Tag Archives: Macau

Zhuhai joins GBA tech drive

Zhuhai announced today its new masterplan for technological development, an ambitious blueprint that aims to transform the once-sleepy fishing village on the western side of the Greater Bay Area into a tech powerhouse. At the same time, details were released of Macau’s new Greater Bay Area Fund, which will raise 100 billion yuan initially and is focused on creating a southern version of Beijing’s futuristic Xiongan New District in the southern area of Hengqin, the special zone facing Macau’s casinos in Cotai.

According to a news release from the Zhuhai government, quoted by Nanfang Daily, the new tech policy is aimed at drawing a “road map” for the city to join the Greater Bay Area’s bigger project of becoming a globally competitive science and technology innovation hub.

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Macau says Hengqin Port ready in Q1

The new Hengqin Port was supposed to have opened on December 20, the same day as Macau’s 20th anniversary celebrations, but it appears that it will be ready only sometime in the first quarter. Macau’s new Secretary for Administration and Justice, Andre Chong, announced that work on the new facility was ongoing, and specific legislation still needs to be passed by the Legislative Assembly to govern how the Macau side of the port will be operated.

The good news is, however, that the Macau government is already planning to license tourist buses to go across the Lotus Bridge and pick up passengers there once the port is ready. It was not made clear whether this includes shuttle buses operated by the Macau casinos, or only coaches run by tourist agencies. The current situation at the Macau side of the Hong Kong-Macao-Zhuhai Bridge (HZMB) has two joint-service shuttles to take visitors to designated spots (at the two ferry terminals) for transfer to casino shuttles, while non-casino tour buses run freely.

The current single shuttle bus running between Hengqin and the existing Macau immigration facility at the Macau side of the Lotus Bridge is obviously not going to be good enough once the new Hengqin Port opens, as its new high-speed railway station will bring in a flood of new arrivals. The question is only whether the casinos will be able to run their own shuttles or will be forced to share a publicly run service. The new problem-plagued LRT system has not yet been extended out to the Hengqin Port, so buses are the only mode of transport for the foreseeable future.

Macau gets its ‘red packets’ from Xi

President Xi Jinping’s visit to Macau last week for its 20th anniversary celebration ended up being everything that the SAR expected – and more.

A lot more.

In a series of announcements that came late in the day – after most media outlets had put to bed their Macau coverage – central government agencies unveiled policies designed to boost Macau’s economic development and integrate it more closely with neighboring Zhuhai via the special economic zone of Hengqin.

The most eye-catching of these came from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which focused on plans to support Hengqin in establishing a so-called “Guangdong-Macau Deep Cooperation Zone.”

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Brazil seeks Macau’s ‘advice’ on resorts

Is Brazil about to open up to casinos? The idea was raised in a more than casual way at a forum being held in Macau this week.

As reported by Macau Daily Times, Marcelo Álvaro Antônio, Brazil’s Minister of Tourism, asked for feedback at the Global Tourism Economy Forum on his country’s plans to invite investors to open resorts and theme parks. In response, MGM China’s chairperson, Pansy Ho, said that from a gaming operator’s perspective, Brazil has all the basic requirements to open an integrated resort industry.

Ho, who is one of the chief organizers of the conference, made the comments during a press conference on Tuesday. According to Ho, Brazil should be able to develop similar types of integrated resorts to those built in Macau.

“I’m quite sure there will be some of the existing gaming operators that would be clearly interested [in investing],” she said.

That is possibly the understatement of the year. Although a staunchly Catholic country like, er, the Philippines, Brazil would be lucrative for Macau’s casinos, who are currently having to wait around for what seems like forever while Japan figures out what it wants them to do.

Read more details on MDT.

Macau pushes for Nasdaq-style offshore RMB market

The central government is giving serious consideration to a formal proposal submitted by Macau to establish a new kind of stock exchange in the Special Administrative Region. Traded in the offshore Renminbi, stocks listed on this exchange would be heavily weighted toward technology companies, much like the Nasdaq board in New York, and the recently established STAR Market in Shanghai.

It looks like this new market is part of a broader move within the region, if not the rest of country, to embrace diverse means of raising equity for Chinese companies. At the same time, Guangdong is looking into establishing a market like Shanghai’s STAR Market, in Guangzhou. And it has also applied formally to establish a Commodity Futures Exchange, like the Chicago equivalent, in Guangzhou’s Nansha district.

Could this be the start of a major push to get more Guangdong-based companies into the hands of equity investors? It certainly seems so, and there is huge upside room to move on this: just 1.8% of Guangdong’s 45,000 National-Level technology firms are publicly listed. Moreover, the person who revealed the details is just the kind of official to make this clear – and public.

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Macau revenues don’t match visitor growth

As we reported yesterday, Macau had a great Golden Week, with 13% more visitors coming in than last year. However, revenues at the casinos, which are still heavily weighted toward VIPs, were down, according to analysts quoted by GGRAsia.

Citing “channel checks” – a widely adopted euphemism for unofficial data culled from unnamed sources – these analysts speculated that gross gaming revenues for the week were down as much as 12% YoY.

However, there was a bright spot, these analysts reckon: the weighting toward low-margin VIP play is being reduced, as mass-market revenues grew strongly, by between 8% and 10%. In other words, more headcounts means more gamblers who don’t have the clout (or the sense) to ask for rebates and commissions, thereby ensuring the casinos healthier margins.

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New Macau chief sees ‘historical problems’ with casinos

Ho Iat Seng, Macau’s new Chief Executive-designate, has made his first remarks on the issue of the gaming concessions, telling reporters that he is keen to resolve their “historical problems”. 

Speaking to the media after getting a warm pat on the back by President Xi Jinping, who appointed him the third CE of Macau since the 1999 handover, Ho said he was keen to see the law take the lead in dealing with the imminent expiry and retendering process of the concessions, rather than using executive orders. 

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Macau gaming revenue falls

Macau’s gross gaming revenues are back in negative territory, thanks to slowing demand at the high end. The July tally came in at MOP$24.5 billion, down 3.5% YoY, surprising many analysts. This followed positive growth in May and June, which had led to expectations rising of the industry getting back on a positive upward trend.

We are not surprised. Since a Xinhua affiliate published a report recently on offshore online-gambling websites run by some of Macau’s biggest junkets – a report they deny – a drop in VIP play was inevitable. The central government’s Ministry of Public Security has made very clear they regard these online-gaming operations as a threat to national security. 

Read more on ggrasia.com.

GBA to establish ‘financial dispute mediation cooperation mechanism’

On Thursday, Zhuhai’s Hengqin hosted the GBA Financial Dispute Mediation Cooperation Forum. In attendance were representatives from regulatory authorities and financial dispute mediation centers from Hong Kong, Macau and GuangdongThe parties have also signed a cooperation framework on cross-border financial dispute mediation.  

Is this the beginning of long-awaited “integration” across the GBA’s three jurisdictions in the area of law enforcement? It might be a long way off, but this does appear to be some kind of tentative start. 

Earlier this month, Guangdong released a directive in which it highlighted the importance to push forward financial interconnectivity among the three regions in order to “build an international financial hub”.  

“Because the Greater Bay Area is built on one country, two systems and three jurisdictions, it has great differences in legal framework and economic systems,” said Bai Hexiang, president of the People’s Bank of ChinaGuangzhou Branch. “To solve financial disputes in the three regions through traditional litigation will face the challenges of judicial differences, which will become a time-consuming and costly process. 

It is of great significance to establish a financial dispute mediation cooperation mechanism between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, Bai said. He suggested to learn from the more mature financial dispute resolution system that Hong Kong, Macau and other developed economies have adopted and to establish a jointly recognized cooperation mechanism among the regions to protect the rights and interests of the consumers and enhance the quality of financial servicein the Greater Bay Area.  

The World Trade Center Macau Arbitration Center, the Guangzhou Financial Consumption Dispute Resolution Center, The Shenzhen Consumer Rights Protection and representatives from the financial dispute centers in Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing signed the framework agreement. The cooperation will involve the establishment of a liaison mechanism, a financial dispute mediation cooperation mechanism and a joint research mechanism.