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Chinese group to build $100M resort and casino project in Cagayan

By: Roy Stephen C. Canivel – @inquirerdotnet
Inquirer Business

Chinese group Shanghai Jucheng Supply Management will invest $100 million to construct a Jeju Island-inspired integrated resort with casino operations in the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza).

In a statement on Monday, the state-owned firm said the Chinese group signed a memorandum of understanding with Ceza for the project last week.

According to its website, the Jucheng group has a diverse range of businesses, namely: bulk commodity trade, customs clearance service, quarantine inspection service, manufacturing, logistics, and non-performing assets disposal.

It is not clear if this would mark the group’s first foray in tourism development. However, Ceza said the group is looking for a fresh tourism destination in Asia that has the allure of South Korea’s famous Jeju Island.

The group’s main operations in the Philippines, Ceza said, will be the development of a Jeju-inspired seaside integrated resort with casino operations.

The plan comes despite Malacanang’s ban on new casinos. However, Ceza’s enabling law, Republic Act 7922, allowed the state-owned firm to grant a license to a casino.

The entry of the Jucheng group was hinted on back in July this year. Back then, a Ceza top official said a company doing a “Jeju Island type of destination” will invest $500 million. The company’s name was not disclosed then.

Jucheng group’s project will also include theme and water parks that would be similar to tourism-driven complexes in China and major tourist attractions of the world.

Moreover, the group also expressed plans to explore other industries in the country, such as retail, among other initiatives.

“Over the next few years, the Chinese group will pour in investments estimated at $100 million to develop this rarely explored corner off the Northern Pacific Ocean that is part of the sprawling [Ceza] territory,” Ceza said.

Raul Lambino, Ceza administrator and CEO, said he hopes that things would start moving forward this month once Ceza and the Juncheng Group could finalize details of the projected investment.

The Chinese group has also expressed its interest on managing Ceza’s seaports and airport, building townships and engaging in the trade and exchange of financial technology solutions using the blockchain technology.

Ceza said the group’s resort and casino project in the Philippines would also include a chain of the Island Pacific supermarket for imported and local products, a duty free mall for branded products at discounted prices, as well as a five-star suite and service.

Back in May, the group completed the acquisition of Island Pacific Supermarket in the United States, a Filipino chain of Supermarkets, according to the Jucheng’s website.

Lambino said the Jucheng Group is also interested in the production of steel and lithium batteries that will make use of local natural resources found in Cagayan and provide local employment and business opportunities.

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