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High-spending jewellery customers are expected to visit Brisbane's proposed casino. Image credit: Destination Brisbane Consortium
High-spending jewellery customers are expected to visit Brisbane's proposed casino. Image credit: Destination Brisbane Consortium

Chinese jeweller takes stake in Brisbane casino

One of the world’s largest jewellery retailers will be involved in a new Brisbane casino and plans to attract some of its highest spending international customers Down Under.

Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE) – which falls under the banner of Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group, the largest listed jewellery retailer in Hong Kong by market capitalisation – has partnered with Sydney-based entertainment group Echo and Melbourne property developer Far East Consortium to form Destination Brisbane Consortium (DBC).

DBC was awarded the contract to develop Queen’s Wharf Brisbane in Queensland last month. The successful tender involved construction of a new integrated resort and entertainment precinct adjacent to the Brisbane CBD, which would include a casino to replace the existing Treasury Casino operated by Echo.

Key to CTFE’s involvement in the project was its high-spending Asian customer base. The proposal claimed the development could help double Brisbane’s visitor expenditure to $30 billion by 2020, attracting an estimated 1.4 million additional tourists per annum. In order to achieve this, DBC plans to leverage the 1.7 million premium jewellery customers across China, Hong Kong and Macau that make up the membership of the Chow Tai Fook Jewellery VIP program.

Bloomberg reported that the Hong Kong jewellery retailer’s loyalty program offered rewards such as yacht cruises and truffle tastings to customers that spent more than HK$1 million (AU$176,689) per annum at Chow Tai Fook Jewellery stores.

CTFE would be paid for any direct VIP business referred to the proposed resort.

Given Chow Tai Fook Jewellery does not currently have a retail presence in Australia and has made no indication that it will expand into this market as part of its role in DBC, the potential influx of high-income international jewellery customers could have flow-on benefits for the local jewellery retail industry.

Jeweller approached DBC for further comment but the company had not responded by the time of publication.

Construction on the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane development is expected to commence in 2017, with the precinct scheduled to open by 2022.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery has been operating for more than 80 years and is one of the world’s largest jewellery retailers in terms of sales. Following its acquisition of US jewellery brand Hearts On Fire in August last year, the company now has a retail network of more than 2,250 Chow Tai Fook and Hearts On Fire points of sale across 500 cities in Greater China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and the US.

CTFE is a private company that is a subsidiary of major Chow Tai Fook Jewellery shareholder Chow Tai Fook Holding. Its principal activities are investment holding, property, hospitality and consumer and retail businesses.

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