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MACAU BUSINESS


COD in terms of occupancy rates, although the numbers suggest that. But if you look into more detail, to the customer mix, it is fair to say we are doing pretty well.


The new challenges Let me ask your personal opinion on how difficult it will


be to replace Greg Hawkins and still maintain the same level of cooperation between both properties? Ted Chan: That’s a very, very, difficult question and I am sure there are a lot of rumours in Macau [interview was done before the public announcement of Greg Hawkins resignation]. Greg is a great guy and he has done a very good job in putting up COD and maintaining the level of quality. That is what we were looking for and he has been doing a great job. He has left a very good system in COD to be followed.


At the same time, I think the lack of entertainment


at the moment in COD, in my point of view, is the main reason that we are still a little bit behind in terms of the non-gaming or mass-gaming revenue. But that will change soon. For instance, John Choi is going to put Cubic over there and we have the House of the Dancing Water coming, which will be the best show in the world, and also the Hard Rock Cafe. We need someone to put this together and


programme it right. With the system that [Greg Hawkins] built and with the exciting elements coming on board, I think the one who could do a good job to continue his quality work is someone who will programme these elements right to meet the customer’s expectations or beat the customers’ expectations.


Most of the customers come from mainland China, although we have a significant portion [of clients] from Hong Kong. Ten years ago, mainland Chinese did not know about western restaurants, where you could have a good steak and a good wine, how to order a 1982 Lafite and that kind of stuff. Nowadays, I can assure you they have a similar level of understanding of the good things. Vegas is fuming with rage and jealousy regarding Macau because this city surpassed the Strip in 2006 and in 2007 beat the results of the whole of Nevada, then in 2008, Nevada and Atlantic City altogether, and now basically Macau is doing in one month what Vegas does in three months. It’s amazing.


What is the limit of Macau and gaming? Ted Chan: There’s no limit. This is the same


question that we have been asked and have answered for some years and it has to do with the fact that we are the only city in the whole of Greater China where gaming is allowed. If you look at the last couple of years, the central government has put a lot of effort into cracking down on all the illegal gaming activities in China, whether it is Northeast China, Northern China or elsewhere. I am not suggesting this is a Chinese bluff to rule out gambling, but you do not


26 SEPTEMBER 2010 As long as the supply continues to be very strong, pushed


by a strong mainland economy… Ted Chan: The sky is the limit and I see a great benefit and a great future for the mass and VIP segments. I see a great market but it is so correlated to the economy, so there will be some volatility in there. But with a continuing relaxation of [visa] policy, that allows more and more people to enjoy the Macau experience, that will continue to drive business.


Do you think that such a scenario will not change even with some measures taken by the central government to try to cool down the economy in the mainland? Ted Chan: Look at the last year or two; it has not been that significant.


No competition worries How can Macau maintain its place as the hottest


gaming city in Asia when some other places are betting on a strong gaming presence as well? Ted Chan: I think you are referring to some Asian countries like the Philippines and Vietnam.


Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, the possibility of


Taiwan or if one day South Korea allows domestic gaming. And, of course, for the near future, everybody is talking about Japan, which is a very exciting market as well. Ted Chan: First of all, the proximity to the


customer. It’s quite unique in Macau. And secondly, we have the luxury of having all these developments built in the last couple of years and we are trying, at the moment, to build the total experience, not just gaming. In my view, gaming is the last thing that you have


to market. Non-gaming or a total experience, excitement, is what you have to promote. I understand China very well, I am Chinese, and I


have travelled quite a lot in China in the last 15 years. When I go to one city, I won’t talk at the executive level, I just talk with people that have 5,000 to 10,000 yuan income. They tell me there is nothing to do in Macau. Think about all these excitements similar to what Las Vegas is providing and hundreds of millions of people being committed, just in the Guangdong area. I am sure you know about the railway network that is being built in China. It is phenomenal. And there is something unique here compared to other Asian countries, which is the history of Macau and Hong Kong. That is something in our hearts that tells us that every Chinese has to pay a visit to Macau and Hong Kong in their lifetime.


have to be too shy to say that it is human nature, for people to like to gamble. I think it is right to position Macau as the one city


where you can come along and gamble, and it is so lucky that an equilibrium position has been built. We have the historical reason and, at the same time, the Chinese economy is doing so well.


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