China’s third most powerful man, parliamentary chairman Zhang Dejiang, will travel to the gambling mecca of Macau on Monday where he’s expected to make an ‘important announcement’.
His as-yet unconfirmed proclamation comes as Macau enjoys its ninth consecutive month of gaming revenue growth. The return to prosperity is promising; the Chinese territory had experienced years of feeble activity since 2012, when President Xi’s anti-corruption campaign began targeting wayward spending by officials.
During his three-day visit, Mr Zhang is rumoured to be investigating the staggering $1.3 billion that’s withdrawn monthly from Macau’s ATMs. The immense outflows of cash are kindling suspicions of money laundering and illegitimate capital flight.
Zhang and his Macanese hosts are also expected to discuss further implementation of Beijing’s ‘Greater Bay Area’ scheme, which will bring Macau, Hong Kong and the southern Chinese province of Guangdong under a new economic zone. With 100 million residents and a combined economic output of $1.4 trillion, the Greater Bay Area will play a pivotal role in Xi’s keystone One Belt, One Road Initiative.