‘Las Vegas of Asia’: Macau to overtake Qatar as the richest place on earth by 2020 Holly Johnson, CEO Magazine · December 6, 2018 at 12:05 am New data from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Update has predicted that by 2020, the gambling hub of Macau will dethrone oil-rich Qatar as the richest place on the planet. With its landmark Macau Tower, iconic Grand Lisboa hotel, collection of high-rolling casinos and replica Eiffel Tower, it’s unsurprising that Macau has earned a reputation as the Las Vegas of Asia. If its rapid growth continues, the region will soon see the highest per capita GDP of any country or jurisdiction on earth. With a population of around 661,000 packed into an area of just 30.5 square kilometres along the Pearl River Delta, Macau is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. A former Portuguese colony on China’s southern tip, it has transformed into a gambling capital since returning to Chinese control nearly two decades ago. Today, it’s the only region in China where casinos are legal, turning it into a hub for high-rollers from the mainland.