29 Ji Xiaobo
SAIPAN PROJECT DIRECTOR
Imperial Pacific International Holdings
CLAIMS TO FAME
• Described by colleagues as “mastermind” of Imperial Pacific International casino resort in Saipan
• Soft opened permanent casino in July; hotel and more to come
POWER SCORE 898 LAST YEAR –
With three CEOs this year, Imperial Pacific International (IPI) is decidedly under the control of Ji Xiaobo, the former Heng Sheng junket executive listed as its US$1 million a year project manager in Saipan, center of the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands, a US Pacific territory with visa-free entry for mainland Chinese. Mainland born Mr Ji and his mother hold most of Hong Kong listed IPI’s equity.
Imperial Pacific’s casino soft opened in July. It has 30 VIP and 46 mass tables, 184 machines, a restaurant and lounge, with 340 oceanfront guest rooms to come.
Mark Brown, who rose from dealer to President of Trump Casinos before opening Venetian Macao, got IPI on track, securing the hotel site, opening a temporary “training” casino and producing astronomic VIP roll – US$6 billion on 16 tables reported last December – but he couldn’t finish financing the hotel. He moved from Saipan CEO to Chairman in January. His successor, old school Macau executive Kwong Yiu-ling, ceded after the soft opening to Henry Cheang.
Roll reports have since stopped and IPI’s situation remains murky. It reported first half revenue of HK$7.3 billion (US$938 million) – 97% from VIP gaming – and HK$8.1 billion in outstanding customer debt.
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