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Melco International has partnered with mainland Chinese developer Agile Group Holdings to develop an RMB4bn ($616m) entertainment complex in Zhongshan, China. The property is expected to be completed in 2025, with 51% of the stake going to Melco.

The project will be centred around residential, entertainment and hospitality mixed-use. The complex would have a gross floor area of 750,000 square metres and will include office areas, hotels, service flats, wellness centres, malls and a theme park. The chosen city is located in the Greater Bay Area, with connections to both Macau and Hong Kong.

“Over the past 15 years, Melco has been creating, developing and operating world-class entertainment facilities in Macau and globally. We are determined to play an active role in the development of the Greater Bay Area, and to leverage the incredible expertise of the group in non-gaming activities,” Lawrence Ho, CEO of Melco, said.

Analysts believe the project is a smart move on Melco’s part. It will strengthen the company’s presence in China, which will benefit its chances of concession renewal.

“They bypass the usual Macau conundrum of lack of land, labour and government efficiency and have gone straight to the heart. Developing non-gaming diversification in an environment and market which will support that kind of investment,” Ben Lee, managing partner at iGamiX Management & Consulting, said.

“They obviously believe you don’t have to necessarily invest in Macau to win the attention of the true decision-makers.”