macau-casino

Macau neighbor Zhuhai hopes to lure casino operators across bridge with MICE

Macau neighbor Zhuhai is preparing to auction a 226,000-square-meter property that he hopes will convince the billionaire casino giants to cross the bridge and invest in new hotels and convention space.

Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai – after the opening of the 34-mile pier linking the three regions, collectively known as the Greater Bay Area last year – are all banking on increased business travel. For Macau, the world’s richest gaming hub, local leaders are pushing for diversification to reduce their dependency on casino taxes.

MICE is the name of the new game, which is an industry term for “Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions”.

Zhuhai officials say that the auction process for the plot of lance north of Zhuhai port will begin October 9 and run until October 18. The opening bid is 5.64 billion yuan ($ 790 million).

The property is near the point where the Hong Kong-Macau Bridge tilts travelers in Zhuhai. The longest sea crossing in the world shortens the car time between Hong Kong and Macao from about four hours to 35 minutes.

Gambling is banned in China, Macao is the lone exception – that is, no casinos can be built in Zhuhai. The People’s Republic also has a state lottery.

MICE, hotel focus

Macau’s six casino operators currently account for nearly 90 percent of the enclave’s tax revenues.

Macau Liaison Office Director Fu Ziying and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have both recommended that the Special Administrative Region (SAR) support incentives that encourage casino casino owners to invest in more hotel rooms and MICE facilities. , Morgan Stanley said in a statement this week that Macau does not have enough hotel rooms to support its growing mass market visits.

As the land is limited, Macau may allow certain incentives for casinos to invest in non-gaming projects in nearby places like Zhuhai.

“When the property is sold, it will set a benchmark for the real estate market, as well as a benchmark of land for tourism in the Greater Bay Area as a whole,” said Vincent Cheung, managing director of Vincorn Consulting and Appraisal, in an interview with South China Morning. Provide.

He added, “Zhuhai wants to become a leading provider of tourism in the Greater Bay Area, Zhuhai has been in the tourism industry long before Macao, but the rise of casinos in Macao has led to a decline in customers coming to Zhuhai. “

Zhuhai is located north of the Macau Peninsula, while Hengqin Island, another Macau neighbor much larger in terms of land size, is located southwest of the Cotai Strip. Hengqin is already being used by Macau casinos for MICE development.

Land is not cheap

The opening bid of $ 790 million may seem a bit rich, even considering that Macau casinos have won more than $ 37.8 billion on their casino floors over the past year. The initial offer is $ 14.15 million per hectare.

But by comparison, $ 790 million for nearly 56 acres in the Greater Bay Area does not seem so atypical.

For example, Wynn Resorts agreed to pay the Macau Government $ 193 million for 51 hectares on the Cotai Strip in 2011, which now houses its $ 2.5 billion Wynn Palace Resort. But unlike selling Zhuhai properties, Wynn does not actually own the space, but simply leases it out of the enclave.