Local gaming-centric economy not inducive of innovation in business data analysis – Data scientist

The low level of digitalisation and the overwhelming role of the gaming sector in the local economy pose challenges to improving the level of data analysis being used by SAR companies, a data scientist expressed today (Wednesday).

During a one hour-long seminar on data science held by the France Macau Chamber of Commerce today, Mathieu, explained how data science’s objective is to make data useful, how businesses thrive in all industries by being data-driven, and what some challenges are in Macau, specifically.

“In my opinion first of all the level of digitalization is very low, you don’t have a lot of data basically, many things are still being written manually, that’s a problem. There’s also not a lot of effort put forth into innovation and there’s also a lack of personal motivation in people that are so wealthy that they decide to ‘just’ lay flat,” Xavier Mathieu data scientist and CEO of Modwize-Macau Consulting suggested.

According to the data scientist, there is also a “lack of awareness and education” in the SAR and a shortage of available qualified talent.

“Even with talents where can they go? There are no real prospects here. This goes to the core of the problem in Macau,” Mathieu noted.

The weight of the casino industry in the local economy was hypothesized as one of the reasons for the low level of data analysis being resorted to, as the considerable amounts of revenues generated by operators do not encourage companies in the field to innovate in this area.

“There’s a feeling that revenue is guaranteed, so why optimise what are already huge amounts of profit? […] Also, hospitality is a human capital heavy industry. If you are driving teams with data it does not work as straightforwardly as giving instructions to a machine”

The limited number of casino gaming licenses allowed in the city was also described as barring competition that could allow possibly for the entry of more data-driven and innovative businesses, such as online gaming.

“The founder and CEO of UK online sport betting company 365bet, Denise Coates, has become one of the most powerful people in gaming in just a few years. That shows a lot,” the data scientist mentioned.

Coates – the richest woman in the UK – has earned more than US$1.5 billion over the past decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mathieu also noted that some challenges for recurring data analysis to improve business performance could lay in management, which might be reluctant to invest or might have excessive expectations on what data analysts can produce that are not met.

“People might also fear for their jobs when you refer automation or might fear for their position and power they have in the company […] This also requires people to make an effort to become more analytical and people might think they do not have them but they can acquire them,” the data scientist noted.

Still, Mathieu underlined positive initiatives such as the Macau SAR Government Open Data Platform, a portal site launched in 2019 that serves as a single point of entry for accessing open data supplied by various government entities, can “encourage people to be more data-driven” and “create a business out” of analysing data.

He also mentioned about the grassroot initiative he’s been leading since 2017 through his association Hong-Kong Data lab, now organizing bi-weekly meetups in Macau.

This meetup is dedicated to people interested in everything data who want to connect and be hands-on on data projects. It has revealed, as the high turn out of the talk did also, that there is a strong interest from individuals in Data Science