The living gets easier when you move in

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 February, 2006, 12:00am

AVERAGE SALARIES in Macau do not yet compare with those in Hong Kong, but they are catching up. Alan Chan, general manager of Links Recruitment Macau, said the gap was steadily narrowing, though disparities remained in certain sectors.

He said salary differences were rapidly disappearing in the hospitality industry.

However, a big gap remains in the banking and finance sector, because Macau has never been regarded as a leading international financial centre.

Professionals working in Macau can expect to earn about $15,000 a month, while technical staff and associate professionals can make about $11,500 a month, according to statistics provided by Links Recruitment.

The cost of living is significantly lower than in Hong Kong. For example, monthly rental for a 700 sq ft apartment ranges between $5,000 and $9,000, depending on the location and management fees.

Taxi fares and public transport are also less expensive. The taxi rate in Macau begins at $10, while that in Hong Kong starts at $15. Travelling by bus costs between $4 and $10, compared with a range of $5 to $20 in Hong Kong.

The Macau government is also implementing attractive tax cuts and investment initiatives, which makes the enclave even more desirable.

Macau chief executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah said in this year's annual policy address that the government would implement a number of measures in the 2005-06 fiscal year: a 25 per cent discount on salaries tax, abolition of business tax and of tourism tax on restaurant sales, and removal of various stamp duties such as the one on insurance policies (except life insurance).

However, Mr Chan said, one of the greatest benefits of living in Macau was its small-town atmosphere.

'I think most expatriates will find people here more friendly than in Hong Kong,' he said. 'It certainly is a unique place.'

Mr Chan said good transport links and the proximity to Zhuhai also made it easy to take a short break in the mainland.