More than just a provider of VIP services, Suncity Group is hoping its broad experience across a wide range of entertainment and luxury services can give it an edge in its bid to develop an IR in Japan.
With Wakayama prefecture officially launching its operator recruitment process at the end of March, one of the more unique companies to show interest in Wakayama is renowned Asian VIP service provider Suncity Group.
Operating in Japan via its local entity Suncity Group Holdings Japan Ltd, Suncity’s Wakayama bid will be centered around its deep experience in a variety of entertainment services that provide a natural fit to what Japan’s first IRs will be expected to offer.
At its core, Suncity Group is known as Asia’s dominant VIP entertainment service conglomerate, with more than 50% market share in Macau and a presence in most gaming markets across the Asia-Pacific region including the Philippines, Cambodia, Korea and Vietnam. In total, the company operates 28 VIP clubs in the region including the world’s first certified SGS Qualicert “7-Star Casino VIP Club” at StarWorld Macau.
Led by Chairman Alvin Chau, it is only recently that Suncity Group has stepped into casino operations of its own, although the transition has been rapid and widespread. The company tells IAG that its goal is to “pursue international development and diversified high-end entertainment services,” and that, “We are committed to establishing the group as a world-class company, a first-class leader in its industry with a customer-oriented brand and a value creator with highly efficient management and excellent corporate social responsibility.”
As such, Suncity will open first fully-developed integrated resort, Hoiana, in Vietnam in 2021, the first phase of a much bigger US$4 billion development to be completed sometime around 2030.
Suncity also became the largest single shareholder in Summit Ascent Holdings, which owns and operates casino-resort Tiger de Cristal in Vladivostok, Russia, early last year and is already embarking on that project’s Phase 2 expansion.
And in Manila, the company last year signed a multi-layered agreement with two local Philippines firms to develop and operate a US$700 million hotel and casino as part of an expansive 31-hectare development called Westside City Resorts World, located in Manila’s Entertainment City precinct.
However, it is other services that set Suncity apart and it is upon these the company will undoubtedly be relying as a competitive edge in Japan’s IR race.
Among its litany of subsidiaries and affiliates is Sun Entertainment Culture Limited, an entertainment firm specializing in film production, live concert tours and event management.
Established in 2011, Sun Entertainment Culture has invested in and produced more than 65 films including critically-acclaimed “The White Storm” and “Paradox” and 2015 action-adventure film “Insurgent.” As part of its 2020 plan, Sun Entertainment is targeting further expansion through Southeast Asia with a focus on concert tours from popular domestic and international performers.
In Japan, Suncity’s entertainment affiliate has highlighted its intention to “tap into Japan’s diversified entertainment market and related industries.
“In addition to concerts, high-priority investment targets include Broadway and foreign stage productions and large-scale exhibitions, with the aim of injecting fresh impetus into the Japanese performing arts industry with the expectation of producing larger economic benefits,” the company told IAG.
Complementing Suncity’s entertainment focus is Sun Food and Beverage Group Ltd, a diversified F&B entity operating a wide variety of restaurants across Asia. Sun Food and Beverage Group currently runs nine restaurants in Macau, highlighted by SKY21 at the top of AIA Tower, and has already set up eight new restaurants in Chengdu and Chongqing, mainland China, featuring Vietnamese cuisine. The idea is to align with Suncity Group’s Vietnam resort Hoiana, where the company will launch a variety of Sichuan restaurants, allowing the two cultures to merge through delicacies.
Travel between those two locations, and others, may even be facilitated via another group subsidiary, Sun Travel, which recently launched a new mobile application called “Sun Trip” to utilize Suncity’s presence and geographical advantage in various regions to become an all-round service platform for global tourism. Sun Travel offers tailor-made trips for its guests to locations and experiences all over the world.
Suncity says it wants to heavily support the communities in which it operates, pointing to its widespread involvement in multiple Macau sporting, entertainment and CSR initiatives in Macau as an example.
The group has been a supporter of the Macau Grand Prix, held each November, for six consecutive years as well as supporting Macau’s International Film Festival and Awards, Miss Macau and the annual Chinese New Year Parade.
More recently, its charitable efforts have included helping the Macau and Wuhan communities through the COVID-19 outbreak, specifically via a MOP$30 million (US$3.75 million) donation to Hubei Province to purchase urgently needed medical resources for Wuhan hospitals, a donation of 59,700 N95 masks to frontline medical staff in Hubei Province and another 400,000 masks for the company’s own staff and their families.
“Actively fulfilling its CSR responsibility, Suncity Group spares no effort in participating in volunteering activities as it aims to contribute to the development of a harmonious and warm society,” the company said.