The former Portuguese colony of Macau used to be known for its seedy casinos, particularly Stanley Ho’s famous Lisboa. But life has changed dramatically with the opening up of its casino licences and the rapid rise of themiddle class and easy money in China. Macau has become the casino capital for China, with thousands of mainland gamblers crossing the border each day, eager to try their luck.
Australians, particularly casino operator James Packer, have been riding the boomand in this issue The Australian’s Victorian business editor, Damon Kitney, visits Macau to take a look. He talks to Packer and many other Australians doing business in the city. He also has an exclusive interview with Packer’s casino partner, Lawrence Ho. His reportage begins on page 8. The $ 11 billion coloured gem business is an industry of beauty and secrecy. Two Asia-based reporters at The Wall Street Journal have written about the Indiana Jones world of modern- day gemhunting in Myanmar and elsewhere. the deal brings you their discoveries on page 16. Also, Sarah-Jane Tasker, a resources writer at The Australian, covers the changing fortunes of one of Australia’s most famous gem businesses – Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond operation. See page 35. The global success of bionic ear company Cochlear is a rarity in Australian innovation and it has long been a market darling. Yet in the past few years the company’s star has waned and analysts are questioning its growth prospects. However, chief executive Chris Roberts remains optimistic and insists he is managing for the long term. Business reporter Rebecca Urban investigates. See page 14. Today’s MBA students are demanding more value for their money. In a 12-page special, we talk to some of the country’s top business school deans about the shift towards more hands-on learning and the latest efforts to leverage their proximity to Asia. See page 23.