Ho Yau Lung believes that a new immigration reform in Japan could set his plans for the country in motion. He has high hopes for the recently proposed immigration bill that passed the house last November. If enacted, the bill will allow businesses to hire foreign workers, which shapes up to be the one thing Ho needs.
Labor immigration changes will be the stepping stone for 14 industries to establishing a potent core of foreign experts. On the other hand, the opposition fears the immigrants situation can get out of hand very quickly. In the face of those fears, the government seeks to recruit more than 340 000 foreigners due to the inability of local businesses to self-sustain. Believers think the bill is a long overdue because of the rapidly aging population.
Melco’s CEO has long had his own vision for the casino industry in Japan, which obviously is heavily reliant on foreign expertise. He promises that the employment model adopted in the signature resorts in Macau and Manila will be the same for Japan too. That is, the company will focus on hiring local prospects. In each case, this will be easier said than done. For one thing, the casino industry practically “does not exist” Ho said.
Foreign labor shapes up to be the saving grace for the industry in Japan. In Ho’s estimation, 10 000 to 20 000 employees will be needed initially. This is why the immigration reform is so key if Melco is to make a go of a potential Japanese project. The company is a prime candidate to take over the management of the integrated resort facility expected to open by 2025.
Japan has already enacted a law allowing casinos to operate on integrated resorts’ territory. The said resorts are planned to be full-fledged establishments with hotels and restaurants as well as game zones and casinos. Ho was eager to announce a $10 billion Japan investment, dedicated only to infrastructure. An investment that big is a rare sight in the field, but the fledgling gambling industry in the country presents a strong incentive for all big players. Ho went on to reaffirm his intention by saying:
“Anything less than building the greatest integrated resort ever built would be a shame”
The Next Step Will be Forming a Partnership with Local Firms
Following July’s IR operation permit, many companies have shown interest in managing one of the three resorts planned for now. The battle for the untapped markets pits Melco against giants like MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Galaxy Entertainment Group. The number of rival companies is even greater as many small ones are trying to make waves as well. Given the stiff competition, Ho has long been in negotiations with local companies to increase his chances of Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited of coming out on top.
The forty-two-year-old CEO said that after July’s reforms, it’s much easier to find common ground with Japanese firms. Ho has set eyes on Osaka and he’s prioritizing partnerships with companies with strong influence in the city. He seems content with the job done so far, but the huge investment and commitment may be a potential deterrent to potential partners.