The opening of Sands Macao on May 18, 2004, marked the beginning of an era of transformation for Macau’s tourism industry – a period that has witnessed enormous growth in the SAR and for Sands China Ltd.
Fifteen years later, the company’s first property continues to welcome millions of guests through its doors each year, and has since been joined by four integrated resorts on the Cotai Strip. Together, they have recorded 700 million visits to date, while setting ever-higher standards of service excellence in a city that is establishing itself as a world centre of tourism and leisure – a city primed to be a key player in the development of the Greater Bay Area.
To mark this decade-and-a-half milestone, this is the fourth in a five-part look at Sands Macao and Sands China Ltd. Today we look at the company’s efforts to support the growth of Macao’s local SME suppliers, including those in creative industries.
Missed Part 3? Read it online at macaudailytimes.com.mo
Since its arrival in the city, Sands China Ltd. has established itself as a significant supporter of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Macau, including those is artistic fields.
“Our procurement with local suppliers in 2018 amounted to MOP 10.8 billion, which is 77 percent of our total procurement. Meanwhile, 19 percent of our total procurement amount was with small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) based in Macau,” said Dr. Wilfred Wong, president of Sands China Ltd.
Sands China has forged long-standing partnerships with Macau businesses. Wa Toc Engineering Co. Ltd. is the current contractor for repair and maintenance of air-conditioning and ventilation facilities for Sands China. Their partnership started 11 years ago, but General Manager Mr. Wong Chan Pui, who currently oversees more than 40,000 units of air-circulation systems across all Sands China properties, initially worked as a fourth-level subcontractor on Sands China’s construction projects.
These partnerships are not simply longstanding, but are also very beneficial to the SMMEs themselves. Mr. Lei Iong Fai, managing director of Kin Nam Hong Co. Ltd., a local wholesaler of vegetables, attributes the growth of company to the amount Sands China purchases from him: “Our collaboration started in 2004, before Sands Macao even opened,” Mr. Lei said. “At that time, we only had one truck and six employees. Now we have eight [refrigerated] trucks [and one regular one] and 40 employees. We also were the first [local] SMME [in this industry] to own a refrigerated truck.” Sands China’s high procurement standards, such as requiring suppliers to use refrigerated trucks in order to keep produce cold and fresh, helps raise standards for local suppliers like Kin Nam Hong. Moreover, Mr. Lei praised Sands China for its punctual settlement of bills, and attributes this consistency as being a key factor in facilitating his company’s development.
Indeed, cash flow is crucial to all businesses, something which Sands China understands when dealing with its suppliers. Many of the SMMEs the Times interviewed complimented Sands China on its punctual payments.
Sands China also values collaborating with Macau’s older enterprises. Long Tin Group, a local seller of Chinese cured and barbecued meats, who started doing business in Macau in 1964, began working with Sands China in 2004. Chao Pak Kei, a supplier of disposable utensils, is a third-generation establishment which has operated within Macau for over 60 years. For 15 years, they have been working with Sands China.
While older enterprises are often associated with outdated facilities and management practices, neither the managing director of Long Tin, Alan Mok, or the managing director of Chao Pak Kei, Stephen Chow, feel this is an accurate representation of their companies. Sands China’s stringent commitment to world-class quality and safety standards has ensured that both companies are at the forefront of quality and safety procedures, which has been of significant benefit to them in their business dealings outside of Sands China.
Chao Pak Kei has begun supplying eco-friendly disposables because “Sands China has turned to FSC-certified paper napkins from Germany,” due to its commitment to the environment (FSC is an international non-profit organization promoting responsible management of forests). Sands China has also begun using a new type of eco-friendly bio-degradable cup, which has in turn meant that Chao Pak Kei can feel secure in becoming an environmentally responsible company. Mr. Chow noted, “We wouldn’t dare try [such a product innovation] if we didn’t have the support from large enterprises like Sands China.”
Long Tin established their first food processing plant in 2005 – one year after starting their collaboration with Sands China. Setting up the plant meant that, “we were required to constantly improve our business,” according to Mr. Mok. Since then, the company has taken advantage of Sands China’s local supplier initiatives like F.I.T. (Financial Support, Invitational Matching, and Training and Development), having attended the Sands Procurement Academy, which trains local suppliers in the industry’s best practices and helps prepare them for working with large international enterprises like Sands China.
Sands China’s support of local SMMEs also includes helping nurture talented individuals in the creative industries.
The company has worked with local filmmakers to produce promotional material, commissioning an emerging local film company, Common Production, to produce Sands Macao’s 15th anniversary celebratory video. This is
particularly noteworthy because Common Production is a youth enterprise, meaning it was founded, is owned, and is operated by young Macao entrepreneurs. Jackie Wong, the company’s executive director, voiced his appreciation for Sands China, as working together has enabled him to improve his company’s hardware and software, adding that “our collaboration with Sands China has opened a lot of doors. Other enterprises told us that they were convinced of our quality after seeing our productions for Sands China.”
Dr. Wong echoed Mr. Wong’s comment by stating that “local SMEs do not necessarily do business with us only…If they provide quality products, we do refer them to our overseas sister properties, too.” Indeed, at Sands China’s SME Open Day last month, procurement executives from Las Vegas Sands and Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands were present and were introduced to local SMEs. While there is undoubtedly a benefit to doing business with local enterprises, Sands China seeks to not simply forge business partnerships, but to facilitate the thriving of Macao’s various local SMMEs, including those in creative industries. The future can only hold new and exciting ways for the company to fulfil its goal.
Don’t miss the final part in this series in tomorrow’s paper