ECONOMY AND BUSINESS
During the era of the early Malacca Sultanate, the city had prospered as a successful entrepôt ranking with the top port cities of the world. When the European conquest began in the late 15 and 16 centuries, Malacca had developed into a cosmopolitan city. The arrival of Chinese traders and labour during that period and initial European colonisation saw a large boost to the port’s sea trade based economy.
However the later British focus on Singapore and the tin and rubber industries in the Malay states in the 19th and 20th centuries saw a decline in the economic fortunes of the settlement, leading it to be labelled as a “sleepy hollow” by locals until recently.
Despite continuing outflow of its well educated younger population, the advent of the era of international tourism in the last few decades has been an economic game changer attracting many local and foreign tourists to visit the city and to buttress the state economy which previously was dependent on income from the primary commodity production of rubber and other agriculture.
Lately too the town has benefited from the ripple effects of national economic development. Although not experiencing the same pace of growth as neighbouring west coast states Malacca state and city today has a full range of light industrial, hospitality, education and service oriented businesses, besides being a favoured center for numerous national, regional and international conferences, congresses and trade fairs.
The Melaka Gateway is a project under construction involving the development of one natural and two man-made islands off the coast which will feature an international cruise terminal and aid water transport in the city. An international shipping port is also planned to be built as part of China’s Maritime Silk Route economic belt.