Melco to build billion dollar mixed use site in Guangdong Province

By William Brown Updated
China sends strong message against cross-border gambling

The parent company of international integrated resort operator Melco Resorts & Entertainment has won a bid to build a multi-billion dollar mixed-use residential, entertainment hospitality complex in Zhongshan, China.

Inside Asian Gaming reports that Melco International Development has won a joint bid with Hong Kong-listed Agile Group that would see a gross floor area of 750,000 square complex in the heart of Zhongshan, located just north of Zhuhai.

To be mostly completed by 2025, it will feature residential, commercial, recreational and entertainment elements, including residential complexes, office areas, hotels, serviced apartments, wellness centres, shopping malls and a theme park.

Melco said that the development, to be jointly managed by Melco and Agile, was part of its strategy to invest in non-gaming assets while being an active participant in the formidable development of China, particularly the Greater Bay Area.

The company added that it plans to leverage its successful intellectual properties created in Macau into the development and management of the theme park, restaurants and other hospitality facilities in the complex.

Melco expands entertainment offering near Macau border

Melco owns and operates integrated resorts City of Dreams, Studio City and Altira in Macau, City of Dreams Manila in the Philippines and is developing City of Dreams Mediterranean in Cyprus, slated to open in late 2022.

It is also one of two remaining contenders to partner with Yokohama in its pursuit of an integrated resort licence in Japan.

According to a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, wholly-owned Melco subsidiary Melco Zhongshan has formed a joint venture with a subsidiary of Agile, Zhongshan Yachen, that will see them acquire the project land for US$618 million.

Melco, via its joint venture parties, will be responsible for development, management and operation of the theme park.

It will also contribute US$23 million to the land acquisition price, US$39 million towards the development of the land, fund the cash contribution on any construction costs and pre-opening expenses in respect to the theme park that are over and above US$224 million, and fund the ongoing operational costs of the theme park.

Melco Zhongshan will subsequently be entitled to all profits and losses arising from the operation and ownership of the theme park.

“Over the past 15 years, Melco has been creating, developing and operating world-class entertainment facilities in Macau and globally,” Melco’s chairman and chief executive officer Lawrence Ho said.

“In doing so, we created a distinctive model of integrating quality leisure, culture and entertainment. We have developed incredible brands that have great growth potential beyond our existing properties.

“We are determined to play an active role in the development of the Greater Bay Area, and to leverage the incredible expertise of the group in non-gaming activities.”

The development is an astute move by Lawrence Ho. It ticks a lot of boxes for Melco, not only by expanding its non-gaming offerings into Macau’s largest feeder market of Guangdong Province, but also supporting the mainland government’s expansion initiatives across the Greater Bay Area.

Melco further strengthens its connections with the mainland by partnering with Agile Group, which has two companies listed on the Hong Kong exchange.

Agile was established in 1992, has nearly 60,000 employees, does business in more than 200 cities across mainland China and has millions more in assets.

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