Genting, Landing International to jointly develop Jeju Island resort

Singapore casino operator teams with mainland developer in US$2.2b South Korea gaming resort

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 February, 2014, 5:13am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 February, 2014, 5:13am

Casino operator Genting Singapore and mainland developer Landing International Development will jointly develop a US$2.2 billion casino resort on Jeju Island, South Korea - a popular holiday destination for rich mainlanders.

The project will be Jeju's largest tourism resort, featuring luxury hotels, a shopping centre, a theme park, villas and flats, as well as gaming entertainment and other leisure and entertainment facilities.

It marks Genting's first investment in South Korea.

China became South Korea's No1 source of tourists last year, supplanting Japan, after Seoul relaxed visa rules for mainlanders.

The state-run Korea Culture and Tourism Institute announced in December that 4.05 million Chinese tourists visited South Korea in the first 11 months of last year, up 43 per cent from 2.83 million for the whole of 2012.

Genting, with a market capitalisation of S$16.9 billion (HK$103.3 billion), operates gaming and resort developments in Australia, the Bahamas, Malaysia, the Philippines and Britain.

The resort will be built on 230 hectares of land by a 50-50 joint venture between Genting and Landing.

Landing chairman Yang Zhihui said he expected the joint venture would pull in sales of five billion yuan (HK$6.4 billion) from the sale of flats by the end of this year.

"Construction work will commence once we obtain approval," he said.

Yang said Landing, with a market capitalisation of HK$8.9 billion, was focusing on developing property projects outside China. It raised more than HK$1 billion from a rights issue last month.

"Negotiations are under way for property developments in Asia and Australia," he said.

Yang is also the controlling shareholder in Anhui Landing Holding Group, the only real estate company in Anhui province.

Jeju attracts about 10 million visitors a year, with a fifth to a quarter of them foreigners.

Landing requested trading in its shares to be halted at 9am yesterday pending the announcement. They closed at 63 HK cents on Thursday.

South Korea forbids its citizens from gambling in casinos except Kangwon Land, an isolated resort three hours by car from Seoul.

The country has 16 foreigner-only casinos whose primary customers come from China and Japan.

Genting Singapore chairman Lim Kok Thay said: "We are confident that together with Landing International, we will create a game changer for tourism development and employment in Jeju Island."