In June 1978, the Chamber successfully recruited 340 units of permanent members via the permanent membership recruitment campaign.
So far as the number of any types of members is concerned, there are usually around 80 to 90 units entering the Chamber annually.
By the end of 2012, the number of permanent and ordinary association members, shop-members and individual members are expected to total more than 3,000 units, of which the association members takes up to 130 units and more.
7. Development of youth and women affairs in business community
In July 1977, the Chamber established a Youth Section (later named as The Youth Committee). The Committee introduced new blood for the development of the Chamber’s affairs and became the pioneer of youth affairs among the communities of Macao. Over the past 30 years, The Youth Committee, under the leadership of all previous directors, has done a lot of work beneficial and constructive to the Chamber, thus enjoying high reputation while being praised by the Chamber’s Board members and identified by the society. It actively took part in all kinds of public activities, such as hosting seminars and social activities, organizing trips to visit foreign countries, participating in various types of social welfare affairs, receiving business trips from abroad, promoting the Basic Law of Macao SAR, backing and participating in the preparatory work for the handover of Macao.
The Women Committee was set up in 2000 to keep up with social development. It was designed to enhance communication among its female members and other business women, to boost contacts among local, mainland and overseas women organizations. Since its establishment, The Women Committee has organized various types of seminars and liaison activities. Visit groups and delegations were sent to a number of places and areas such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shunde, Panyu and Zhuhai, etc. Meanwhile, a great many reception work have been done for women visitors from abroad. The women Committee’s endeavors have facilitated the chamber’s connection with the relevant units, and also dedicated to the promotion and publicity of Macao SAR.
8. Arranging receptions for foreign guests and visits to foreign countries.
To cope with the constant industrial and commercial development of Macao SAR, the Chamber has increased its liaison with foreign countries. While being responsible for various receptions to greet industrial and commercial delegations from abroad, the consulate generals or commercial counselors in Hong Kong, the Chamber has also signed a number of agreements of friendship and cooperation with foreign business associations, an effort to push forward the local economic and trade cooperation with external parties.
On April 18, 1987, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Portugal Prof. Cavao Silva paid an official visit to Macao after the signing of the “The Joint Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Portugal on the Question of Macao”. Prime-Minister Cavao Silva was imperially welcomed upon arrival at the Chamber that day.
In 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996 and 2006, delegations led by the President and Vice-Presidents of the Chamber, Mr. Ma Man Kei, Mr. Chui Tak Kei, Mr. Hoi Sai Iun and Mr. Peter Pan departed for Singapore to convey congratulations to the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry for their 60th, 70th, 80th, 90th and 100th anniversaries.
Since 1970, delegations have been sent by ACM to the grand celebration activities of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong from its 70th to 100th, the 105th and 110th anniversaries respectively.
In 1991, the Chamber started sending delegations to The International Chinese Entrepreneurs Convention founded by Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce. From the 1st to 11th conventions, members of those delegations had successively traveled to Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Vancouver, Australia, Nanjing, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Singapore. Participation in such conferences helped deepen the mutual understanding among the Chinese entrepreneurs in different parts of the world and promote the development of Macao’s foreign trade.
Since the Macao SAR Government has tended to foster good relationships with different institutions over China provinces and regions with Macao’s handover and China’s “Reform and Opening-up”, reception of various business delegations from all over the world thus becomes duties of the Chamber in order to promote Macao and its business environment. The Chamber has already signed numerous friendly agreements with many of the industrial and commercial institutions from different provinces and autonomous regions of China.
9. Holding different kinds of festivities and Chamber anniversary celebration series
Every year on the October-1 National Day of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Chamber holds banquets and receptions for celebration. At the same time, the Chamber also assists the “Preparatory Committee of the Macao Compatriots Celebrating the Founding of PRC” in organizing special events and activities for the celebration, such as lending the Chamber’s facilities for the Preparatory Committee as office and selecting delegates to the related National Day events.
Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, in the name of a great union of local compatriots, a “Preparatory Committee of the Macao Compatriots Celebrating National Day” was formed by Macao’s patriotic communities for total coordination of National Day activities. The Chamber had enthusiastically coordinated with the Committee in every project while lending venues free for the Committee’s office use and providing necessary manpower. In August 19, 2005, the standing committee of the Preparatory Committee of the Macao Compatriots Celebrating National Day came to a resolution that the historical mission of coordinating the overall National Day activities by the Preparatory Committee would come to an end, and all the celebration coordination work would be totally organized by the Macao SAR government from that time onwards.
Since the handover of Macao, the Chamber holds a cocktail reception for every anniversary of the establishment of Macao SAR. Attended by celebrities and representatives from all walks of life, the celebration events are full of warm atmosphere.
On every Lunar New Year Day prior to 2005, the Chamber would hold a greetings gathering to celebrate the Chinese New Year all together.
On the occasions of the 50th, 60th, 70th, 75th, 80th, 85th, 90th and 95th Anniversaries of the founding of Macao Chamber of Commerce in 1963, 1973, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008, banquets, gathering parties, and receptions were held for common celebrations. Local and overseas guests of honor were invited to share the joy at that moment. In celebrating the 90th anniversary of ACM, it was a great honor for the Chamber to be bestowed the valuable works of calligraphy by President Jiang Zhemin and Premier Li Peng for the special issue commemorating the 90th anniversary; likewise, the celebration reception was attended by Chairman Li Ruihuan of CPPCC. All the staff of ACM were cheerful about that.
10. Keep improving the work of subsidiary departments for better social services
The Chamber’s Reading Room was founded in 1948. At present, it has a collection of over 20,000 books and subscription of more than 90 different magazines and Chinese/English newspapers annually. According to some updated statistics, the annual number of visits reaches 68,000 and more while frequency of books and magazines borrowing amounting to 5,000. The Reading Room serves not only the members of the Chamber but the general public too.
Seong Fan Evening Middle School, the former Commercial Training Class, was founded in 1947 by the Chamber. The school not only provided secondary education to those juveniles at appropriate age and deprived of schooling, but also enabled numbers of working youth to obtain opportunities to resume secondary education. In the 2012/2013 academic year, there are about 300 students studying in 11 teaching classes in the school, of which eight are senior secondary and three are junior secondary. Since August 1997, Seong Fan Evening Middle School started to join the 9-year free education system with the sanction of the government. And then it turned into recurrent education in the 2007/2008 academic year. The joining to the network has helped greatly reduce the burdens on students and parents.
The Qingzhou Primary School, originally named the Qingzhou Common People Learning School, was founded in 1951. In the current 2012/2013 academic year, the school has an enrollment of nearly 400 students forming 18 teaching classes, of which six are kindergartens and twelve are primary classes. In August 1995, the Qingzhou Primary School was permitted by the government to join the 9-year free education system. Despite the shortage of schooling admissions in the secondary schools in recent years, the previous Qingzhou graduates could still successfully get their places in different secondary schools. Many of them also achieved comparatively good academic performance.
To further upgrade the educational quality and schooling environment, members of the Boards of Directors of the two schools repeatedly negotiated with the government and reflected the existing conditions. In September 2000, as informed by the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau, the Macao SAR government promised to hand over a 5-storey building at Av. Do Dr. Francisco Vieira Machado, No. 539 to Seong Fan Evening Middle School for the use of premises. Afterwards Seong Fan officially moved to the new school site in September 2002. Furthermore, the Chamber decided to rebuild the Ilha Verde Primary School. Upon receiving legal permission from the government, Ilha Verde Primary School started its reconstruction on November 12, 2001 and was completed by the 2002/2003 academic year. As a result, the problems concerning the premises of the two schools were finally solved. The inaugurations of these two premises signified the Chamber’s new commitments in the novel era of the SAR.
11. Participating in the work of Macao’s handover and formation of the SAR Government.
On April 13, 1987, The Joint Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Portugal on the question of Macao was signed. The following year, The Drafting Committee and The Consultative Committee of the Basic Law of the Macao SAR were formed respectively. Leading members of the Chamber such as Mr. Ma Man Kei, Mr. Chui Tak Kei and Mr. Ho Hau Wah, etc, were appointed key members of the two Committees. On March 31, 1993, the 8th National People’s Congress at its 1st Session adopted The Basic Law of the Macao SAR. On May 5, 1998, the Preparatory Committee of the Macao SAR was officially established in Beijing. Mr. Ma Man Kei and Mr. Ho Hau Wah were appointed Vice-Chairmen of the Committee while Mr. Chui Tak Kei and Mr. Hoi Sai Iun and several others of the Chamber were appointed members of the Preparatory Committee. All of them had devoted themselves to the establishment work of the Macao SAR.
The return of Macao’s sovereignty to the motherland symbolized the next meaningful milestone to the history of the Chinese nation following the handover of Hong Kong. This represented one more victory of the great conceptions of “One Country, Two Systems” and “Macao People Governing Macao”. During the different stages of the transition period, the Chamber staff spared no efforts and worked conscientiously for a steady transition and smooth handover of sovereignty as well as carrying out the preparatory programs of the new SAR government. Their contributions included: Establishing a “Concern Group for Macao’s Handover” and holding seminars for discussion on the handover issue; publicity of significant messages via the special column in the Chamber’s website to the public and collecting opinions to the Preparatory Committee of the Macao SAR; Participating in the Formation Consultative Conference on the selection of the 1st Government of Macao SAR and giving suggestion as how to produce Selection Committee; and forming a “Working Committee for Celebrations of Macao’s Handover” to schedule different kinds of celebration events and activities. Such events included the issuance of First Day Covers, holding celebration receptions, the coordination of more than 500 people from industrial and commercial sectors to welcome the People’s Liberation Army marching into and stationed at Macao, participation in the grand festooned vehicle parade with a decorated vehicle entitled “Prosperity in All Trades”, construction of a “Monument for Mr. Ho Yin” inside the Ho Yin Garden, and so on. Moreover, in order to assist the “Activity Committee of Macao Compatriots in Celebration of Macao’s Handover”, the Chamber offered four units on the 7th Floor of the Chamber’s building free for the Committee’s office use while providing manpower needed.
Another delightful event to celebrate was that Mr. Ho Hau Wah, the former Vice-President of the Chamber, successfully won the election and was appointed by the Central Government as the 1st Chief Executive of the Macao SAR of the People’s Republic of China.
12 Active promotion of regional cooperation to cope with the SAR Government’s economic policies; joining in international chambers of commerce so that the “ATA CARNET” system can be put into practice in Macao for realization of appropriate economic diversification.
With the deepening development of economic globalization and integration of regional economy, further intensifying regional cooperation and broadening foreign ties have become key measures to boost economy and cultural development as well as enhance competitiveness. Therefore, the Government of Macao SAR has been making every effort to carry out a foreign policy of “Associating with the Distant Countries and Integrating with the Near Ones” since its establishment, pushing forward and participating in the regional cooperation for mutual benefit while building Macao “A Service Platform of Economic Cooperation”. Under China’s 12th Five-Year Plan and with the great support of the Central Government, the SAR Government has endeavored to make Macau a “World Center of Tourism and Leisure” and “An Economic Cooperation Platform between the People’s Republic of China and Countries of the Portuguese-Speaking World”, through which Macao is expected to achieve appropriate diversification in its economic development. The Chamber has been playing an active role in coordination with this policy by joining the conference mechanism of “Joint Meeting of Pan-PRD Chambers of Commerce”, “Joint Meeting of Pan-PRD Trade Promotion Organizations” and the “High-level Round Table Meeting among Chambers of Commerce in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao” so that the regional collaboration of “complementary advantages and mutual benefit” can be motivated and deepened. In the meantime, by virtue of the implementation of CEPA and its additional supplements, plus the enforcement of a series of policies e.g. the “Guangdong-Macao Cooperation Framework Agreement”, the “Hengqin Island Development Planning” and those concerning the development of Nansha District, etc., the Chamber’s function as a bridge and ties has been given full play. A multi-tiered and wide-ranging collaboration between Macao and inland China is coming into being and thus Macau is favored even more cooperative space and endless opportunities for growth.
In order to get Macao developed in the direction of appropriate economic diversification and to provide required conditions for the development of the local convention and exhibition industry, the Chamber officially joined the membership of World Chambers Federation (WCF), an organization of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in 2008 with the recommendation and support of Mr. Tam Pak Yuen, the Secretary for Economy and Finance while submitting an application letter to ICC/WCF for entering the international “ATA CARNET” system. On November 23, 2009, the SAR Government designated the Macao Chamber of Commerce as a Guaranteeing & Issuing Association for “ATA CARNET” in the Chief Executive Dispatch No. 441/2009 on the Official Bulletin. And then the Chamber got the approval of WCF to implement “ATA CARNET” officially in Macao from November 1, 2010 onwards, thus becoming the 68th participant of the world “ATA CARNET” system.
To cope with the rise of Macao for its international status, Macao Chamber of Commerce was promoted to a membership of ICC Special Group, namely a National Committee Member equal to that of Hong Kong and Taiwan, as adopted unanimously at the 7th Worlds Chambers Congress held in Mexico during June 8 to 10, 2011 and the conference of World Council ICC on June 11. In the meantime, ACM was also elected as a Council Member of WCF. Therefore the unique role of ACM in the enhancement of Macao’s international status and appropriate diversification of economy has been fully brought out.
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Throughout the years since its establishment, the Chamber has been pursuing the missions in striving for the benefits of the industrial and commercial sectors while dedicating itself to social welfares and services. Especially in the past sixty years, the Chamber affairs have advanced with the times under continuous improvement. On February 1, 2012 in an open occasion, Chief Executive Chui Sai On gave affirmative evaluation on the Chamber’s work: “having fulfilled tremendous beneficial work in respect of maintaining public benefit of Macao society, promoting social stability and economic development as well as pushing forward regional cooperation.” The achievements ACM have made over the century were derived from the whole staff’s loyalties and promises towards the Chamber’s objectives, as much as their passion for the country, the nation and the society; likewise, thanks to the trust and support from all walks of life could the Chamber keep up with the times, innovate constantly and grow rapidly. The hundred-year experience witnessed the common growth of the Chamber with Macao society. From now on, the Chamber will create a more brilliant future with more enthusiasm and positive attitude. The next hundred years will start a new chapter for an even stronger commitment of ACM.