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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

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

Computerworld Hong Kong: How did you end up in Macau and start your IT career?

Rui Marcelo: My encounter with Macau was very much by accident. I was flying to the area and fate brought me to Macau. I've stayed ever since. This August will mark my 30th year in Macau.

It's interesting how my career has diverged into IT, since my academic education started in electro technology, but later went into different stages of discovery. During that process, I've identified my potential in the areas of management. Throughout the years, I've chosen a path that enabled me to acquire knowledge and experience in this area, opting to exploring different sources for the promotion of technological and scientific development, which has renewed my interest and revitalized my focus.

CWHK: You've had multiple roles within Macau's tech industry, from organizing tech conferences to running IT businesses. And now you're CIO of Macau's pre-eminent telco. How did all this happen?

RM: I was working at a bank back in the early 80s and through idea-exchanges with local entrepreneurs and scholars, we came to realize IT would play an important role in modernizing Macau, instead of relying gambling as the single pillar for the local economy.

That period also coincided with the development of the personal computer industry. It was a very interesting time for Macau -- thus in 1988 I established a business together with a local entrepreneur. It was the Division of Computer Science under the Macau Business Centre. The timing was right and we had the right strategy to raise awareness in technology development locally and attract commercial investments for the territory.

That's how it all started. Since then I've focused on promoting and raising awareness of technology. Some of the initiatives with this company included the "First Seminar of Computer Aided Design (CAD)" and the "Seminar in Advanced Technology" for the Manufacturing Industry and Construction/Engineering in Macau, in 1989.

It was through this business that I established a relationship with IBM and helped them to extend their presence in Macau. I set up a company called CSSL (Commercial Software Services Limited), which is 25% owned by IBM. It was IBM's leading reseller of the midrange AS/400 solutions in Asia. The company was headquartered in Hong Kong, but we had offices all over Asia. I ran the company in Macau until March 1998. The company was subsequently acquired, in 1999, by Australia-based Powerlan, now named Clarity.

 

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