SAIPAN PROJECT DIRECTOR
Imperial Pacific International
POWER SCORE: 611
POSITION LAST YEAR: 41
CLAIMS TO FAME
• Ex-Hengsheng Group junket executive turned so-called “mastermind” of casino monopoly in US Pacific territory Saipan
• Seeking further extension of February 2021 deadline to complete beachfront casino hotel
WHEN all else fails, ask your mother. Imperial Pacific International majority shareholder and Chairman Cui Li Jie reportedly sold 10% of the Hong Kong-listed company to help fund the beachfront hotel project run by her son, IPI Saipan Project Director Ji Xiaobo, to a Chinese investment firm.
IPI also announced a US$500 million loan from a Japanese company toward the 329-room project. After getting the deadline moved from August 2018 to February 2021, it’s seeking a further extension to August 2022. The hotel, which IPI says has already cost it US$828 million, is phase one of a US$7.1 billion investment plan that includes a multi-resort complex on Saipan, the main island of US Pacific territory Commonwealth of Norther Marianas Islands, with a population of 55,000 that’s a five hour flight from the nearest major markets.
A 15 April presentation on Saipan with local government representatives and IPI’s Saipan CEO, Mark Brown, attracted “300 investment banks and senior investors” to help create an “ocean miracle,” according to a company news release.
Meanwhile, gaming revenue at Imperial Pacific’s casino fell 94% in the first half of this year to HK$509 million (US$64 million), largely due to a HK$92 billion decrease in VIP roll, and IPI lost HK$1.9 billion. Outstanding receivables stand at HK$9.2 billion. Imperial Pacific is also embroiled in legal battles over construction worker injuries, financial disclosures and sex discrimination.
For the full list of 2019 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.