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Old February 29th, 2012, 12:55 PM   #241
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Macau government accepts 18 bids for four Light Rail Transit stations in Cotai
27/02/2012
MacauNews/Politics



Macau, China, 27 Feb - A total of 18 companies have had their bids accepted for the construction for four stations in the Cotai section of the first phase of the government's Light Rail Transit (LRT) project - with the lowest bid amounting to 789 million patacas and the highest standing at 1.3 billions patacas, according to a statement from the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) on Friday.

According to the statement, a total 18 companies submitted bids for the open tender. However, only 14 of the bids were accepted, while the other four were accepted "conditionally".

The project's maximum construction period stipulated by the government is 1,021 days.

The Cotai section of the LRT project is set to improve transportation in the area, making it more convenient for people to travel, as well as providing a "seamless" connection to the Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Railway through the LRT station to be located at the Lotus Flower Cotai-Hengqin checkpoint, the statement said.

According to the statement, the length of the LRT's Cotai section is 3.37 kilometres, starting at Rua do Pai Kok in Taipa and ending in the western part of Cotai. The route will cross several roads, including Estrada da Baia de Nossa Senhora de Esperanca and Rotunda de Cotai and Estrada Flor de Lotus.

The four stations will be built in the western and eastern parts of Cotai as well as the Lotus Flower border checkpoint, which is next to Zhuhai's Hengqin Island checkpoint and Cotai's Macau Dome.

The office said in the statement that construction of the Cotai section would provide about 400 jobs for locals. However, the office did not say when construction would commence.

The first phase of the LRT, which includes 21 stations - 11 in Taipa and Cotai and 10 in Macau Peninsula, is slated to open in the first quarter of 2015.

The LRT project, which will connect the peninsula, Taipa and Cotai with over 20-kilo-metres of track with a revised budget of 11 billion patacas, finally got off the ground last week when construction of four stations in Taipa including one outside the Macau Jockey Club started.

According to The Macau Post Daily in 2007, the budget for the LRT project was about 4.2 billion patacas (US$ 525 million).
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Old February 29th, 2012, 01:48 PM   #242
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Macau starts light rail construction
22/02/2012
MacauNews/Politics



Macau, China, 22 Feb - Macau’s long-delayed light trail project got finally off the ground Tuesday and Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si I asked for residents' understanding for any traffic snarl-ups and inconvenience caused.

Construction for the Taipa-section of the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) system started, after 10 years of preparatory work,The Macau Post Daily reports today.

Lau spoke to reporters after the project’s groundbreaking ceremony held at the construction site in front of the Macau Jockey Club, after which construction workers immediately began groundwork at the Sai Van Bridge tunnel near the Ocean Gardens residential complex.

The 1.94-kilometre Taipa section, which consists of four stations – Ocean Gardens , Macau Jockey Club, Macau Stadium and Pai Kok, is budgeted to cost 489 million patacas and is slated take at least three years to complete.

Lau admitted that construction of the LRT system might cause inconvenience for people in the area, but asked for their understanding as the light rail system would reduce the city’s traffic woes in the long-run.

"Traffic congestion will worsen as the number of vehicles in Macau continues to grow. The LRT can smooth out traffic problems caused by the busy road network," Lau said.

The first phase of the public works project which includes 21 stations connecting Macau , Taipa and Cotai over a 20-kilometre track, was given a revised budget of 11 billion patacas last year. Originally, the mammoth project was budgeted at 4.2 billion patacas in 2007.

Lau said that the light rail was a special project for Macau which would promote co-operation between Guangdong and Macau and boost regional integration as Macau’s light rail system will in the future be linked with the one in Guangdong.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 11:46 AM   #243
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Possible new casino coming up.

SJM in 'advanced' talks with government for Cotai project
01/03/2012
MacauNews



SJM Holdings, Asia’s biggest casino company, said Wednesday it was in “advanced” talks with the Macau government about building a casino complex in Cotai after 2011 profit rose 49 percent to a record HK$5.3 billion (US$ 662.5 million).

SJM said it continued to lead in market share of the local gaming market last year, even though it dropped to 29 percent, The Macau Post Daily reports today.

The company founded by Stanley Ho Hung Sun said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it was “in an advanced stage of discussion with the Macau government regarding its application for a development site with an approved development area of 70,468 square metres adjacent to the Macau East Asian Games Dome.”

The statement said that subject to the final government approvals, SJM planned to develop an integrated gaming resort on the site “over the next several years, with facilities encompassing mass market and VIP gaming, lodging, dining and entertainment.”

Earnings per share rose to 95.4 cents from 66.2 cents a year earlier, while gaming revenue gained 32 percent to HK$75.5 billion, the company said.

SJM said it had a market share of 29 percent of Macau’s gambling market in 2011, down from 31.3 percent in 2010. Its market share may fall to 26.5 percent this year.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) benefit from the increasing popularity of Cotai, where they have integrated resorts.

Galaxy opened a new casino in Cotai last year and Sands will have one opening there this year which gives them greater growth potential than SJM.

The first phase of Sands Cotai Central, featuring three hotels and two casinos, was on track to open in about eight weeks, Las Vegas Sands said early last month.

Galaxy opened Galaxy Macau resort last May which helped almost triple its profit in the third quarter. It lifted the company’s market share to about 17 percent, GEG Chairman Lui Che-woo said in June.

SJM’s VIP gambling revenue climbed 36 percent to HK$52.8 billion during the year. Revenue at Casino Grand Lisboa increased 46 percent and profit gained 41 percent, according to the statement.

SJM’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) grew 42.5 percent to record HK$6.9 billion.

VIP gaming operations accounted for 69.9 percent of the company’s total gaming revenue last year, as compared with 67.9 percent in the previous year.

“Increased VIP gaming revenue of 35.8 percent resulted from increased chips purchases by junket operators which in turn reflected the buoyant economy in the mainland and the Asian region as well as increased liquidity to junket operators,” the SJM statement said.

According to the statement, the hold rate of SJM’s VIP operations dropped to 2.88 percent last year from 2.91 percent in 2010.

At the end of last year, SJM had 609 VIP gaming tables in operation with 32 VIP junket promoters, as compared with 507 VIP gaming tables and 33 VIP promoters a year earlier.

SJM’s number of mass market tables stood at 1,166 at the end of last year.

Revenue from mass-market table gaming operations generated 28.2 percent of the company’s total gaming revenue last year, as compared with 30.0 percent in 2010.

Gaming revenue from slot machine operations, which include other electronic gaming machines and the game of Tombola, comprised 1.9 percent of SJM’s total gaming revenue last year, as compared with 2.1 percent in 2010. SJM had 3,910 slot machines in service at the end of last year, as compared with 4,147 slot machines a year earlier.

At the end of last year, SJM had 19,600 full-time employees.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 05:31 PM   #244
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Largest Conrad hotel open in April
02/03/2012 10:52:00
Macau Daily Times

The world’s largest Conrad-branded hotel, with 636 rooms and suites, will open as part of the first phase of the Sands Cotai Central resort next month, hospitably company Hilton Worldwide confirmed yesterday.

“Hilton Worldwide is excited to enter Macau, one of the world’s leading resort destinations,” the company’s president for Asia Pacific, Martin Rinck, said. “We hope our presence will also contribute to enhancing Macau’s reputation as the premier tourism destination in the region,” he added.

But the executive admitted that the MSAR is just part of Hilton’s overall strategy for the region. “The opening of the largest Conrad hotel to date signals our firm intent to extend and deepen our presence in Greater China,” Rinck said.

Conrad Macau will feature 430 rooms at an average 560 square feet and 206 suites, the larges of which at 4,000 square feet, housed in a 39-floor tower. Wong Man, who most recently was at two-Michelin-starred Tim’s Kitchen in Hong Kong, will head its signature Chinese restaurant, Dynasty 8.

The hotel will also include meeting facilities, starting with three ballrooms average 16,000 square feet each. And in the second half of 2012 a bigger ballroom with the capacity to accommodate 4,000 people will be available.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 05:36 PM   #245
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Chui promises to build more budget hotels
01/03/2012 10:50:00
Macau Daily Times

The Chief Executive Chui Sai On has promised to allot more land for building budget hotels to ease one of Macau tourism industry’s major concerns in recent years – the insufficient number and expensive rates of hotel rooms in the territory.

Chui was quoted by Hong Kong media as saying that in order to develop Macau into an international travel and leisure centre, the authority must address problems related to hotel accommodations, including too few hotel rooms and soaring prices, especially during weekends and holidays.

He made the remarks when meeting with a journalist delegation from Hong Kong earlier this week. But Chui did not give a schedule on when the lands will be released to the market, only saying that they will be sold in open tender and used for building budget hotels only. It was not immediately clear how many more rooms will be added to the market.

Earlier this month, lawmaker Ho Ion Sang urged the Administration to speed up the approval of construction applications for affordable two or three-star hotels. He said pricey rooms drive away many visitors, some of them even took the risk of staying with cheap but unregistered guesthouses that were operating illegally and may pose potential dangers.

Last month another lawmaker, Angela Leong On Kei, also linked the illegal accommodation business to the lack of affordable rooms. They both asked the authority to hasten the procedures to allow for the construction or opening of any other projects for affordable guesthouses or hotels. Ho also called on the government to impose restrictions on the range hotels were permitted to raise the room prices during peak travel seasons.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 05:37 AM   #246
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So where will the light rail go? Any maps. I keep finding things but they are in chinese.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 06:08 PM   #247
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
So where will the light rail go? Any maps. I keep finding things but they are in chinese.


Posted here : http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1492582
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Old March 9th, 2012, 05:54 PM   #248
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TDM searching for new plot to expand studios
09/03/2012 10:53:00
Macau Daily Times

Local television and radio broadcaster TDM has returned a plot located near the current University of Macau campus to the government but the company is still looking for a space to build new facilities.

According to a dispatch published in Wednesday’s Official Gazette, the Administration retrieved a 1,500 square-metre plot worth about MOP 12.4 million that had been granted to TDM 16 years ago.

The broadcaster will receive no compensation because the decision was made “by mutual agreement,” its managing director Leong Kam Chun told Portuguese-language newspaper Ponto Final.

The Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) did not reveal the future use for the Taipa plot. “It will be included in the available land reserve of the Administration,” it said.

Leong said the decision was made because the plot did not suit TDM’s expansion needs: “a 1,500 square-metre area is not enough for TDM’s development.” In addition, he stressed, the area “is the middle of a hill, it’s in an inclination.”

The executive also revealed that the decision to return the plot had been made seven years ago. “It was believed that the piece of land was not adequate to the characteristics of a television and radio broadcaster.”
For instance, he mentioned the lack of the space to park the broadcaster’s vehicles. “We reached the conclusion there were no conditions to build a studio according to TDM’s needs.”

But the company is still interested in leaving its current headquarters located near Mong Há Hill, in central Macau peninsula, and it’s looking for another available plot, Leong confirmed.

“We will put forward our application soon. Considering our development plan we believe it’s necessary to have a plot more suited to our studios,”said the executive who took over TDM about a year ago.

The former lawmaker and president of Macau’s Auditors and Accountants Association was appointed in February 2011, replacing Manuel Gonçalves, who had been TDM’s chief executive officer and managing director for more than 14 years.

At the time of his appointment, Leong said he was considering expanding TDM broadcasting to mainland China, and he also promised to continue supporting the Portuguese-language channel and the English-language section.

But the government pledged to introduce a new managing system by 2014, by creating an executive committee with three to five members, namely professionals from several areas, including television and radio broadcasting and production.
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Old March 13th, 2012, 12:00 PM   #249
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Gov’t plans to ramp up construction site safety laws
13/03/2012 10:02:00
Macau Daily Times

In light of recent fatal incidents on local construction sites, the government plans to step up vocational safety training and push for legislation on “vocational safety pass” for construction workers.

Speaking at the Macau Forum held by TDM Sunday, Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) Director Shuen Ka Hung said although the city witnessed a spate of fatal construction site accidents in the past weeks, the number of industrial accidents had been on the decline in recent years. Statistics showed fatal accidents decreased from 11 cases in 2007 to 3 cases last year.

However, two fatal cases were already recorded in the first two months this year, including a 50-year-old local construction worker who died on February 28 when the crane he was operating lost balance and plunged down a 60-meter slope. The case took place in a construction site on the Wai Long Road in Taipa.

Another incident occurred February 21 when an imported worker from Hong Kong died in a fall from the 38th floor of a building in the Sands Cotai Central resort complex due to open next month.

Shuen promised to provide more vocational safety training courses for workers regardless of the decreasing workplace accidents. He also disclosed that the authority planned to submit the bill on workplace safety pass as urgent legislation to the Legislative Assembly, in a timeline he did not specify. The scheme would require on-duty construction workers to put on a pass that show they had undergone proper technical and safety training. The first group to be included in the scheme would be electrical technicians, to be followed by five to six other types of workers in the construction field within this year.

Representatives participating in the forum urged the government to step up efforts to bring vocational safety standards in Macau to international levels, while lawmaker Ung Choi Kun wanted the authority to review every industrial accident carefully and let the industry know the details and causes, as well as include preventive suggestions into training courses.
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Old March 20th, 2012, 06:15 PM   #250
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Sands Cotai Central to open April 11
20/03/2012 10:42:00
Macau Daily Times

Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced today that Sands Cotai Central will officially open on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

This phase of the property’s launch features more than 600 rooms and suites under the Conrad hotel brand and more than 1,200 rooms from Holiday Inn. “The largest integrated resort development ever constructed” according to Las Vegas Sands Corp., also unveils meeting, convention and retail space as well as several dining offerings. Along with the hotel rooms, retail, and restaurants, Sands Cotai Central also includes plans for its own theatre, expanding the entertainment options for business and leisure travelers at the center of the Cotai Strip. The soon-to-be announced line-up of entertainment is expected to attract tourists from all over the world.

“Sands China Ltd. has always been committed to bringing the most unique and exciting new experiences to our customers. It’s our mission to create more reasons for visitors to come to Macau and to stay longer once they arrive. We also want to thank the government and all of our team members for their efforts in getting us to this momentous day,” said Edward Tracy, president and CEO of Sands China Ltd.
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Old March 28th, 2012, 06:07 PM   #251
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Sands Cotai Central opening preview
26/03/2012 10:04:00
Macau Daily Times

As one of the major events in the all-important gaming and resort industry, the Sands Cotai Central’s grand opening next month promises to catch global attention. There are always some eager aficionados who just can’t wait until April, so there is a preview of the huge integrated resort between its announcement of opening and its formal opening.

In a preview tour organized for international and local media, dozens of journalists from Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, India and other countries and regions, as well as Macau, were taken to some of the hidden scenes prohibited to outsiders, including brand-spanking new hotel suites with panoramic views of the Cotai Strip, and a fountain pool still under construction - but water is already splattering out.

The tour started with the main lobby of the building catering Holiday Inn and Conrad Hotel, which are connected together but traded in the two different brand names with different styles of rooms and facilities. Instead of usual shining marble floor and impressive deco typical of four and five-star hotels, visitors are greeted with bamboo scaffoldings towering to the ceiling and dusty floor covered with wooden boards and plastics sheets. Instead of smiling receptionists, rubbing shoulders with the visitors are armies of construction workers donning safety helmets and florescent vests.

Asked if the buildings and amenities can make the grand opening day, the resort’s smiling public relation staff told the worrying journalists “no problem”. This remark was immediately reassured when the media guys were brought upstairs to the hotel rooms featuring artistic deco yet cosy settings with a family-warm ambience, which were ready-to-use and already bookable online. Inside the room there was even a guy dressed in white bathrobe (obviously a resort staff) who pretended to be relaxing on homey couch after a sauna bath, but then jumped up to greet the intruding journalists – not to turn them away but to introduce the features and settings of the rooms, including the highly springy mattress that attracted many reporters to sleep on it – one by one of course.

But then the worrying expressions returned to the visitors’ faces when they were shown to the adjacent building which housed the Sheraton Hotel. The air was filled with chemicals from construction materials, and the walls were covered with wooden boards, most of the inner area was obviously still under construction. Resort staff clarified that Sheraton would open later, instead of April 11, so there was “no problem” that the construction was a bit lagging behind. He said the company expected an opening in September, but without precise date. Its opening will add 4000 more rooms to the resort.

Then it’s the core of the tour – the two casinos on the ground floor level that spanned over 90 thousand square feet of total area, equipped with hundreds of gaming tables, all of them obviously ready to use (put a croupier behind the tables and you can place your bet). But photo-taking was not allowed in this area, as resort staff said, for the reason that preparation works were still underway.

Sands Cotai Central features more than 600 rooms and suites under the Conrad hotel brand and more than 1200 rooms from Holiday Inn. In addition to accommodations, amenities and casinos, it also unveils significant meeting, convention and retail space as well as several distinctive dining offerings.

“The opening marks another milestone in the company’s efforts (more than USD 8 billion invested to date) to help Macao reach its full potentials as an international business and leisure tourism destination,” according to a Sands press release. The opening aims to bring the Cotai Strip “one step closer to fulfilling the original vision of Las Vegas Sands and Sands China Ltd. Chairman Sheldon G. Adelson, who said ‘there were few believers in my vision for the Cotai Strip when the site was basically under water’. With the completion of Sands Cotai Central, that same spot will be home to thousands of hotel rooms, millions of square feet of retail, meeting and convention space, dozens of restaurants and so many other attractions.”

”The opening of Sands Cotai Central is a game changer for the future of Macau as a leisure, entertainment and business location,” states the press release.
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Old March 30th, 2012, 06:45 PM   #252
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Macau casino owners bet everyone wins as Adelson expands
30/03/2012
Macau Daily Times

Sheldon Adelson is adding a fourth casino in Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, drawing almost six times the revenue of the Las Vegas Strip. The billionaire’s rivals are cheering him on. Sands China Ltd., the Asian arm of Adelson’s Las Vegas company, next month will open the Cotai Central resort with 1.2 million square feet of retail, entertainment and dining facilities, besides meetings and convention space.

Furthermore, Cotai Central will have a 300,000-square-foot casino, approximately 5,800 hotel rooms and cascading waterfalls tailored for the 16 million mainland Chinese tourists who visited Macau last year.

Competitors see the additional rooms and novelty of a fresh resort drawing more Chinese to gamble in the region, where gaming revenue is estimated by CLSA Ltd. to top USD 100 billion by 2020 and where hotels are near capacity. Success for Sands would expand the industry in Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal and where Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., Wynn Macau Ltd., Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd., MGM China Holdings Ltd., SJM Holdings Ltd. and Sands China get almost all their revenue.

“We welcome the competition and we think this will bring more traffic to Macau and helps grow the market and drive our business,” said Francis Lui, deputy chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group.

“We think the market is grossly underpenetrated. We do six times as much revenue as Las Vegas, but they have six times as many hotel rooms” - Robert Drake, chief financial officer at casino operator Galaxy Entertainment

New Visitors

At the heart of the gaming companies’ push is a tiny swath of reclaimed land called the Cotai Strip, the Asian equivalent of the Las Vegas Strip, where local and global casino operators are spending billions on resorts that combine shopping centers, entertainment shows and hotel rooms to draw middle-class Chinese visitors. In doing so, they are recreating a center that historically catered mainly to professional gamers making bets on crowded, smoky floors.

Deutsche Bank AG estimates gambling revenue in Macau, a former Portuguese colony on the South China coast that’s less than half the size of Manhattan, will rise 25 percent this year, driven by more tourist arrivals. Adelson’s newest resort may propel a big part of that growth. Macau, which had USD 34 billion in gambling revenue last year, has 20,000 hotel rooms, a fraction of the almost 150,000 that Vegas has, researcher CLSA estimated in a September report titled “Raining Cash.”

The Las Vegas Strip had revenue of USD 6.07 billion in 2011, according to Nevada’s Gaming Control Board. “We think the market is grossly underpenetrated,” said Robert Drake, chief financial officer at casino operator Galaxy Entertainment. “We do six times as much revenue as Las Vegas, but they have six times as many hotel rooms.”

Adelson’s Winning Hand

Adelson’s casino operator may win the most market share in Macau in 2012 because of the new resort, expanding 9 percentage points to 24 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, said Karen Tang, an analyst at Deutsche Bank. That would also solidify Sands’s position on the increasingly popular Cotai Strip, where it already has the island’s largest resort, the Venetian Macau that boasts singing gondoliers, a grand canal and an artificial blue sky.

Sands China, which is a unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp. where Adelson is chairman, reported a 44 percent jump in profit in the fourth quarter. The latest success and new project is a reversal from 2008, when Sands stopped construction in Cotai as credit markets froze and revenue growth slowed. The 78-year-old Adelson, who made his money in the casino business, ranked 11th on the Bloomberg billionaires list with an estimated net worth of USD 26.8 billion as of March 27.

The new resort gives the American billionaire a chance to lure more customers from SJM Holdings, the Hong Kong-listed casino operator that has dominated Macau for four decades. Deutsche Bank’s Tang sees market share for SJM, founded by Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho, falling from 31 percent in the second quarter of 2011 to 25 percent in the fourth quarter this year.

“We welcome the competition and we think this will bring more traffic to Macau and helps grow the market and drive our business” - Francis Lui, deputy chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group.

Making Room

Sands Cotai Central, which opens April 11, will have about 5,800 hotel rooms when completed in 2013 under the brands Conrad, Sheraton and Holiday Inn. In April, the resort will offer 1,800 rooms. More hotel rooms translate into longer stays and ultimately higher gambling revenue on the island, CLSA wrote. When Macau added hotel rooms between 2005 and 2010, the average length of a tourist’s stay increased to 1.5 nights from 1.2 nights, the analysts found.

“It’s a market that has been driven, since its inception, by capacity,” said Edward Tracy, chief executive officer of Sands China. “The addition of hotel rooms, casino capacity and retail and entertainment is going to drive significant growth.” Galaxy executives say they had a spillover effect on the industry when they opened the doors of a Macau resort in May. “When we launched Galaxy Resorts last year, we did grow the market,” said Deputy Chairman Lui.

Richer Chinese Visitors

Investors betting that new casinos and more visitors will increase gambling revenue have pushed up shares of Sands China 41 percent this year and Galaxy Entertainment 49 percent. MGM China Holdings, a unit of MGM Resorts International, has jumped 41 percent. Wynn Macau, a unit of Stephen Wynn’s Wynn Resorts Ltd., has added 19 percent and Melco Crown, the venture between Australian billionaire James Packer and Stanley Ho’s son Lawrence, has climbed 51 percent on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The benchmark Hang Seng Index is up 13 percent.

They have been aided by increasingly affluent Chinese, who have more money to bet as incomes have risen. Urban disposable income in China rose 14 percent to 21,810 yuan (USD 3,460) last year. To draw the growing number of middle-class tourists, the casinos are adding long stretches of retail stores and entertainment shows like Melco Crown’s House of Dancing Water, a love story set in China that is enacted on a stage filled with water and includes stunts on bikes.

“It’s a market that has been driven, since its inception, by capacity. The addition of hotel rooms, casino capacity and retail and entertainment is going to drive significant growth” - Edward Tracy, chief executive officer of Sands China

For Li Chun, a 44-year-old businessman from Tianjin in China, the side attractions are a bonanza. “You are able to put your wife and kids in a shopping mall while you can just concentrate on the gambling table,” Li said while visiting Macau. He planned to gamble as much as 200,000 yuan at the Venetian Macau.

Macau gets roughly 70 percent of gambling revenue from VIP, or high-stakes gamblers, according to Aaron Fischer, CLSA’s head of Asian consumer and gaming research in Hong Kong. The “mass market” - usually the term for middle-class visitors - is still the most profitable because casino operators pay commissions to professionals bringing in high-stakes gamblers.

Regulatory Restrictions

As Macau casino operators push for growth, they face some restrictions from local government policies, Fischer said. The Macau government has limited the number of gaming tables and hands out land permits at intervals to prevent the industry from growing too fast.

Wynn Macau, MGM China and SJM are awaiting approval of land leases for construction on the Cotai strip even as Melco Crown, which already operates the City of Dreams casino on Cotai, waits for permission to begin the USD 1.9 billion Studio City resort. Even Sands could face hurdles if investors are disappointed in the early performance of its new casino or if it experiences any delays in expanding the resort, said Deutsche Bank’s Tang.

Sands also faces added risks if there are “unfavorable outcomes” from a U.S. regulatory investigation related to its Macau operations, she said. Las Vegas Sands last year said it received a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to produce documents relating to its Macau operations’ compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The casino operator said it believed the subpoena “emanated from allegations” in a lawsuit by former Sands China Chief Executive, Steven Jacobs, who has alleged, among other things, that Las Vegas Sands demanded that he use improper “leverage” to win government concessions. Sands China spokeswoman Mabel Wu declined to comment on the lawsuit. The company “intends to defend this matter vigorously,” Las Vegas Sands said while discussing the suit in a U.S. regulatory filing.
For now, the limits on expanding in Macau have some advantages for investors because casino operators can’t go on a spending binge, said CLSA’s Fischer. “They can’t keep building and wasting money,” he said. That has prompted Sands China and SJM to pay dividends, saying they have enough cash to keep expanding. The dividends are partly a bet that Macau’s gambling revenue will keep increasing. Fischer sees gaming in Macau benefiting from its local monopoly. “Macau has no competition,” said Fischer.

CasinoLeaks asks for “complete review” of MGM operations

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) issued a letter Wednesday to Roland Hernandez, the Lead Independent Director of MGM Resorts International, calling for a “complete review of MGM operations in Macau using completely new outside due diligence experts who have no current or previous business relationship with MGM or any other casino company operating in Macau”. Jeffrey Fiedler, the IUOE Director of Special Projects & Initiatives, included with the letter a summary of the union’s findings concerning the relationship an “MGM VIP room operator, SunCity, its founder and co-owner Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, has with two individuals, Charles Heung Wah Keung and Herbert Liu Kee Chan, identified by U.S. government reports as organized crime figures.” Washington-headquartered IUOE is beind the website “CasinoLeaks – Macau”
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Old April 10th, 2012, 04:34 PM   #253
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The final opening preparations
10/04/2012
Macau Daily Times









The final preparations for tomorrow’s opening of Sands Cotai Central are being made. Macau Daily Times visited the resort yesterday to verify the fuss over the impending inauguration day. What’s being announced as “Asia’s Biggest Launch Party in 2012” will be marked by the feat of the high wire walker Jade Kindar Martin and his wife Karine Mauffrey - a stuntwoman who performs in Hollywood films, television series and commercials.

The couple will attempt to traverse the 525 meter (1,700 feet) distance between the top of the Venetian and the new Conrad Hotel, whilst balancing 150 meters (500 feet) above the ground on a wire less than one inch thick. The walk will take an estimated half an hour and Kindar and Karine will meet at the mid-point of the walk. The spectacle will be accompanied by the sounds of the China National Symphony Orchestra.

After almost three weeks in Macau setting up all the security details, Karine Mauffrey walked yesterday for the first time on the wire, testing its stability and tension. About one hundred meters underneath, her husband invited journalists to observe as she walked about ten meters along the wire, with safety wires attached to her back. Kindar Martin, who already set two high wire walks “Guinness World Records”, told reporters that the secret of his success may be attributed to his intensive training. The American performer invites the Macau residents to watch tomorrow’s event. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that people will remember”, he said, adding that he has already performed longer walks, but never walked higher.

Dan Raviv, special advisor to Sheldon Adelson, unveiled some details of Sands Cotai Central, which he considers “a fully integrated city” and the largest integrated resort ever constructed. In its first phase, the property will feature 1,800 rooms (600 rooms and suites under the Conrad hotel brand and more than1,200 rooms from Holiday Inn) and a new casino with 800 slots and 400 gaming tables, according to Lusa news agency. When completed in 2013, the resort will have around 5,800 hotel rooms under the brands Conrad, Sheraton and Holiday Inn. With the intention of prolonging hotel stays, the prices of hotel rooms will be cheaper than the ones in Venetian.

According to Las Vegas Sands Corp., the resort will also unveil meeting, convention and retail space as well as several dining spaces. Along with the hotel rooms, retail, and approximately 20 restaurants, Sands Cotai Central also plans to feature its own theatre, expanding the entertainment options for business and leisure travelers at the center of the Cotai Strip.
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Old April 11th, 2012, 09:03 PM   #254
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World’s Largest Holiday Inn Debuting at Sands Cotai Central

Holiday Inn’s friendly service, comfort and value arrives at Cotai Strip

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) today unveiled the world’s largest Holiday Inn, the 1,224-room Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central, with the opening of Sands Cotai Central, the latest Sands China Ltd. integrated resort on Macao’s Cotai Strip.

“Holiday Inn is proud to offer a truly unique experience in Macao,” said Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer of IHG Greater China. “With three people checking into a Holiday Inn every second globally, we’ve established ourselves as one of the world’s most well-known hotel brands, and have the expertise to provide business and leisure guests with an unforgettable experience, and the comfort to sit back, relax and be themselves, at Sands Cotai Central.”

Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central brings Holiday Inn’s friendly service, affordable comfort and convenience to guests wanting to experience the adventure, fun and fortune of the Cotai Strip. The largest Holiday Inn in the world features all the benefits of an integrated resort destination, including an extensive array of dining, retail, leisure and entertainment options, in addition to comprehensive meeting and event facilities.

Guestrooms
The impressive 1,224 guestrooms, which include 65 suites, ensure both leisure and business travellers can find a room to suit their needs. All rooms and suites are decorated in a contemporary style with custom-designed furniture, feature floor-to-ceiling windows and offer a range of facilities, amenities and services. The deluxe rooms and suites overlook the city, providing inspiring views. Guests can choose from among a wealth of options, including Double-double twin rooms, an ideal choice for families or large groups. Suites start at nearly 700 sq. ft. and go up to the 1,700 sq. ft., two-bedroom Chairman Suite, equipped with its own dedicated media centre / home theatre and massage room.

Technology lovers will feel right at home, as all guestrooms feature 32-inch LED televisions with video-on-demand, and DVD and CD players available upon request, as well as high-speed wireless Internet access.

Holiday Inn guests are encouraged to sit back, relax and be themselves, with rooms that provide all the comforts and conveniences of a home-away-from-home: a spacious work desk and ergonomic chair, a fully stocked mini bar, coffee and tea-making facilities, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, slippers and bathrobes, separate shower and bathtub with multi-functional shower head and an in-room safe. Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central features 24-hour room service and access to additional 24-hour dining options only a short walk away. Guests also have convenient access to the ample Pool Deck and to the Health Club, featuring a fully-equipped gymnasium, Jacuzzi, and sauna.

Dining Options
Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central guests can experience a wide selection of world-class dining prepared by top chefs. The hotel’s Lobby Lounge and Pool Café offer opportunities to relax and meet friends in a casual, modern and inviting atmosphere. The 11 restaurants and lounges throughout Sands Cotai Central allow guests to go on exciting culinary journeys while conveniently charging the meals back to the hotel room: an all-day international buffet, an international food court and a variety of quality restaurants featuring some of the most popular cuisines including Mediterranean, northern and southern Chinese, Pan-Asian, Macanese and Indian. Unique decor, like private dining rooms inspired by eight ancient Chinese dynasties at Dynasty 8, will leave guests with the impression that they’ve been transported to a far-off, exotic destination.

Meetings and Events
Holiday Inn guests have access to the 214,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and event space at Sands Cotai Central. Facilities include a 52,000 sq. ft. pillar-free grand ballroom and nine junior ballrooms, all divisible with soundproofed partitions and boasting the latest audio-visual and technical facilities, like satellite and video conferencing, high-speed Internet access and simultaneous translation services. A fully-equipped Business Centre offers a wide range of secretarial and administrative services.

As part of a fully integrated resort city on the Cotai Strip, Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central offers its guests access to all of Sands Cotai Central’s entertainment, retail, dining, gaming and conventions, as well as its interconnected properties across the street: The Venetian Macao and The Plaza Macao. Gaming excitement is readily available at two uniquely themed casinos at Sands Cotai Central, Himalaya and Pacifica. Visitors to Shoppes Cotai Central, as part of the larger Shoppes Cotai, will have access to over 600 retails outlets, for the ultimate luxury duty-free shopping experience in the region, complete with amazing Silk Road-themed live entertainment. And Macao’s biggest and most exclusive entertainment events are waiting to be enjoyed at the 15,000-seat CotaiArena and at the luxury Venetian Theatre, hosting the most famous names in sports, music and stage.

Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central is just a five minute drive from Macau International Airport and the CotaiJet ferry service brings visitors to the property from Hong Kong, Kowloon and Hong Kong International Airport. The hotel is also connected by complimentary buses to and from all arrival points in Macao, including ferry terminals and the mainland China border. Macao’s UNESCO heritage sites and city centre are all within easy reach, and the concierge is always happy to suggest an itinerary.

Management
Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central is in very capable hands with Troy Hickox at the helm as General Manager. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Hickox is of mixed Australian and Chinese descent, and has considered Hong Kong home for the past 28 years, making him a natural fit with Macao’s East meets West heritage. He has 18 years of hotel opening and management experience with multi-award-winning internationally branded hotels in Asia and the United States. Hickox was also directly involved in the opening of the 3,000-suite The Venetian Macao and its exclusive Paiza Club. He is a graduate of both the Swiss Hotel Association colleges and Le Cordon Bleu Ecole de Cuisine, and a post-graduate alumnus of Oxford Brookes University Business School in the UK and Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

“I’m delighted to oversee the opening of the world’s largest Holiday Inn with such an engaging and enthusiastic team,” Hickox said. “We are looking forward to bringing a new international brand to the Cotai Strip and providing Holiday Inn’s world-renowned friendly service, which focuses on real world needs, to our guests at Sands Cotai Central.”
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Old April 14th, 2012, 08:22 AM   #255
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Sands Cotai Central seeks to be a “game changer”
12/04/2012 08:14:00
Macau Daily Times

After years of delay caused by financial troubles, Sands Cotai Central opened yesterday in a grand ceremony on the Cotai strip as senior executives of the integrated resort promised it to be a “game changer” in the competitive gaming and resort industry, while the group chairman indicated he is determined to maintain Sands’ leading position on the Cotai Strip.

The conference began with a video showing group chairman Sheldon G. Adelson touring the Cotai Strip years ago when it was still a barren piece of land covered with mud and he described his feeling back then as similar to “being in exile”. Now, featuring himself as the virtual “maker” of the strip, Adelson labeled the current development zone as a “compelling success”, and exhorted the media to add an “r” when mentioning the Cotai Strip; a reminder of the exclusive trademark.

And the chairman was adamant in safeguarding the group’s pioneering position on the strip, mentioning that decades ago when they started developing in Las Vegas, some potential partners expressed reservations and told him “you go first and I’ll come later”. But then when the project proved to be a huge success, Sands would not need them anymore: “We don’t need these people who didn’t give their confidence (to our development)”. The resort expected other companies, including Chinese brands to find their way to the Cotai Strip, but they would not be able to land the premier positions as the Sands group had.

Asked if the group would bring new partners to the strip, Adelson stressed their dedication and investment in the strip to make what it is today. “Let me answer your question by another question: Would you share a 100 million dollar lottery ticket with people who didn’t buy the ticket?” he said, “If you will, then I’ll do it.” He also disclosed that the company had already tendered applications for new phases of development near the Four Seasons Hotel on the Cotai Strip, showing ambition to reinforce their advantageous position on the strip. But he would not reveal details of the new projects, only mentioning that more than 3,000 hotel rooms would be added to the portfolio. Local rivals including Wynn and MGM are also planning expansion projects on the strip but are waiting for government approval.

Local media in Macau expressed concerns that after the completion of Sands Cotai Central in 2013 around one third of the hotel rooms in the city would be controlled by the group and might result in Sands’ dominance in the hotel market. A similar situation also applies in the convention and exhibition sector in which the group also enjoys a superior advantage on the Cotai Strip. The Macau Daily News said “the authority’s decision not to approve new land parcels to the group for development projects on the Cotai Strip years ago will ensure that the risks of monopoly by any single company are alleviated”. The paper with the largest circulation in Macau also urged the government to encourage more competitors to enter into the market to promote positive competition and improve the structure of the casino-resort sector.

Mr Sheldon Adelson disclosed that the company had so far spent USD 4.4 billion to develop the Sands Cotai Central project and more will be invested before completion in 2013. But he would not speculate on how long it would take for the group to recover the investment and start building net earnings.

Adelson attributed the years of delay of the project to the international financial crisis in 2008 after financing dried up. But he stressed not a penny was taken from Macau for the group’s development project in Singapore during the crisis. Government restrictions on foreign workers also pushed back the opening date, he explained.

As to the timing of the opening, Sands Macau President and CEO, Edward Tracy said it was in time to meet the best development period in Macau when gaming and tourism were experiencing the best growth period. He stressed that the casinos on the Cotai Strip were different from those on the Macau Peninsula, especially those closer to the Barrier Gate where visitors tend to stay a shorter period of time and only engage in gaming. Those on the Cotai Strip have more leisure and entertainment elements and would not be in direct competition with casinos elsewhere. Tracy expected visitors to the resort to stay longer in order to enjoy leisure and shopping activities. He estimated that the average time of stay by visitors to Macau would reach 3.6 days in five years’ time, compared with the current 1.5 days. Sands is expected to benefit from the growing number of middle-class visitors drawn to shopping and other non-gambling attractions at their Cotai resorts.

“Asia’s biggest launch party”

Following a high wire performance by sky walker Jade Kindar-Martin and his wife, who traversed a 1,700-foot distance 500 feet above the ground on a wire less than one inch thick, the opening ceremony, said to be “Asia’s biggest launch party”, was kicked off to mark the arrival of an integrated city comprising 1.2 million square feet of retail, entertainment and dining facilities, as well as meetings and convention space.

As to gaming space, the resort currently comprises 300,000 square feet but the number of gaming tables was not specified. But according to AP the first phase features 340 gaming tables and 40 VIP rooms for high-rollers. Another 200 tables will be added later this year. The resort will open in stages and be completed in 2013 when the property will have over 5,800 hotel rooms and suites, 1.2 million square feet of meetings and convention space, and 300,000 square feet of gaming space.

Gaming revenue has been growing dramatically in recent years, powered by the numerous wealthy high-rolling gamblers from mainland China, who are estimated to account for more than two-thirds of total gambling revenue. But the industry is heavily reliant on the wealthy mainland Chinese gamblers in the VIP rooms run by junket operators.

Events were held from early morning to the evening yesterday and senior executives were all there to meet the VIPs and the media. In a press conference attended by hundreds of journalists from around the world, the management team promised to “change the landscape” of the industry.
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Old April 16th, 2012, 12:44 PM   #256
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Ponte 16 owner tips success
The Standard
Monday, April 16, 2012

Success Universe (0487) is to spend HK$700 million on the third phase of its Macau gambling project Ponte 16 that is expected to provide a faster payback than the previous stages.

The new extension, set to begin later this year, will comprise a mid-tier shopping mall, restaurants and 20 gambling tables spread over 40,000 square meters. It has yet to receive approval from the government. Completion is set for 2014.

Altogether about HK$4 billion will be spent on Ponte 16, which recorded its first net profit in 2011 after opening in 2008.

"We hope to have shops that can attract both locals and visitors in the new shopping mall," said Success Universe deputy chairman Hoffman Ma Ho-man. "We are not aiming at luxury brands, but a wider spectrum. It will be great if we can have H&M and Abercombie & Fitch."

Ponte 16 is situated in an historic downtown district on the main island. Rival Sands China (1928) opened a three-tower resort Sands Cotai Central last Wednesday with an investment of HK$3.9 billion. Ma said Ponte 16's customers would be different from those in Cotai.

In January, the company raised HK$309 million in a rights issue. This increased chairman Sonny Yeung Hoi-sing's stake to 53.26 percent from 41.45 percent.

Ma said the gearing ratio has fallen to about 30 percent from 76 percent. "We may only need financing again should we come across any attractive acquisition opportunities in Asia," said Ma, adding the company had sufficient funding for the third phase of Ponte 16.

Ponte 16 will include a Sofitel hotel, a casino with 109 tables, and a Michael Jackson museum.

Ma said the hotel room rate was raised 6-8 percent last year and that a further revision is unlikely this year.

The company will take part in an MJ collection auction world tour from August to November. Success Universe's losses narrowed to HK$3.3 million last year from HK$44.4 million in 2010.
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Old April 18th, 2012, 06:06 PM   #257
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More transparency for buildings under construction
18/04/2012 10:36:00
Macau Daily Times

“We want a healthy development in the property market”, said Executive Council spokesperson Leong Heng Teng yesterday, after announcing the end of debates over a regulation on the sale of units in buildings under construction. The law had already been announced in October 2010 and will suit the purpose of reducing unfinished construction projects by regulating the purchase and sale of said buildings. “In Macau, this is a usual practice of property transaction”, said Leong Heng Teng, “but the buyer awareness is low”. Leong explained that there had been many instances of buildings under construction being sold before the government had approved their construction. Thus, with the new law, the buildings first need to be registered before they can be sold, in order to avoid this problem.

Sanctions based on the value of the building will be imposed, said André Cheong, director of the Legal Affairs Bureau. As a result, the law will supposedly bring more transparency to the transactions and to guarantee the rights and interests of the involved parties.

The new law will be comprised of eight elements, these being the “establishment of an authorization system for the prior sale of buildings under construction”, the regulation of the form and the content of the contracts for the sale of these buildings, the regulation of the registration process of the buildings, the establishment of a special process for the cancellation of the registration, the regulation of real estate brokerage for the sale of the buildings, the stipulation of the inspections and of the administrative sanctions, and the provision of rules for already-sold buildings under construction.

Under the future regulation, every contract for the sale of a building under construction has to be approved by a lawyer, and the signatures of the involved parties must be notarized. After 30 days of the purchase or effect of a mortgage for the building, it must be registered. The contracts for already-sold buildings under construction established before the new law comes into effect are maintained, but the sale of the remaining part must be conducted according to the new regulations.

Confronted with doubts over whether the new regulations are going to delay the construction procedure, André Cheong stated that “if all the necessary documents are delivered properly, the new regulation won’t cause any delay.”
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 04:45 AM   #258
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700 million to extend Ponte 16 shopping mall
18/04/2012 10:37:00
Macau Daily Times

Success Universe (478) is spending HKD 700 million to extend its shopping mall in Ponte 16, adding around 20 to 30 gaming tables to its casino, and planning an extra gaming room.

Yesterday Ponte 16 announced the securing of HKD1.9 billion and RMB 400 million 5-year syndicated loans for its extension plans.

Speaking to Hong Kong media, Success Universe’s Deputy Chairman Hoffman Ma Ho-Man said the company would apply for a 20 percent increase in gaming tables which would, if approved by the authority, add around 20 to 30 new tables to the casino-hotel which currently has more than one hundred tables, 18 of which are considered ‘VIP.’.

Chairman Ho-Man believed the economic situation in the mainland, including the Government’s tightening over monetary policies, would not have much influence on their gaming business.

However he expressed worry that debts would increase as credit conditions become tighter on the mainland; however, the casino would enforce stricter screening of mainland gamblers’ credit records and require mortgage from some VIP clients. In addition, they planned on opening one more gaming room and recruiting one extra junket operator.

He expected gaming revenue in 2012 to be lower than last year but would maintain the double-digit level.

When asked about lottery business on the mainland, Chairman Ho-Man said “The time was still not ripe for launching the investment before the mainland authorities finalize their laws regulating lottery operations.”

But he added that the company was already running a trial lottery business in Jiangxi and Qinghai provinces.

As to the extension of the shopping mall in Ponte 16, Chairman Ho-Man was quoted as saying “The works would start later this year and finish in 2014.”
The MOP 700 million project is expected to make the mall a 400,000 square-foot shopping enclave in order to further tap the spending power of mainland tourists

“The mainland Chinese are very rich,” he told the media, “we hope to have shops that attract more customers.”

He also indicated that their shop portfolio would not be limited to luxurious brands, citing the inclusion of mid-range brands such as H&M as well as Abercrombie & Fitch.

After Macau Daily Times’ enquiry with SJM - the owner of Ponte 16 - over the extension details, Property Development Limited announced yesterday the signing of HKD 1.9 billion and RMB 400 million 5-year loan facilities with eleven leading financial institutions which the company did not specify, only indicating that the mandated lead arranger and book-keeper of these facilities was Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Macau) Limited.
“The proceeds of the Facilities will be used primarily to refinance existing credit facilities, to repay shareholders’ loans and to fund the construction of Phase III of the Ponte 16 Resort development,” it said.
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Old April 25th, 2012, 02:32 PM   #259
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Urban planning in action
25/04/2012 08:30:00 Sum Choi
Macau Daily Times



As a key step paving the way for a long-awaited law on urban planning, the government is launching a public consultation on the draft of the “Urban Planning Law” as well as its complementary regulations, with an aim to create a better urban environment for living and sustainable development of Macau; also to enforce a strict mechanism on land resources management that helps to prevent erratic decisions by public officials that might lead to events similar to the Ao Man Long case.

In a press conference yesterday Lau Si Io, the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, announced the 45-day consultation from April 25 to June 8 to gauge the public’s views on the draft of the much-anticipated law. It will govern the legal mechanism over the urban planning procedures including who and how to draw up a strategic plan on the coordinated use of lands, infrastructures, public spaces and sites of historic and cultural importance. The law is also crucial for Macau’s push to diversify its economy by developing a world travel and leisure hub, and economic cooperation with neighbouring regions.

On the levels of planning, the government suggests dividing the works into “overall” design and “detailed” design; the former governs general planning of Macau such as the orientation of the city as a whole or of individual regions in the territory, while the latter governs more specific planning such as purpose of land use, land development indicators including limits on buildings’ heights and floor areas, as well as requirements on transportation networks, public facilities and public spaces. As for the procedures for urban planning, a department will be set up to implement site investigation, research, surveying, report writing and related works after the Chief Executive initiated the operation by executive dispatch.

The planning, once decided, would have legally-binding effects on both individual citizens and government officials, and violations are liable for punishments. Lao Si Io stressed that the planning decisions, including the purposes of land use, could not be amended by individual government officials but only through established legislative procedures stating; “that mechanism would serve to address the society’s concerns over the defects in the current system for land grants and deciding the purposes of use of lands,” he said in response to media enquiry over the government’s decision to approve eight more land plots to the company developing the five lands opposite to the Macau International Airport. These are the same lands which are now at the centre of a corruption trial against the former Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Ao Man Long.

Although the current Secretary for Transport and Public Works declined to comment on the trial itself due to legal considerations, he said the Urban Planning Law, after being enacted, would help to refine the system for management of public land resources and to prevent possible irregularities in land tenders.

As an initiative to strengthen transparency in decision-making, the authority is required to launch a 60-day consultation prior to each planning to collect feedbacks from the public and property owners affected, as well as a cross-departmental government committee.

An advisory committee will also be set up as a channel to communicate the opinions of the public and the professionals in relevant fields to the Chief Executive for a more all-round decision that addresses the concerns of different stakeholders.

Wong Chan Tong, Chief of the Office of the Secretary for Transport and Public Works said at the initial stage, the committee will comprise of around 20 to 40 members including scholars, prominent social members and government representatives in architectural, cultural, ecological, landscapes, transportation, infrastructure and engineering fields.

While the nature of the body is an advisory one, it could become a decision-making one “should the conditions be ripe after a period of practical functioning,” Wong said. He stressed that social members should constitute the majority of the committee while government representatives would be the minority, or less than half of the total number of members. There will be a mechanism to avoid conflict of interests by committee members in relation to the planning projects they are requested to advice on.

In response to the media’s enquiry into the long delay of the works on legislature on urban planning, Wong mentioned the works in preliminary consultations, as well as “a lack of experts in urban planning.”

The Macau Urban Planning Institute and the Architects Association of Macau were not immediately available to respond to Wong’s assertion, and whether they have any expectations of the committee.
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Old April 30th, 2012, 06:26 PM   #260
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Government eyes theme parks for economic diversification
27/04/2012 08:06:00
Macau Daily Times

Chief Executive reassured the Legislative Assembly of the government’s determination to diversify its economy by developing innovative industries in Hengqin, and transforming itself into a world travel and leisure hub, and one the crucial elements is the building of theme park. He also promised more venues for art groups.

In answering lawmaker Cheang Chi Keong’s enquiry regarding the practical works being taken by the government in relation to its ambition to become a world travel and leisure hub, Fernando Chui Sai On said that the city needed to create more attractions and tourist spots. He mentioned more resorts were being created in recent years along with new casinos, but Macau still had no theme park.

“What we lack now is a theme park. Maybe we could have some kind of policy inclination to encourage and support the city to have its own theme park” - Chui Sai On

“What we lack now is a theme park - maybe we could have some kind of policy inclination to encourage and support the city to have its own theme park,” he said, without elaborating on the number of theme parks Macau ‘needed’, or what kinds of theme parks he was envisioning - such as established brand names like Disneyland and Universal Studios, or newly created ones. Neither did he mention possible sites for the parks, or time-frames for the idea.

As another initiative to diversify Macau’s economy, Chui also suggested the open bidding for land dedicated to medium and small-sized department stores, as well as budget hotels, which are deemed the elements urgently needed to make Macau’s economic structure healthier.

He admitted that it’s a very challenging job to diversify the economy, but he assured that the authority had been trying hard to do this. He mentioned that casinos are now adding more non-gaming elements, including shopping and entertainment, as well as convention areas and exhibitions to their new projects.

Chui also stressed the new opportunities that Hengqin offered, including the University of Macau’s new campus, and the industrial zone for Chinese traditional medicines, in which Macau has competitive advantages (including national laboratories set up in local universities). He pledged to help Macau’s small and medium-sized enterprises develop in Hengqin.

Regarding cultural issues, Chui promised to allocate rehearsal and performance space for cultural groups and artists. When addressing lawmaker Vitor Cheung Lup Kwan’s concern that local artists had complained of difficulties in securing these venues – a crucial element contributing to their career development, Chui also stressed that the authority had been looking for affordable venues in various areas for these purposes.

In response to Chan Chak Mo’s question regarding Macau’s efforts to join the International Olympic Committee, Chui said the body was for sovereign countries, and not special administrative regions under the protection of a sovereign country, so Macau would be unable to join. Instead, the city should use its ample resources in sports facilities and venues that have hosted major international competitions to further promote sports amongst the public and to better train athletes for international games.
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