Hong Kong and Macau are Special Autonomous Regions of China and are economically prosperous. Has the economy of mainland China benefited from these SARs? If a country like India give similar autonomy to its Union territories, would it be beneficial in any way?


3 Answers 3


India has Special Economic Zones. They don't have their own currency or governance though. Whether India does this is a question of how the government in New Delhi has behaved historically. Since independence, the government has sought to expand control decade after decade, just as it did when it was the Raj. Thus it is unlikely to be as tolerant as China has been.


The answer to the second question is "Not Necessarily".

The special sauce of Hong Kong and Macaw isn't their "SAR" status. It's the fact that SAR status preserved their status quo of essentially economically free(er) areas that they were prior to their incorporation back into PRC, when they were basically capitalist mini countries.

As far as I'm aware, India's Union territories do not have such a background that needs to be preserved via SAR status.

  • But while calculating total Chinese economy, are contributions of these territories counted ? Also like Hong Kong and Macaw were British and Portuguese territories in the past, Indian UTs were French and Portuguese territories, so aren't they almost similar even though Hong Kong and Macaw were more rich ? Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 14:12
  • 1
    @adithskv - do they currently possess a rich capitalist economy that needs to be protected? If not, SAR wouldn't help in any way
    – user4012
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 14:26
  • You were right. In fact GDP (nominal) of India' s richest state (not union territory) and Hong Kong are comparable. Indian union territories are even more poor. Anyway Thanks.... Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 14:38
  • A small correction is in order: Macau was defined as a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration" in the Portuguese Constitution since 1974.
    – user16282
    Commented Apr 7, 2018 at 0:37

Is the economy of mainland China benefited from these SAR's ?

Mainland China's economy is so huge that HK and Macaw's economy are like peanuts.

The main point of autonomy is not to gain economic benefit, but to give them time to be integrated into China. In the mean time either China or those regions will undertake reforms.

If a country like India give similar Autonomy to its Union territories, will it be beneficial in any way ?

The possible result will be the following:

  1. Some provinces will grow very fast, and some provinces will slide down more.
  2. Some provinces like Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland, Monipur, Arunachal, Tripura, Mozoram, etc. will disintegrate. They have decades of secessionist movements going on and autonomy will just expedite those movements.

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