Chow Tai Fook sinks US$2.6 billion into Incheon Casino project
Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Group will invest US$2.6 billion in the Incheon Casino project that targets Chinese visitors.
Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Group will invest US$2.6 billion in the Incheon Casino project that targets Chinese visitors. This is Chow Tai Fook's second casino development after its joint development bid with Far East Consortium for the Queens Pier Casino project in Brisbane, Australia.
The Incheon municipal government said it plans to start the first phase of construction for the resort that also includes a hotel, shopping center and conference facilities this year. The two phases are slated to complete in 2019 and 2022 respectively.
“The development of the gaming industry in Korea will have a direct effect on Chow Tai Fook’s jewelry sales,” Guotai Junan Securities' International VP Yong Guo said. Chow Tai Fook will develop large-scale integrated entertainment district that will include jewelry stores.
The Incheon Casino project is still awaiting approval by the Korean government. In January, Seoul already approved two casino projects that are open only to foreign customers. The projects are managed by Korea’s largest casino group Paradise and Grand Korea Leisure. The proximity of their projects to northeastern China is expected to help attract Chinese visitors.
Korea restricts its citizens from gambling in the country, and casino development projects are means for promoting tourism and winning more visitors to contribute to the country's economy.
The number of Chinese visitors to Korea grew 41% in 2015, reaching 6.1 million visitors or a third of all foreign visitors to Korea, according to Korea Tourism Organization data. Jeju Island, which has eight casinos and maintains a visa-free policy for Chinese, had annual arrivals shoot up from 175,000 to 1.8 million visitors in the year.
However not everyone is optimistic about the long-term gains of Korea’s gaming industry. Guotai Junan Securities’ Mr. Guo said: “Korea definitely can’t match Macau in terms of the numbers of Chinese visitors. Even Singapore’s burgeoning casinos haven’t started turning profit yet, so Korea's gaming industry is unlikely to be on par with Macau.”(Translation by David)