One could say that Stephen Hung had the bad luck of bad timing. First, for launching the most expensive hotel in the world just before the VIP market in Macau fell through the floor, losing 50 per cent, and giving the impression that its days were numbered.
And now that, surprisingly, that same market is recovering with gusto and gaming revenues are returning to the dizzying heights they enjoyed at the beginning of the decade, it’s a bit late in the day. Investors have lost confidence, The 13’s repeated delays have caused irreparable damage, and the Hong Kong tycoon himself has been forced to step down as Joint Chairman and Executive Director of The 13 Holdings Limited.
Commentators on local TDM.tv argue that the government should have intervened and prevented the project progressing further because so much bad news can only damage the city’s image.
These commentators seem to forget, however, that as crazy as it might seem it would have been a blunder of the greatest magnitude for the government to have intervened in a private project,. Unless one wants to have a closed, centralised market economy that is likely to be controlled by the government as it pleases.
As if the strange and sleazy kind of business deals that are still made in the present regime of almost total freedom and supposedly governed by the salutary laws of the competition were not enough . . .
The first three months of the Macau Business news portal (www.macaubusiness.com) as well as the websites that are part of it but operate autonomously – the Macau News Agency (www.macaunewsagency.com) and MB.tv (www.macaubusinesstv.com) – are posting traffic increases of 50 per cent a week. By any measure that is a resounding success.
It is true that we still have to improve some features and review content – particularly international, text and video – but the signs could not be more positive. The first news agency, lato sensu, of Macau, MNA is expanding the scope of its coverage and is working and accessible seven days a week. Followers on Facebook as well as MB.tv subscribers (free service) are growing steadily. I just hope we can continue at this galloping pace . . . !