32 Henry Cheng
Chow Tai Fook Enterprises
POWER SCORE: 892
POSITION LAST YEAR: 30
CLAIMS TO FAME
Took 4.99% equity stake in Australia’s Star Entertainment, deepening a strategic partnership
Major investor in Hoiana IR in central Vietnam
SJM Holdings director and 10% owner of its parent company STDM
Acquired Baha Mar, largest resort in the Caribbean, from Chinese state creditors
Henry Cheng is realizing his father’s ambition of becoming a major player in gaming. In 1982, the late Cheng Yu-tung did his pal Stanley Ho a favor, buying out an unwanted 10% partner in Ho’s STDM gaming company. Cheng the elder repeatedly failed to expand on that base, but the son has acquired stakes in casino projects in Vietnam, Australia and the Bahamas, the latter extricating China state creditors from the inconvenient bankruptcy of US$3.5 billion Baha Mar, the largest resort project in the Caribbean.
In March, Cheng family investment vehicle Chow Tai Fook Enterprises took a 4.99% stake in Australia’s Star Entertainment, as did property developer Far East Consortium, deepening a strategic partnership arrangement. The triumvirate bid successfully for AU$3 billion (US$2.2 billion) Queen’s Wharf Brisbane in 2015 then cooperated on investments in Star properties in Gold Coast and Sydney. Star values CTFE’s database of high net worth customers from its Chow Tai Fook jewelry chain and Rosewood luxury hotels.
In central Vietnam, CTFE-controlled IR Hoiana moves toward opening next year in partnership with Macau junket promoter Suncity Group – which Cheng Yu-tung tried unsuccessfully to buy – and local investors. Like Queen’s Wharf and Baha Mar, Hoiana will feature a Rosewood hotel.
For the full list of 2018 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.