Daily Archives: June 15, 2009

“City Of Dreams” Casino Adds To Allure Of Macau’s Cotai Strip

Melco Entertainment Makes $2 Billion Bet That Macau’s Tourism, Gambling Industry Will Soon Recover From Global Slump

City of Dreams is one of the world's most high-tech, feature-heavy casinos and entertainment complexes

City of Dreams is one of the world's most high-tech, feature-heavy casino and entertainment complexes

We have written several times before on the efforts of Macau’s tourism department to draw in guests from neighboring Mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as foreign guests from the periphery of East Asia and elsewhere. But despite the department’s efforts, overall confidence levels have been spotty at best in the last year, with some entertainment companies, like the Las Vegas Sands Corp., dramatically cutting back in Macau. However, this month there has been good news coming out of Macau’s glitzy Cotai Strip (the city’s answer to the Vegas Strip), with the opening of Melco’s “City of Dreams” casino, a $2 billion project that features 516 gambling tables in a 420,000-square-foot casino, Hard Rock and Grand Hyatt hotels along with a multimedia theater and shops run by DFS.

According to the casino’s owners, City of Dreams is designed to be one of the world’s most advanced gaming complexes, offering a sort of all-inclusive departure from many of Macau’s more old-fashioned gaming centers, but still remaining close enough to the city’s traditional tourism draws to appeal to a wide tourist demographic. With the unusually large investment that Melco has made in this project, however, it is clear that the company is not simply trying to pull foreign tourists away from its rivals, it is also trying to crack a market that has frustrated other casinos for years — the Mainland or Hong Kong gambler. While this group obviously comes to Macau often and spends freely, the problem has traditionally been getting these individuals to stay in Macau for more than one or two days. With the huge array of amenities at “City of Dreams,” Melco is showing their ambition to get this demographic to respond.

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China Merchants Bank Launches Innovative Chinese Contemporary “Art Banking” Fund

Bank Follows Lead of Art Investment Funds Like Castlestone Management, Helping Break Down Barriers of Investment In China’s Cultural Assets

Helping Chinese investors break in to the contemporary Chinese art market -- CMB's Art Banking Fund. Sculpture: Yue Minjun's "Contemporary Terracotta Warrior Series No. 6" (2005)

Helping Chinese investors break in to the contemporary Chinese art market -- CMB's Art Banking Fund. Sculpture: Yue Minjun's "Contemporary Terracotta Warrior Series No. 6" (2005)

China Merchants Bank (ζ‹›ε•†ι“Άθ‘Œ) has launched a new “Art Banking Fund,” an add-on feature for the bank’s private banking division focused on high-net-worth individuals who want to invest in long-term domestic assets as well as contemporary Chinese art. This innovative program is the latest in CMB’s string of unique initiatives for China’s growing investor base, and attempts to reach this traditionally skittish demographic by allowing them to get involved with assets that are both Chinese in origin and a good investment over the long term, destroying one of the barriers for these investors to “Buy [into] China.”

Programs like this, which allow Chinese investors the ability to invest in a basket of hard assets rather than simply putting their money into stocks or other securities, should be quite successful in the mainland, where most investors feel that a diversified portfolio — more weighted towards hard assets like gold, jewelry, or real estate — is crucial. After all, Chinese investors are still a new demographic, despite their country’s age, as investment of this kind took a roughly 60-year break. Now, however, we can see that Chinese banks and investment firms are developing interesting investment strategies and products meant to offer “investment with Chinese characteristics.”

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