Suncity Group Holdings has plans to try to get in on Japan’s integrated resort (IR) scene, hoping for the chance to win a bid for Wakayama. It’s going to be up against some stiff competition, which may be part of the reason it is considering an alternative approach. The Hong Kong-listed company is purchasing the majority stake in a Japanese company that owns land in Okinawa and is planning on building a non-gaming facility on the location.
Suncity announced the acquisition last Friday, explaining that it will purchase 51% of MSRD Corp. Ltd. That entity owns land on Miyako Island, in the city of Miyakojima, and Suncity sees it as a “good opportunity” to build its tourism operations while diversifying its portfolio “in terms of geographical locations from China to the East Asia region.”
40 villas, a pool and a hotel tower with over 100 keys are expected to be built on the site, which covers 256,952 square feet. The property consists of “natural fields, windbreak forest/barrier, farmland, or public roads” and Suncity adds, “The company intends to apply to Okinawa’s Legal Affair Bureau for conversion of its designated use for resort hotel development.”
The acquisition will be funded by an entity owned by Suncity chairman and executive director Alvin Chau. The remaining 49% of MSRD is held by just two entities, one with 39% and the other with the remaining 10%.
Suncity views Japan as having a lot of potential as a tourist destination, especially as the number of Chinese tourists continue to increase. There are now direct flights to Miyakojima from Hong Kong that facilitate travel and the company explains, “The group will continue to diversify its businesses to tourism-related business in Asian countries and grasp opportunities on the provision for hotel and integrated resort general consultancy services.”
The fact that Japan is about to launch its IR industry can’t hurt, either. This will certainly attract more tourists from all parts of the globe. However, if Suncity believes that Okinawa might eventually see gambling, it could be greatly mistaken. Denny Tamaki, who became the prefecture’s governor late last year, is strongly opposed to gambling in the area. The same was true for his predecessor, the late Takeshi Onaga, and their sentiment follows that of the majority of the local population.