Macau has experienced 2 decades of economic growth, benefiting from the rise of international trade and the dismantling of barriers to free movement of goods and services in the global market. This has elevated standards of living and brought prosperity to Macau's people. However, globalization also made the territory's economy vulnerable to downturns in the international market and to increasing competition from other Asian economies. Still, Macau has been able to find its economic niche in services and manufacturing.
On the eve of the 21st century, the territory was finally returned to Chinese sovereignty, but was given a high degree of economic autonomy. In the longer term, Macau will depend on economic and political developments in China and Hong Kong. Future economic development depends fully on the capability of the government to maintain the country's economic position and to promote economic growth based on capital-and skill-intensive technologies.