[photopress:hengqin_island.jpg,full,alignright]This is a little complicated because of the geography. Hengqin is an island in Zhuhai, a prefecture-level city in the Guangdong province of China. That is an unassailable fact. However, it is very close to Macao and, in a sense, could be thought of as an extension to Macao because there is a connecting bridge.
Hengqin is the largest island among the 146 islands of Zhuhai. It is roughly three times the size of Macao. It has all the attributes needed for a resort — broad bays, sandy beaches and beautiful scenery.
[photopress:sands.jpg,full,alignright]Hengqin was formerly made up of two islands, Da Hengqin and Xiao Hengqin but these were recently connected as a result of land reclamation. The reclaimed island is 96 square km which already has one residential development.
Since the land reclamation and development, there has been a growing opinion in Macao that the island should be leased to Macao, where land is very limited and there is little room for further development.
By September 1, 2005, plans were announced that the government of Guangdong province will allow tax exemptions and adopt flexible immigration control in Hengqin to promote investment from Hong Kong and Macao. This would make all the people connected with gambling in Macao very pleased.
Since late 2005, Las Vegas Sands has openly discussed its multi-billion-dollar plans to develop parts of Hengqin Island into a convention and resort destination. The project would include four million sq ft of hotel space. Plus the supporting convention facilities, retail shops, vacation homes, and golf, tennis and yachting amenities.
Think of it as US$12 billion project and you are about right.
An analyst’s report stated that the US$9 billion-US$12 billion project has secured approval. This according to Jefferies & Co analyst Lawrence Klatzkin who cited Sands’ management.
He may have been a bit premature in making this announcement.
All that has happened is that the government of the city of Zhuhai, which oversees Hengqin, has set up a group to help ‘advance’ the plan. Which is a bit different from full approval.
The company did not say if the central government — which typically gets involved in multi-billion-dollar deals involving multinationals — had even got involved.
So the company issued a statement which said: ‘While the formation of a Project Coordination Committee is a positive step forward, the project remains subject to governmental approvals customary for projects of this scale.’
So it has not happened yet. But it does seem imminent.
Source: Business Times Asia
You must log in to post a comment.