CEO AND DIRECTOR
CHAIRMAN AND DIRECTOR
Suncity Group Holdings
CHAIRMAN AND NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Summit Ascent Holdings
POWER SCORE: 2,719
POSITION LAST YEAR: 6
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Expanding Suncity from junket promoter to casino owner and operator via Hong Kong listed arm
- Increasing dominance in Macau junket market
- Top Macau native in city’s leading industry
To describe Alvin Chau’s year as eventful would be like calling the COVID-19 pandemic a mild case of seasonal flu.
Already facing a retraction in Macau’s VIP gaming revenue due to a slowdown of economic growth in China and increasing scrutiny of capital outflow by Beijing, the junket sector was blindsided by COVID-19 which saw borders between the nations slammed shut and most international travel put on indefinite hold.
In August, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced that it had established a “blacklist” of overseas tourist destinations it said were disrupting the nation’s outbound tourism market by opening casinos targeting mainland Chinese customers. While none of those destinations were identified, the Ministry was widely believed to be referencing Southeast Asian jurisdictions such as the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam. Suncity Group has VIP rooms in all three.
Meanwhile, rumors circulating online questioning Suncity’s liquidity as a result of such challenges forced Chau to go public with details of the junket’s financials – an unprecedented move for an industry that has traditionally preferred to sail under the radar.
Following more rumors of a “bank run” on some Macau junkets, Chau stated, “We have the capability and enough capital to offset any bad debts and chip deposits of all clients. I would like to reiterate that Suncity is a very stable financial platform.”
Despite this, Suncity Group’s listed entity has continued to plow ahead with its aggressive move into the world of casino operations.
In June it held a soft opening of its Vietnam integrated resort Hoiana, a joint venture between Suncity, local firm VinaCapital and Hong Kong’s VMS Investment Group. Facilities currently up and running include Hoiana Casino – comprising 140 gaming tables and 300 slot machines – Hoiana Shores Golf Club, some F&B outlets and the first of four hotels.
The company has also increased its stake in Summit Ascent Holdings, which owns 60% of Russian casino Tigre de Cristal in Vladivostok, from 24.74% to 69.66%. The US$200 million Phase 2 expansion of Tigre de Cristal is due to open in 2022 adding new hotel space, bars, restaurants, retail and other non-gaming elements.
Late last year Suncity acquired a 51% stake in listed Philippines firm SunTrust Home Developers Inc which in turn reached an agreement to develop and operate a US$700 million casino and hotel in Manila’s new Westside City Resorts World township.
And a newly opened office in Wakayama highlights the company’s plans to develop an integrated resort in Japan.
Clearly Chau himself has confidence in Suncity’s future: in April he exchanged loans he had personally granted the listed arm totaling HK$3.88 billion (US$500 million) into perpetual securities to providing added financial certainty, then committed to provide additional funds up to another HK$6 billion (US$775 million) if needed.
Clearly Chau’s ambition remains as unwavering as ever.
For the full list of 2020 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.