Posted by: Sam Carson | 28 September, 2007

Offshoring Culture: Exporting Vegas and Hollywood

Before Las Vegas there was Macao. Look back, way back. Before Americans understood gambling. Back to a time when wind power was commercially viable for transport and Britain ruled the world. There was Hong Kong for business, and the Portuguese outpost of Macao for pleasure.

A few things have changed now: Macao isn’t Portuguese anymore; it’s Chinese, but much of it looks Italian. Some things haven’t. Last year Macau overtook Las Vegas as the world’s largest gambling destination. That was before the opening of The Venetian, the world’s largest gambling resort.

The Venetian is the second casino built in Macao by Sheldon Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands.  His first, a $265million punt he took in May 2004, paid itself off in less than a year according to the Financial Times.  This has prompted interest from other Vegas players, notably Steve Winn who opened the $704million Winn Macao last year.  The Venetian is the Sand’s response to Winn, $2.5billion of casino, shopping mall and conference center, themed after the aquatic city of Venice.

Southern China isn’t the only place where American entertainment corporations are waging emerging market turf wars.  Dubai is working impossibly hard to build a global hub city from sand, currently employing one quarter of the world’s construction cranes, yes think about that.  One quarter of construction cranes.  Not far away Abu Dhabi is also trying to cash in, having just struck a deal with Warner Brothers for film studios, a theme park, among other things, according to the New York Times:

Warner Bros Entertainment has agreed with United Arab Emirates’ Aldar Properties and a UAE media company to set up a film and video game production firm, state-controlled Aldar said on Wednesday.

The companies, including Abu Dhabi Media Co, will also develop a theme park, hotel and cinemas in the Gulf Arab emirate, Aldar said in a statement.

“This is a multi-billion dollar transaction and it will grow as the years go by and as it expands beyond the boundaries of the UAE,” Aldar CEO Ronald Barrott told Reuters by telephone. “We will tap capital market instruments to finance the project.”

It seems the “Emerging Markets” are really starting to emerge now.


  1. […] wrote an interesting post today on Offshoring Culture: Exporting Vegas and HollywoodHere’s a quick […]

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