Sands China is committed to investing in Macau’s future, its president, Dr. Wilfred Wong, says, and he sees further potential ahead and will continue to invest in more non-gaming elements.
“We are doing what we can to raise not only the profile of Macau, but also of the Greater Bay Area,” Wong says. “We are raising our standards, through enhanced training of our own staff, in a way that will likely help the entire GBA by bringing the region to the forefront of China’s hospitality industry.” As Wong points out, the company has never shied away from investment opportunities. “We have clearly demonstrated our commitment to Macau,” he says. “So far, we have invested US$13 billion here. And we are in the process of investing another US$2.2 billion on The Londoner, the new Four Seasons tower, and the new St Regis suites.”
Wong is quick to point out that the vision for all this has come from the parent company’s chairman and CEO, Sheldon Adelson. “The chairman has always been actively looking ahead,” Wong says. “Take each of the major developments here: the success of Sands Macao in 2004 was followed by our investment into The Venetian Macao in Cotai. And that, in turn was followed by Sands Cotai Central, and then The Parisian Macao. In each instance, if we had waited, we would not have been able to catch the demand that followed.”
“The chairman has made it clear that’s if we are given the opportunity we will continue to reinvest in Macau. There are many other opportunities out there, but this is still the best one,” Wong says. The company’s most important investments are not only in its facilities, but also in its people: those that work for the company, those that supply it, and those that are part of the wider community in which it operates.
Very often, the three interact through joint programs operated by Sands China. Wong cites the company’s procurement system as an example. “We have over 300 small and medium enterprises in our system, accounting for around 20% of our total spend,” he says. “Yet we are also training them how to serve our needs better, to create new opportunities for them. We provide them with financial assistance, so they can manage their cash flow better. We provide invitational matching, which allows them to meet our staff and our tenants as well. And we provide training through the Sands Procurement Academy.”
Corporate training is a key focus for Sands China for its own human resources, as well: the company spends more than 1.7 million hours a year on internal training, Wong points out. Team members, in turn, spread their talents and commitment to the wider community, Wong says. “Corporate social responsibility has always been at the heart of the company. We consider it very important to give back to the community in which we serve. But it is not only through our own donations to universities, local organizations and other community groups. We have been encouraged by the desire of our staff to get involved in donating their time, as well.”
Wong is referring to the Sands Cares Ambassador program, which was launched 10 years ago. “With such a strong force of volunteers, there is really nothing that we cannot do,” Wong says. “This was most evident during the devastation caused by Typhoon Hato, when our teams went out and helped to clean up areas and to restore services in local communities. We are very proud of their efforts.”
A firm believer in the importance of corporate social responsibility, Sands China Ltd. engages with the local Macao community as a part of Sands Cares – the charitable giving programme of parent company Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Sands Cares integrates the company’s philanthropic work worldwide. Key areas of Sands Cares in Macao include the Sands Cares Ambassador programme for volunteering in the local community; charitable contributions to NGOs and community organisations; and sponsorship of community events.
The Sands Cares Ambassador programme is one of key initiatives in Macao under Sands Cares. More than 3,300 volunteers from across all Sands China properties have contributed 100,000 hours of voluntary community service since the programme’s founding in August 2009, having worked with over 300 organisations to date.
For the consecutive ten years, the Sands Cares Ambassadors have always expressed care for the vulnerable by actively reaching out to serve those in need through organising and participating in various community events, such as annual spring cleaning for the elderly and health check for Macau Special Olympic athletes. This June, A group of around 30 Sands Cares Ambassadors visited families in Guizhou’s Congjiang County, as part of Sands China’s ongoing poverty relief efforts in the county.
At the same time, the Ambassadors also spare no effort to assist in disaster relief work and consistently give back to society. Shortly after Typhoon Hato hit Macao in 2017, the company began mobilising its team members to help communities by providing professional and technical expertise from within the company and its network of associates, human resources, and financial contributions to those appealing for immediate help, to assist with longer term relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts in Macao.
During holidays and festivals, the Ambassadors organize various visits and celebrations such as CNY Elderly Gathering and Easter Celebration with YMCA kids. The Ambassadors also invite members of various community organisations to enjoy the company’s exhibitions, anniversary celebrations, entertainment shows and other events, providing opportunities for those in disadvantaged situations to more fully engage with the wider community.
Meanwhile, series of events like Leather workshop with members of Fuhong society of Macau, sign language workshops and training workshop for volunteering skills enable Ambassadors to better understand the realities faced by the disabled community. These types of learning experiences help develop Ambassadors’ compassion, awareness and skills so they can better serve the community.
The 10-year trip down has witnessed Sands China’s commitment towards community outreach and service. The company looks forward to many more years of service to the Macao community.
Sands China believes in investing in the local community, whether through efforts like volunteer work with local NGOs, or with initiatives like the local supplier support programme.
In line with the Macao government’s initiative to “buy Local”, Sands China is the first Macao integrated tourism and leisure enterprise launched a long-term local supplier support programme in 2015. Sands China’s Local Small, Medium and Micro Suppliers Support Programme has identified three types of local businesses to support: small and micro enterprises, “made in Macao” companies, and Macao young entrepreneurs, in order to contribute to the diversification of Macao’s economy and support these three types of enterprises. Sands China’s total procurement spend in 2018 was approximately MOP 10.9 billion, 77 percent of which was with local suppliers.
In 2017, the F.I.T. programme was launched as part of Sands China’s Local Small, Medium and Micro Suppliers Support Programme. F.I.T. is comprised of three pillars: financial support, invitational matching, and training and development. For financial support, Sands China offers 30 percent advance payment to eligible young entrepreneurs. Recently, the company also launched a special financing programme for its local SME suppliers, in cooperation with six local banks.
The new programme offers faster, easier and more favourable bank financing loan products that support the development of local SMEs. In addition, Sands China hosts targeted trade shows each year, providing a platform for local SMEs to present and demonstrate their products and services to potential users and buyers at Sands China properties, with the company’s full support. Since their inception, these invitational matching sessions have focused on food and beverage, hotel operation supplies and equipment, and other areas.
Also established in 2017, The Sands Procurement Academy is another of the three components of F.I.T. Focused on practical knowledge for participating SMEs, the training programme is the first of its kind in the industry. Stepping into its sixth edition, nearly 180 local SME suppliers have graduated from the academy and are given preferential procurement opportunities under otherwise equal circumstances.
Sands China also supports local SMEs by periodically inviting them to host roadshows at the back-of-house team member areas of Sands china properties, giving the SMEs a chance to promote their services and products to Sands China’s more than 29,000 team members, while giving important brand exposure to these local businesses.
Building on past efforts, Sands China will continue to help the community thrive and grow, by maintaining its support of local enterprises.