Date
13 December 2017
Macau must diversify its economy and bring down the dependence on the gaming industry, a mainland official has reiterated. Photo: Bloomberg
Macau must diversify its economy and bring down the dependence on the gaming industry, a mainland official has reiterated. Photo: Bloomberg

Macau must reduce dependence on gaming sector: Li Fei

Macau should reduce its dependence on the gaming sector, a mainland official said, warning that over-reliance on one industry poses a threat to the long-term prospects of the city’s economy.

Li Fei, deputy secretary general of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said during a visit to Macau that the special administrative region must diversify its economy and bring down the dependence on the gaming industry.

The local government should not only care about tax revenue and growth, but also strive for stable and sustainable economic development and keep in mind the interests of the country as a whole, Li said, according to the Hong Kong Economic Journal.

The remarks dragged down gaming plays Wednesday on the Hong Kong bourse, with Wynn Macau Ltd. (01128.HK) shares sliding 6.1 percent and SJM Holdings Ltd. (00880.HK) falling 5.8 percent.

Sands China Ltd. (01928.HK) and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (00027.HK) both closed down 5.1 percent, while MGM China Holdings Ltd. (02282.HK) lost 2 percent.

Macau’s casino revenue fell 19.6 percent last month from a year earlier, and analysts expect another 20 percent slide this month, as an anti-graft and austerity campaign in China has kept mainland high-rollers in check.

But there are hopes that authorities will try to shore up the number of overall visitors to the special administrative region. Measures such as 24-hour border crossing should help.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Macau later this month to attend the inauguration ceremony for the territory’s chief executive and participate in events marking the special administrative region’s 15th anniversary.

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