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The tech landscape of Macau

Sheila Lam | June 20, 2012
Rui Marcelo, CIO of CTM (Companhia de Telecomunicações de Macau SARL) has spent 30 years in Macau. He talks to Computerworld Hong Kong about his IT career in Macau, the 1999 handover, liberalization of gaming industry, and the evolving IT industry

CWHK: After being in Macau and growing with its IT industry for so many years, how do you see the gaming industry's impacted the IT industry?

RM: There are signs of renewed interest in IT recently. But they are still very weak signs, as the shortage of talent remains a problem. The situation has gone worse with the liberalization of the gambling industry, because the demand for talent is now much higher than what the market can offer.

Gaming was and will always be important for Macau, but it should not be a hindrance to other developments. We also need to recognize that a sustainable economy needs to be supported by more than a single vertical industry.

Like other organizations in Macau, CTM also suffers from a small talent pool. Macau is a relatively small place, so it was obvious local staff would jump on board the growth of the gaming industry. Salaries became inflated and it's difficult to compete for talent.

That said, the gaming industry has brought some positive factors. The recent development has raised interest among foreign-educated local born and raised individuals, prompting them to return. It is important to take in consideration that tertiary education was only introduced in Macau in the beginning of the '80s. So we're gradually witnessing a re-balancing of resources.

CWHK: What do you think it takes for Macau's younger generations to pursue a career in technology?

RM: The lack of interest among students in IT education remains a problem. I'm also a member of the advisory board at the local universities. We believe the problem can be addressed through the transformation of the IT industry itself.

There are a few developments that will probably boost such transformation. Things like cloud computing, context-aware computing and the new role of IT in the mobile workforce, as well as the wide spread adoption of smartphones and tablets.

These factors are likely to raise the interest among younger generations in IT, rather than the conventional image of a gloomy or geeky IT industry. We need to move away from that impression, because IT is no longer a supporting department. Today, technology is not just embedded in business -- technology is the business.


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