- Alvin Chau’s arrest has caused various knock-on effects even after his resignation.
- China is working with the government of Macau to resolve the situation and guide the process forward.
- Many seem to be pushing for Macau to diversify from its gambling and tourism oriented economy.
MACAU - The arrest of Alvin Chau has sent shockwaves through the Macau gambling community, with many gambling stocks suffering significant drops on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.
Chau, the head of Suncity Group, was arrested earlier in the week for promoting cross-border gambling, and resigned on Wednesday.
The question for China observers and online gambling fans alike is what this means for the future of Macau as a gambling hub.
Macau currently operates as a semi-autonomous region, and this move by China seems aimed at shutting down “junket tourism”, in which rich Chinese nationals cross the border to Macau for destination gambling excursions.
Such excursions are estimated to make up a significant portion of Macau’s gambling market, and shutting them down could do serious damage to Macau’s current status as a gambling hub.
What Is The Future Of Macau?
A clue as to China’s vision of Macau’s future could be found in Macau itself, in the form of a tech-oriented trade fair in which participants discussed the diversification of Macau’s economy.
The conference was hosted by the Macao Technology General Association, whose director, Lu Gang, spoke at the event.
“Macau may have always been known for gambling and tourism, but the pandemic has hit the city hard. Macau has to diversify,” the director said. “Although it’s small in size, Macau is an international platform connecting the mainland to the world and can help Chinese companies venture abroad.”
This was a common theme among speakers at the conference. Zhang Yuzhuo, vice-chairman of the China Association for Science and Technology, delivered a keynote speech that hit similar themes regarding the future of casinos in Macau.
“The Guangdong-Macau in-depth cooperation zone in Hengqin has created a new opportunity for technology innovation and industry transformation of Macau,” Zhang said in his speech. “It will supercharge the diversification of Macau’s economy and continuous prosperity.”
Increased Cooperation Between China And Macau?
In addition to these speeches, there has been some concrete action by the governments of both China and Macau to increase Chinese influence in the region.
The Macau government asked China to appoint a national security advisor in response to the Chau situation, and the Chinese government obliged, appointing Liaison Office head Fu Ziying to the post.
Three other members of the Liaison Office will be promoted to the position of National Security Technical Advisor as well.